Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterful achievement
About 45 miles southeast of Pittsburgh, PA, in the rural and wooded Mill Run, is the stunning Fallingwater. When this home was built, between 1936 and 1939, it instantly became famous. One visit to the site it is clear why so many people love it.
The home was built for the Kaufman family by the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The Kaufmans initially had a cabin on the property with no running water or heat, but with a spectacular view of the falls. The family slept outdoors in screened porches, but when traffic noises became too much, they decided to have a new home built and Frank Lloyd Wright was selected as the architect. At the time, the Kaufmans were very interested in modern art and their son was studying with Wright at the Taliesin Fellowship.
The Kaufmans assumed that their new home would retain the same view, but when they received Wright’s drawings it showed something completely different. Wright proposed a cantilevered design that would produce the effect of the house being built on top of the falls. It took some convincing but Wright’s idea won out.
As a huge fan of Wright’s work, visiting Fallingwater was a pilgrimage to me. Having seen pictures and read about it for such a long time, it would have been understandable to come away just a little disappointed. How could such a simple structure live up to all the hype? Yet it did.
The house and the grounds were stunning and the hour-long tour was informative and interesting. The docent, as captivated by his surroundings as we were, answered each question thoroughly and thoughtfully. The tour included access to all three floors and every balcony.
The Kaufmans owned the home until 1963 when they donated it to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Nearly $4,000,000 a year is spent maintaining the prestigious building.
You’ll find more information about visiting Fallingwater at this website.