Frank Lloyd Wright
Falling Water, 1934
Frank Lloyd Wright sends out free-floating platforms boldly over a small waterfall and anchors them in the natural rock. Something of the prairie house is here still.
Designed in 1953, the home is built on a hexagonal grid and is constructed entirely of tidewater red cypress and native fieldstone. A unique sculpture park has been integrated with the woodlands and informal gardens surrounding the house. As technology uses more and more natural resources, as the world's population grows even larger, harmony with nature is necessary.
Given the contour of the land, Wright located a house anchored in the rock next to the falls, jutting over the stream and counterweighted by massing at the back. Wright tilted the house to the southeast as he preferred, extending floors in horizontal bands which echoed rock ledges. The house hovers calmly over the water. Inside there are low ceilings but yet the main living area seems so ample. The light comes from different sides to provide a balanced ambience. Each season brings its own personality to the house.
Building Fallingwater was a complicated and detailed operation, yet the resulting house seems to belong quietly in its setting. It fits into the hillside and extends out over the falls as if it has always belonged there. Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece continues to unite human life, architectural form, and nature.
Before the family moved in, there were doubts about the structure, aroused by written reports from the engineers my father employed to check Wright's working drawings. The building would break apart and fall into the run these reports implied. Fallingwater thus reveals the astonishing vitality of Wright's architecture. Through this human wholeness the architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright appears unique in the twentieth century. Fallingwater was one of those works by Wright that transformed the world's opinion of his art.
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