Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wright On!


Last weekend we had the opportunity to fulfill one of our life long missions, to visit Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater. It's hard to put into words just how spectacular the entire experience was mainly because every single aspect of it was so incredible, from the architecture to the landscape, to the sound of rushing water. Yes, our first impression was how unexpectedly loud the water was coming off of the waterfall right below the main cantilevered terrace. It also took just a moment to take it all in because of the sheer genius Wright used in situating the house within the landscape. Every step and every turn presented a vista more beautiful than the last, and once we thought we had finally been able to process it all, we kept asking ourselves "....how the hell did he do it!" Especially considering that it was built in 1936! We were fortunate to have great weather and the colorful fall leaves provided the most intense backdrop for this modern masterpiece. There have been hundreds of books written about Fallingwater and thousands of photos taken of the house, so we're certainly not going to try and give a thorough background on it's history, but we would like to offer up a few facts we found fascinating:

-The house was commissioned by
prominent businessman and philanthropist Edgar S. Kaufmann Sr. back in 1935, and Wright was given a budget of $30,000. It ended up costing $155,000, which included an $8,000 architect's fee and $4,500 worth of walnut built-in furnishings.
-Cantilevered over a waterfall in the Pennsylvania mountains, the main house was constructed from 1936-38, followed by the guest house in 1939.
-Inspired by natural sandstone ledges at the waterfall, Wright designed the home as a series of trays set on native sandstone columns and walls to rise more than 30 feet above a nature reserve known as Bear Run.
-It is a supreme example of Wright's concept of organic architecture which promotes harmony between man and nature through design, integrating a building with it's natural surrounding.
-The main house is a generous 5,330 sq. ft. (2,885 sq. ft interior and 2,445 sq. ft terraces).
-Wright used only two paint colors throughout the entire house: a light ochre for the concrete and his signature Cherokee red for the steel. The ochre color was inspired by the back of a dried rhododendron leaf (these plants run rampant throughout the property).
-At one point Wright suggested that the house's concrete surfaces be coated in gold leaf.
-In 1938, Time magazine had Fallingwater on it's cover hailing it as Wright's "most beautiful job."
-The home inspired Ayn Rand's novel The Fountainhead.
-Fallingwater is the only major Wright-designed house open to the public with its furnishings, artwork and setting intact.
-4 million people have visited the home since opening to the public in 1964.
-There were many famous overnight guests at Fallingwater including Albert Einstein and now you can stay overnight as well. Click here for more details (this is our next goal!)

To learn even more about this architectural gem click here!

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have had the honor of visiting Fallingwater as well and thought it was magnificent. Everyone should make the journey if they can.

Sallie Ann said...

Isn't this great? I'm so jazzed to find your blog. I found you on Ronda Carman's blog but had heard about you before. I'm also from Arkansas, originally (Texarkana) and am now an interior designer in Chicago. Really love your style. Lovely!

Anonymous said...

Frank L Wright's design is without comparison. There is a subttle technique that is not easily copied & that is what makes is so special.

Suzy said...

I would absolutely love to visit that house... I've been a little obsessed with it for many years. To think that many said it couldn't be done...and it still there after all these years still looking incredibly contemporary, and even withstanding a hurricane I beleive.

Paulette P. said...

Brad,
So good to see the shots of Fallingwater. Having been raised in the Western Pennsylvania Laurel Highlands, I have supported the Convervancy in the past, wanting to see this building remain, though I am surrounded by great building here in NYC. I am glad to see more people from the city making the trek to PA.

sespy said...

Hey Brad- It's Stephanie, I was your assistant at last years Design on a Dime benefit! I love your blog, it's so great to be able to see what y'all are up to. Did you take those photos at Fallingwater? I remember going there a few years ago and thinking I was so badass cuz I snapped 2 while the tour guide was in the hallway, haha. But I guess you had a special privilege.

Are you from Arkansas? I've been in Chenal/ Little Rock for the past 3 weeks with my dad who's getting chemo at UAMS. maybe I should have just sent you an email. . haha. .

Hope you are having a fabulous weekend! I'd love to hear from you- and if you ever need an assistant for anything please let me know :)

MrBaxta said...

Amazing shots, this post pushed a Fallingwater visit a few pegs higher on my "to do" list!

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