By REA Intern Jess Wertheim
Frank Lloyd Wright, America’s beloved and arguably most famous architect, took the concept of “being at one with nature” to a whole new level when he built Fallingwater. Inspired by nature, Wright built amongst it. Fallingwater is a home that Wright designed and built over a 30’ waterfall between 1936 and 1939 for the Kauffman family. It has become a National Historic Landmark.
Located in southwestern Pennsylvania, the home straddles a 30-foot waterfall on Bear Run in the Laurel Highlands of the Allegheny Mountains. Wright wanted the family to live intimately with the fall — where they could see it, hear it, and feel it around them all the time. The attention to space, focus, and the harmonious relationship between man and nature reflects the strong influence of Japanese architecture on Wright.
Wright successfully incorporated the home’s natural surroundings. Observing the structure and standing inside it, one feels a part of nature and home. This integration is felt, for example, in the living room: one can watch as the water flows away through a huge glass window on the floor; the fireplace is built from boulders selected from the site; and ledge rock protrudes into the living room in order to link the outdoors with the indoors. A pool is formed one floor below, and a natural shower uses the mountain water from the fall another floor below. In windows and walls where glass meets stone, the absence of metal frames adds to the natural, organic feel of the home.
The soothing sound of water fills the house, the vivacious forest blows in the wind, the rocky boulders jut out from the falling water, and the occupant is at one with nature.