Fallingwater is a house designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935 in rural Southwestern Pennsylvania, 43 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. The house was built partly over a waterfall on Bear Run, in Fayette County, PA, in the Laurel Highlands of Laurel Highlands of the Allegheny Mountains, part of the Appalachians. It was designed as a weekend home for the family of Liliane and Edgar J. Kaufmann Sr.., owner of Kaufmann’s Department Store. The family retreated to Fallingwater on weekends to escape the heat and smoke of industrial Pittsburgh. Liliane enjoyed swimming in the nude and collecting modern art, especially the works of Diego Rivera, a frequent guest at the country house.

After its completion, Time Magazine called Fallingwater Wright’s “most beautiful job” and it is listed among Smithsonian‘s “Life List of 28 Places to See Before You Die.” The house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1966. Fallingwater was the family’s weekend home from 1937 until 1963, when Edgar Kaufmann Jr. donated the property to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.

This organically-designed private residence was intended to be a nature retreat for its owners. The house is well-known for its connection to the site. It is built on top of an active waterfall that flows beneath the house.  Bear Run and the sound of its water permeate the interior, especially during the spring when the snow is melting, and locally quarried stone walls and cantilevered terraces resembling the nearby rock formations are meant to be in harmony. The design incorporates broad expanses of windows and balconies which reach out into their surroundings. In conformance with Wright’s views, the main entry door is away from the falls.

On the hillside above the main house stands a four-bay carport, servants’ quarters, and a guest house. These attached outbuildings were built two years later using the same quality of materials and attention to detail as the main house. The guest quarters feature a spring-fed swimming pool, which overflows and drains to the river below.

We’ve been there at least twice.  Tours are worthwhile, due to the scenic nature of the area.  If you ever have a chance, check it out!


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