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Fallingwater is a living breathing house in perfect harmony with its setting. Through thoughtful design that is seamlessly integrated with its natural setting, the building, the furnishings and the surroundings become cohesive parts of one unified, interrelated composition.

Image Source: Cagatay Yanar

The Kaufmann family’s love for Bear Run’s rushing waterfalls inspired the architect to envision a residence placed not across from the stream, as the Kaufmann’s were expecting, but directly over the falls where they could live within the nature they surrounded.

Frank Lloyd Wright was said to be in the twilight years of his career aged 70, this gave him the opportunity to re-emerge on the architectural scene with the design and construction of three buildings. His three great buildings of the late 1930’s were Fallingwater, The Johnson Wax Building and Herbert Jacobs house in Madison.

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The lines and curves of the house on the falls flowed fast and furious from Wrights pencil, echoing a natural pattern established by its rock ledges. Wright placed the house over the falls in a series of cantilevered concrete ‘trays’ anchored to a central stone chimney mass quarried from the same local Pottsville sandstone as the rock ledges.

Image Source: Lee Sandstead

Integration with the setting extends even to small details. For example, where glass meets stone walls there is no metal frame; rather, the glass and its horizontal dividers were run into a caulked recess in the stonework so that the stone walls appear uninterrupted by glazing. From the cantilevered living room, a stairway leads directly down to the stream below, and in a connecting space which connects the main house with the guest and servant level, a natural springs drips water inside, which is then channeled back out. Bedrooms are small, some with low ceilings to encourage people outward toward the open social areas, decks, and outdoors.

Image Source: Lee Sandstead

The construction of Fallingwater ended in the fall of 1937, when the Kaufmann family began using the house as a weekend retreat. A guesthouse was later added to accommodate larger groups of friends where they could share the beautiful woods, cold plunges under the falls and the large terraces.

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