How nature and architecture shapes our buildings – Fallingwater House, by Frank Lloyd Wright

The Fallingwater house is one of the famous buildings in architecture, the house is designed by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1939, the building is located in south Pennsylvania in the laurel highlands region, it’s far from downtown Pittsburgh about 90 minutes.

It was a weekend home for the businessman Edgar J. Kaufmann and the owner of Kaufmann’s department store.

The house was nominated in many magazines as the best architectural masterpiece, It’s listed as one of the best 28 places to visit, according to Time magazine the falling water is Frank Lloyd Wright’s most beautiful job, In 2007, the American Institute of architects called the Fallingwater “best all-time work of American architecture” and listed amongst the list of America’s Favourite Architecture according to the AIA.

8 constructions of Frank Lloyd Wright including the Fallingwater house described as the 20th-century architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright belong to the World Heritage site.

Fallingwater House – Frank Lloyd Wright

The design of the house is a clear example of naturalistic architecture, all the decisions taken for their construction are aimed at integrating the building with the landscape to become a natural part of the environment.

The Kaufmann family was always visiting the waterfall for 15 years, that’s why they demand Frank Lloyd Wright to design a house next to the waterfall to enjoy the view and nature, but Frank did more than that and design the house with such a wonderful integration, placing it right above the waterfall to make it part of the house.

Wright was an architect who has inspiration for Japanese architecture, he wanted to design a house to create a harmony between architecture and nature, just like Japanese architecture.

The main idea was to make the house complete the site, at the same time, the falls make a wonderful sound of crashing water into the rocks and that could be heard all-time over the entire house.

The rest of the facades are cream, a color contrasting with the surrounding green or brown (depending on the season). Another contrast element of the house is orthogonal shapes with overhangs and walls.

The falling water house is one of the greatest masterpieces of Frank Lloyd Wright, thanks to its dynamism and integration with the natural surroundings. Its described as the main example of organic architecture.

the entrance to the house

At the beginning of the project, When Frank Lloyd Wright and his crew started thinking about the concept of the design, Frank spoke about the feasibility of the spaces and the link between the function and the form.

Entering the house through the main entrance on the north side, we enter a small bedroom with a function room located under the stairs leading upstairs.

Past this bedroom, you enter the living room, the largest interior of the house from which you can see a splendid view of the forest that surrounds the house.

The first aspect Kaufmann wants the house to be able to receive many people, that’s why Frank thought to design a house larger and bigger than the plot, and the second aspect is making each member of the family his own bedroom and own space, bedrooms for parents, bedrooms for their adult son and an additional room for guests, that’s why you see Fallingwater has separated volumes, to make this design and this function, they used a cantilevered structure to hold the volumes, the structural part was realized by Mendel Glickman and William Wesley Peters.

Wright chooses to design the interior space around the fireplace to make a gathering space for the family.

Interior space

There is two parts of the Fallingwater house, the main part for Kaufmann parents built between 1936 and 1938, the guest room completed in 1939, the main house contains rooms with furniture designed by Wright with an open space that contains a living room and a kitchen in the first floor, three bedrooms on the second floor and the third floor contains room for studying and bedroom for Kaufmann’s son, The rooms relate towards the house’s natural site and the living room relate directly towards the water.