Frank Lloyd Wright designed in 1934-35 an extraordinary house in Bear Run Nature Reserve, Pennsylvania, to 1298 meters above sea level. Here, the river that runs through the site suddenly drops 30 meters. This house is known as the House on the Waterfall, which redefined the relationship between man, architecture and nature. This house was built as a weekend for Mr. Edgar Kaufmann, his wife and his son, who studied architecture for a short period of time in school-Wright’s Taliesin home. This place had been owned by the family for 15 years, and when Wright was commissioned to design the house, had in mind a house opposite the waterfall, to appreciate it. However, Wright joined the design of the house with its own waterfall, posándola just above it so that became part of the life of the Kaufmann.
Wright’s admiration towards Japanese architecture was key to its design inspiration from this house, like most of his works. As in Japanese architecture, Wright wanted to create harmony between man and nature, and integration of the house with the waterfall was successful in that. The house was designed to always feel the force with which the water falls, not visually but through sound, heard throughout the house.
Wright decided to design the house around the fireplace, the heart of the house, which was considered as the meeting place of the family. The foundation of the house are the rocks of the place, and some of them exceed the width of the first floor slab leaning by the fireplace, which brings the cascade physically inside the house. Besides reinforcing the concept of a vertical core through an extension of up the chimney, making it the highest point outside the house.
Fallingwater house consists of two parts: the main house of our customers built between 1936-1938, and the guest room which was completed in 1939. The original house has single rooms, provided by the architect, with a compact kitchen to be open on the first floor and three small bedrooms on the second floor. The third floor was the place of study and Kaufmann’s son’s bedroom. All rooms of the house relate to the natural environment, and being even has steps leading directly to water. The circulation in the house are dark, narrow hallway, so people have a sense of closure in comparison with the open approach as to the outside. The ceilings of the rooms are low, leading to horizontal gaze outward.
The beauty of these spaces is in its extensions to the nature, made with long cantilevered terraces. These, which are projected out at right angles, provide a sculptural element to the house, apart from its function. To support the terraces, ignoring the horizontal forces with large cantilevered flat, Wright worked with engineers Glickman Mendel and William Wesley Peters. The solution lay in the materials. The house took “a form of permanent masonry” to relate it to the site and the terraces were decided by a structure of reinforced concrete and steel which increases the tensile strength.
The exterior of the house imposes a horizontal waterfall that stands out thanks to the brick and overhangs. The front windows also have a special status as open in the corner, breaking the box of the house incorporate the extraordinary landscape.
The perfection of these details enhances the house itself, although it tends to have structural problems that need constant maintenance because of its location, there is no doubt that the house of the waterfall, which is now a national historic monument is an extraordinary work. It is the physical and spiritual presence of man and the architecture in harmony with nature.
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