Frank Lloyd Wright’s House Fallingwater | National Treasure

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013 By

Fallingwater – an architectural Magnum Opus

Image at

Image at

Frank Lloyd Wright is a legend among architects.  He was perhaps the most famous American architect of all time, not so much for the height of his skyscrapers, but rather for pushing an idea he called “organic architecture,” which means buildings built into their surrounding environments – not on top of them.  The houses and buildings he designed don’t look like anything else. He didn’t compromise his work for any amount of instant cash – he had a vision: he wasn’t about to design cookie cutter homes that revolve around some silly golf course.

Edgar Kaufmann Sr. Needed a New Pad

The genus of the project began with Edgar Kaufmann. He was the inheritor of a growing department store chain, Kaufmann’s. (It was later absorbed into Macy’s.) He got his son, Edgar Jr., to talk to Wright about building something at a piece of property he owned outside of Pittsburgh. Wright had the land surveyed, which included a waterfall, and defying expectations, designed a home to sit atop the waterfall, instead of at the base of it. The design, like so many of Wright’s buildings, built a gorgeous house into the environment.

Built into the living rock

The stone used in the building was all what was on-site, and incorporated the falling water (get it?) into the design of the estate. The building was completed in 1937, at a cost of $155,000. (Between $2 and $3 million today.) The beautiful terraces and natural stone in the house perfectly coincide with the surroundings; the waterfall can be heard throughout the house, but not seen unless outside. Fallingwater photos are breathtaking, and the site is preserved as a national landmark – so don’t think you can get a few million dollars worth of payday loans or otherwise to buy it. (Many FLW buildings are national landmarks, or at least designated to be culturally significant.) The windows are even mounted directly to the rock. However, it isn’t without problems – the home is a hotbed for humidity, and Kaufmann eventually referred to his weekend retreat as “Rising Mildew.”

Worth doing right

Wright was an artist. Few were able to create the things he was capable of, and he used his architecture to express his ideas. He designed hotels, churches, residences, skyscrapers and museums, all of which were unique and uncompromising. One of his other famous works is the famous Guggenheim Museum of Art in New York. The bulk of his work was designing homes that were miles beyond the normal design for houses, many of which are named as landmarks and a great many are still lived in today. Wright was the inspiration for the character Howard Roark in the famous novel,  “The Fountainhead,” by Ayn Rand, who was an enormous fan of Wright. Fountainhead is also the name of a house he designed in Jackson, Mississippi.

Tours are available!

As the house is a preserved historic site and a public monument, tours are available, and now they are offering an overnight stay package. A tour will run you $18, but an overnight stay (not in the house itself – in a nearby guest home) will run about $1200 – more than the average payday loans are. Still – it might be worth it.

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