As a child I dreamed of being an architect, often building entire cities out of Legos. I also drew more floor plans of “dream” houses than I could ever live in, in one lifetime.
One day I shared with my mom a house that I had created with a glass floor over a creek. My mom took one look at the drawing and pulled out the encyclopedia (if anyone can remember what those are) and showed me a photo of Fallingwater, a house built over a creek.
Fallingwater is probably one of the most famous houses Frank Lloyd Wright ever designed. Although architectural fame was not in my future I still admire architecture anytime I travel. I also occasionally pull out the Legos as well. One because I need to justify why I still have them and two because I still love building houses.
Fallingwater had been on my bucket list for a long time and this day it was finally going to be checked off. I walked down the path to the house purposely integrated into it’s natural surroundings. An example of Wright’s organic architecture at it’s best.
I paid a little extra, taking the In-depth tour, so I could take interior photographs. It was annoying to pay the extra fee but it was going to be over my dead body that I would walk out of there with only my memory to rely on. I drink a lot of beer, my memory is pretty much shot at this point 🙂
The docent lead us inside the house where I found similarities to Kentuck Knob, like the narrow hallways and stairwells. We walked into the front living space and found retro furniture designed by Wright himself, well with the exception of the chairs at the dinning room table.
Mrs. Kaufmann, the owner of Fallingwater had cherished the chairs she used at the dining room table but they were not Wright approved. Wright would often make visits to his properties ensuring everything was just as it should be. These unapproved chairs would be hidden out of sight from Wright during his inspections until one day when he made an unexpected visit. He of course requested the original chairs be put back. He also directed the Kaufmanns to properly display the tree stump side tables as they had turned them upside down. I assume they did this to make use of the wider base for the top of the table. Wright’s reasoning trees do not grow upside down.
Most interesting to me were some of the windows, specifically built to not hinder the eye’s view to the outside nature. This seamless corner window provides an unobstructed view to the outside.
No Wright home would be complete without his signature Cherokee red paint scheme found throughout the house. It would be unfortunate if you did not like the color red as you would be forced to deal with it while living in any Wright home. Obviously Wright did not observe “the customer is always right” theory.
Another signature of a Wright home was only to have a car port. Wright believed that garages promoted storing unnecessary things. Luckily for him he is not alive today where our society has row upon row of storage units that after we outgrow our garages, we rent storage units to store all of our crap.
Our tour completed with the most famous view of Fallingwater, looking up at the exterior with the creek water flowing below. I was pleased with our visit as I learned more about organic architecture and just how passionate (or crazy) Wright was.
A few years after my visit I had an unfortunate occurrence with the photos I took, my CD that I had burned the photos on to had become corrupted and I lost all my photos from this trip. It was devastating but it gives me a reason to return. It also taught me that with photos of this sort of importance it would be best to have a secondary back up. Luckily I had them on Facebook and although they are low resolution they will hold me over until I return.
If you would like to visit Fallingwater they are located at 1491 Mill Run Road, Mill Run PA 15464. Due to Fallingwater’s popularity you will need to purchase tickets in advance from their website. There are many tours offered but we took the In-Depth tour so we could take interior photos. There is also minium age requirements for the tours so please check ahead of time. The restrictions may be perceived as slightly tight but they are in charge of maintaining a masterpiece.
This link will give you an outline of when Fallingwater is open, what tours are offer as well as what you can and can not take on the tour.
Have you ever visited a Frank Lloyd Wright structure? Or plan to visit a FLW structure in the future? Drop me a line in the comments.