I fell in love with this romantic woodland retreat; and like any lady, to reveal all when it comes to my experience lacks a certain, shall we say, sophistication. Let me clarify that statement. I can paint all the word pictures I like when it comes to my experience at Fallingwater, but any and all photographs taken during my visit are strictly for personal use only, as per the conditions of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy that granted me access to this stunning weekend retreat.
That access is part of the terms that came with the house and its contents when it was bequeathed to the conservancy in 1963 by the family that had commissioned Wright to design their weekend home. Along with Fallingwater and the 5000 acres of the land and watershed that had been the inspiration for this National Landmark came the stipulation the gift should be shared with all who wished to learn from and appreciate this 8th wonder of the world.
So, pictures will be sparse. But . . . where there's a will, there's a way; even for ladies!
I found his art intensely moving!
Ironically, Fallingwater would prove to be the pinnacle of Wright's career and Edgar's social standing. Some say Edgar was looking for respect from the Mellons and Carneiges of Pittsburgh's high society, the same society that excluded Jews from the elite social and sporting clubs of the day, when Edgar commissioned Wright to build his weekend home. Wright, as usual, was looking to indulge his experimental abstractions of form from situation and purpose.
The Kaufmanns had expected their new weekend home would be orientated to offer the best view of the waterfall that had drawn them to the site in Bear Run. Wright’s genius was in his sensitivity towards the land; in his feeling that buildings should appear to grown naturally from their surroundings as well as celebrate native materials. Undoubtedly this is why FLW placed Fallingwater (his name for his creation) on top of the 30-foot falls, so that the dwelling would be as much a part of the site as the rocks and river that distinguished the spot.
The house seemed to float above the falls. Never mind one stairway did just that, led down to within inches of the water’s edge where, had I been allowed, I could have dangled my tootsies in the cool waters that had been the inspiration for this masterpiece.
To quote Edgar Kaufmann, jr., FLW “captured the perfect essence of our desire to live with nature, to dwell in a forested place and be at home in the natural world.”
Every room in the house played to the grace and grandeur inside and out; Wright used only two paint colors throughout the house - Cheeroke red for the steel and a light ochre for the concrete. Every room in the house boasted the site-quarried stone, its horizontal lines grounding the structure to the land on which it had been built, hinting at the main attraction just beyond the confines of the house.
The cantilevered terraces, a daring innovation at the time, accounted for almost half of the 5330 square feet of living space in the main house.
I think fall would be stunning; winter a study in contrasts. To see and hear the woods come alive again with the hope of yet another spring would be glorious from that magnificent vantage point above the falls. It was obvious the woodlands were green with envy at having to share all the attention they'd heretofore singularly received during the summer months when we made our visit.
I hope to return again one fall day when the woods are ablaze with color, the air cool and crisp with the hint of change and the falls still alive with the sound of music.
I also hope to return tomorrow with the story behind the story. Many thought FLW's design risky (Kaufmann could be included in that count) if not completely flawed. Also, I had no idea when we visited Fallingwater that the Kaufmanns (father, mother, and son) are still very much a part of their beloved weekend home.
The plot thickens!