Claude Walker | Bicentennial-By-Buttons

“Unforgettable building, superb tour”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2012

Having toured other Wright creations (Taliesen, Unity Temple), we knew Fallingwater was the Big One, Wright's masterpiece, a final challenge to the architectural conventions of the day. The embodiment of his vision of integrating design and nature.

It met and exceeded expectations.

The first glimpse of the building as you walk through the Pennsylvania woods is almost surreal. The horizontal edifice seems to be floating over the waterfall, its cantilevered wings defying gravity. How he could design this and the builders could build this on this site is amazing.

Our tour guide was knowledgeable & entertaining. We learned a lot about Wright, the Kaufman family who commissioned Fallingwater, and the efforts to maintain the house since its Depression-era construction. He shared anecdotes about Wright's stubbornness and the Kaufmans' quirks. In each room, we saw little tricks Wright employed, such as managed sight-lines, indirect lighting, corner windows without corners, etc.

The bringing of the outside in is everywhere. The foundation sits on huge granite boulders, some of which nudge into living spaces. Many interior walls & floors are stone. The interior stairway down to the stream is incredible. Water flows through and around the house. Two oddities: a floating canopy leading to the guesthouse, and a huge kettle that swivels in and out of the fireplace.

After the tour, hike to an overlook for a perfect shot of the building (great place for a team photo, too.)

The Visitors' Center is very nice, along with a gallery and gift shop. When we were there, a book-signing was being held by a 92-year old woman who was the Kaufmans' cook! I really like the Fallingwater logo.

Our only regrets were that the tour didn't allow for enough exploration of the grounds and no photos are allowed inside. But if you take a longer & pricier tour (i.e. Sunset Tour, Brunch Tour), you'll see more and can shoot the interior. The place isn't easy to find, even with GPS. Need more signage in town & by the highway turn-off.

For Wright fans, Fallingwater is Mecca. For newcomers, you will see something here that may change the way you look at nature and design. Well-worth the drive from Pittsburgh & cost of admission.

Visited May 2012

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