Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Fallingwater


built in 1937
Lots of reasons to come to Kentucky: visit my friend Jen in Lexington, take in some horse-racing, drink some bourbon, eat at Edward Lee's restaurant in Louisville, and its proximity (a mere six hour drive) to Mill Run, Pennsylvania to see the Frank Lloyd Wright house, Fallingwater.

Horse-racing and bourbon still to come, but we hit Fallingwater this past weekend. I'm not sure when I became aware of this iconic house, but I've wanted to see it for a long time, and after the experience of seeing the FLW house in Alabama, and his residence, Taliesin West in Arizona, the big one -- Fallingwater, the most famous one, seemed like it had to be next on the list.

typical FLW open floorplan
It was a long drive to get there from Lexington on Saturday in order to take the tour of the house on Sunday, but it was worth it.

The house was designed by Wright for Edgar Kaufmann and his wife Liliane, department store magnates from Pittsburgh, at a cost of $155,000, during the Great Depression. The Kaufmanns used the home as a weekend getaway through their lives as did their son Edgar Jr., until the house was donated by Edgar Jr. to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in the 1963. Its most obvious and innovative design features are the cantilevered terraces which have no vertical supports, instead, huge amounts of steel reinforcements and the counterweight balance from the back of the house, which is built directly into the hillside, keep the hanging parts aloft. While looking really cool, this idea was not without flaws, and in 2002, a huge engineering retrofitting took place to keep the balconies from sheering off into the waterfall.
those crazy cantilevered terraces...
sitting room in the guest house
barrel chair designed by FLW
corner windows with no middle supports
a random Picasso on a wall - the owners had an extensive art collection
a home built on waterfalls
Nothing you've seen on any real estate show on HGTV has anything on this house.