Falling Water: A Frank Lloyd Wright Home

Falling Water, a beauty to behold

I have a fascination with Frank Lloyd Wright architecture. I am very lucky to live near several of his designs. However, this gem, Falling Water, in Pennsylvania was hiding nestled in the mountains for me to discover. WOW what a treat this structure is to the eyes!

The Wisconsin FLW home that many people come to visit is called Taliesan and is located in Spring Green, Wisconsin. While there are many great things to see at that structure, it pales in comparison to Falling Water, mostly because Falling Water was built over a waterfall and more money was used to maintain it. And, I am not trying to dissuade you from Taliesan, it is quite remarkable in its own right as well. One thing I did not know was that they have a fully functioning architecture school running right there and you can see the students move around the grounds when you are there on the tour. So, I encourage you to go ahead and add that to your Frank Lloyd Wright adventures as well!

Falling Water, PA 2011
Falling Water, PA 2011 | Source

For the past 3 years, I have been getting together with several women in my family for one weekend a year which we have dubbed, “Women’s Weekend.” Each year, we focus on a Frank Lloyd Wright structure as the pinnacle of our get-together. This year, we went to Falling Water which is located in Mill Run, Pennsylvania.

In 1936, Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned by Edgar J. Kaufman, a wealthy department store owner to design a summer home for him. Kaufman's son had spent some time studying at Taliesan in Spring Green, Wisconsin. It is thought that Wright and the Kaufman's developed a friendship and respect for one another. If you are not familiar with Wright’s work, he had a wonderful knack of making his structures flow with nature, as not to impede the beauty around it. His organic style brought the outside inside the house. The property surrounding Falling Water is thick with forestation, located in the Appalachian Mountains and a stream (Bear Run) that runs through it. These elements did not hinder Wright from his creativity, in fact this home is considered to be the masterpiece of his entire body of work. This home was completed in 1939.

When we arrived at the Visitor’s Center, we were anxious with anticipation to see this beauty. There was a relatively long nature walk just to get to the home. One we arrived a tour guide gave us a lot of really great historical information about the house and the area. The first thing that I noticed aside from the sheer beauty of the home and the nature around it was the loud rush of water running just under the home. The video link I have attached will give you a virtual tour of the home.

One very impressive thing about this home is the several cantilevered decks that extend out in different directions from the home. You can see the rushing water from every deck. Once you are inside the home, there are many unique things that you can begin to recognize as “Frank Lloyd Wright’s style”, such as the low ceilings in hallways. Wright believed that the hallways were not meant to spend much time in so he made it plain and small. But once you enter a new room the ceiling is much higher, giving the illusion of greatness, because it opens up. The windows are so very different without framework they are built so they will not detract from the nature outside. One interesting fact, you can hear the water rushing in every room in the house.

This is upstream of Falling Water
This is upstream of Falling Water

One of my favorite rooms in this house was the living room. As with most of Wright’s homes the living room is the center and is open and grand. Another characteristic of a Wright home is the built in seating along the walls. The other furniture in the home is a bit more comfortable than the stuff Wright himself designed.

There is so much to see in this home! I am hoping that if you are interested in learning about Frank Lloyd Wright you will do some research of your own to learn about this incredible man who brought so much to architecture. Wright’s work is all over the world. I bet you can find a structure with his influence somewhere near you! There is also a great book I think you would enjoy called, Loving Frank and it gives a lot of great information about his life. All in all, I have really enjoyed the Women’s weekends which have so much to do with Frank Lloyd Wright and I have learned a lot. If you are ever in Pennsylvania I strongly encourage you to check out this exquisite home!!! You won’t regret it, I promise.

Another view of Falling Water
Another view of Falling Water

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Comments 10 comments

karlk 5 years ago

This is a great hub Cre8ivOne!! You have some fabulous pictures here as well. Looks like a destination I need to make! Thanks for sharing!

cre8ivOne profile image

cre8ivOne 5 years ago from Midwest, USA Author

Thanks Karl, It is such an awesome place I hope you can visit there sometime! Thanks for stopping by!

randomcreative profile image

randomcreative 5 years ago from Milwaukee, Wisconsin

I grew up in Frank Lloyd Wright's hometown and have seen a handful of his houses many times. I have not seen any of his larger architectural projects, though. I would love to sometime! Thanks for the information about Falling Water.

cre8ivOne profile image

cre8ivOne 5 years ago from Midwest, USA Author

Thanks randomcreative I have been seeing many different structures around the country, but Falling Water by far has been the most impressive to me ! Hope you can make a trip out there, it is exquisite!

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 5 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

Although I have never seen it I have always been attracted to this house.I did study some of Wright in an Art survey course years ago.Interestingly the courses before my time preached against him.

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cre8ivOne 5 years ago from Midwest, USA Author

Thanks for the comment Dahoglund

Wright was an innovator and his distinct style was not always widely received by architects because some of his designs were risky and maybe not always strucurally sound. No one can take away the beauty of his vision though, Falling Water is truly a masterpiece!

collegatariat profile image

collegatariat 4 years ago

What an innovative structure. Sounds like it would be a fun place to visit-- originality in architecture is always great to see. Do you know who owns the home now?

cre8ivOne profile image

cre8ivOne 4 years ago from Midwest, USA Author

Hi collegatariat:

Thank you very much for your comment! It is a grand structure and you should take a look at the youtube video if you haven't already, it is spectacular!

To answer your question: The house was donated to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in 1963 by the Kaufmanns' son, Edgar Kaufmann Jr., after which it was opened to the public.

You really should go check this beauty out if you are ever taking a trip to Pennsylvania, I know that I certainly am glad I took the time to go!

MickiS profile image

MickiS 4 years ago from San Francisco

Great pictures, cre8ivOne. I've been to Falling Water several times, and it's such a fantastic visit and an incredibly innovative house! One of my favorite features is that the corners are glass on glass. It was the first structure to do that, and it's not only beautiful from the outside, it makes for amazing views from the inside.

cre8ivOne profile image

cre8ivOne 3 years ago from Midwest, USA Author

Thanks much Micki! It is beautiful indeed. Taliesan surely has many of the same features but Falling Water is exquisite and I love how it was built into nature the way Frank Lloyd Wright intended it not to inhibit nature but yet, blend into it.

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