ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Education and Science»
  • Architecture

Fallingwater - an architectural masterpiece designed by Frank Lloyd Wright

Updated on May 1, 2012
Fallingwater, outside Pittsburgh, PA, designed by American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.
Fallingwater, outside Pittsburgh, PA, designed by American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. | Source
American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.
American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. | Source


Many years ago, while in college, an art major friend and I made a trip from Akron, Oh to just outside Pittsburgh, PA to view the architectural masterpiece, Fallingwater. My grandfather, also an architect and stone mason, had talked about this house and architect, Frank Lloyd Wright all the years I was growing up, but it was not until college that I realized the importance of this house to the architectural world. The beauty and simplicity of the lines of this house captured my imagination. And the natural beautiful surroundings left me feeling tranquil and serene.

Fallingwater is a weekend home that was designed by American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, probably, America's most original, creative, innovative and gifted architect. Throughout his life, Wright was an architect, interior designer, writer and educator all rolled up in one. He believed in an architectural philosophy he called organic architecture, and designed structures in harmony with humanity and its environment.

Fallingwater or the Kaufmann residence was designed by Wright in 1935. It is nestled in rural southwestern Pennsylvania approximately fifty miles southeast of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The home was built partly over a waterfall in Bear Run in the Laurel Highlands of the Allegheny Mountains. It is a beautiful, elegant home encompassing all of Frank Lloyd Wright's beliefs and philosophies of communing nature and man to live in harmony together. Frank Lloyd Wright was "green" eons before the term became popular in our lexicon. This house is why Frank Lloyd Wright has been labeled an architectural genius. And it is this house that defined his whole career and his passion for integrating the home, and therefore man, within nature.

The home was originally designed for Edgar Kaufmann, Sr, businesssman and president of Kaufmann's Department Stores in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. It was built to be the weekend home and retreat for the Kaufmanns and was so from l937-l963. Kaufmann's son, Edgar Kaufmann, Jr. was an architect working for Frank Lloyd Wright at the time and so the Kaufmanns commissioned Wright to design their weekend home for them.

Fallingwater became Wright's greatest masterpiece for its integration of the house into the natural surroundings of the wooded, forested area and the stream and waterfall under the house. This structure was his ultimate vision of harmony between man and nature. Wright believed the treatment of space was the most important aspect of architecure that he had learned from the Japanese and Wright's passion for Japanese architecture is strongly reflected in Fallingwater's design. His organic design of this house was Wright's architectural trademark and this house was intended to be a nature retreat for the Kaufmanns.

What is so interesting and the focal point of the house is that it is built on top of an active waterfall which flows beneath the house and is integrated with nature all around the house. The house was built to have a definite connection to the outside site. Ledge rock protrudes up to a foot through the living room, and was left in place to link the outside of the house with the inside. The fireplace hearth integrates boulders found on the site and on which the house is built. Waxed stone floors are foils to the rough texture of the stone walls of the rooms.

Decks run around the entire outside of the house and the low ceilings in the rooms inside the house beckon the people inside to move outdoors to enjoy the beauty of the natural surroundings. It is also said that Frank Lloyd Wright was a small man and designed his homes with his short height in mind. Wright also built servant's quarters and a guest house attached to the outside of the building. The horizonal and vertical lines of the house flow naturally along with nature and give off a peacefulness and serenity not found in the city, This is the ultimate nature retreat.

Wright also designed the interior rooms of the house. The living room is large and many of the window seats and chairs are naturally designed to keep with the natural harmony of nature outside and inside. The bedrooms are quite small to encourage the residents to gather in the house, which has windows all around, and to enjoy the natural elements and the outside beauty. This was Wright's ultimate architectural vision.

Edgar Kaufmann, Jr. donated the property to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and in l964 the house became a museum. It averages about 150,000 visitors each year.

Don't miss this architectural beauty if you are in the Pittsburgh area. It is a treat. Plan to spend one whole day at the house, touring the inside, which is innovative even by today's standards. Also, tour the outside natural surroundings and view and photograph the natural waterfall. It is amazing how the house is built right into the rock in the surroundings and the house seems to "bloom open as a flower" in its natural surroundings.

Fallingwater is not to be missed.

Other places to view Frank Lloyd Wright architecture, homes and buildings is in Chicago, Illinois, Oak Park, Illinois, Spring Green, Wisconsin, and Arizona. These are the places Wright resided during his life and he left his architectural stamp wherever he lived. The Guggenheim Museum on 5th Avenue in NY city is also a Frank Lloyd Wright designed building not to be missed.

Interior of Fallingwater, designed by architect, Frank Lloyd Wright.
Interior of Fallingwater, designed by architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. | Source


Submit a Comment

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 2 years ago from Taos, NM

    Chantelle: Yes, I have read Loving Frank - what an illuminating book about his life. He certainly did not lead a boring life! LOL! I love his architecture and I have seen some of his other buildings and architecture. Thanks so much for stopping to read this.

  • Chantelle Porter profile image

    Chantelle Porter 2 years ago from Chicago

    Great article. If you have a chance you should read "Loving Frank", which chronicles his life and some less flattering apsects of it. Interesting guy; wonderful architect.

    I'm glad you've rewired.

  • Tom Schumacher profile image

    Tom Schumacher 4 years ago from Huntington Beach, CA

    Although I'm not convinced FLW's Fallingwater is his greatest masterpiece I do, however, thinks it is pretty amazing. I wonder what it must be like to wake up in the morning to the sound of flowing water all around you? Voted up.

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 5 years ago from Taos, NM

    Cogerson: Thanks so much for reading this and commenting. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Yes, if you are ever in the Pittsburgh, PA area, be sure to see this house. It is amazing and incredible and one of the most interesting houses I've been in. I love how he integrated it with nature. I wish we did this more today. Your interest is most appreciated!

  • Cogerson profile image

    UltimateMovieRankings 5 years ago from Virginia

    This looks like an interesting place to visit. I am aware of some of Frank Lloyd Wright's work..but this is one that I have not heard of thanks for opening my eyes to this landmark....that has now made my bucket list....voted up and awesome.

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 5 years ago from Taos, NM

    Isn't this house amazing? I'm glad you enjoyed this and I hope you get to see the house someday. Thanks for the visit - most appreciated!

  • Rolly A Chabot profile image

    Rolly A Chabot 5 years ago from Alberta Canada

    Hi suzettenaples... what an interesting hub of a man vision in design. His ability to tuck something so peaceful and serene away and incorporate nature is amazing. Very much enjoyed...

    Hugs from Canada

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 5 years ago from Taos, NM

    TT: This house is amazing. If you are ever in the Pittsburgh area, stop to see this. Wright's architecture is so unique and he always incorporated nature into his designs. He felt nature should not be changed because we had to build buildings. I wish his architecture had taken hold more than it did. It is so much better for the environment. Thanks so much for visitng and sharing. Much appreciated!

  • TToombs08 profile image

    Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

    Suzettenaples, what a STUNNING home! I love the way Wright managed to marry nature and architecture into a copacetic environment. Great job on presenting an excellent example of his work. Voted up and sharing.

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 5 years ago from Taos, NM

    Thank you so much and you are not so bad yourself! lol. I enjoy your hubs very much - they are always on such interesting and many times controversial subjects. I love what you do with them. Enjoy your week!

  • phdast7 profile image

    Theresa Ast 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

    What a pleasure to see this again. Wright is still a genius; Falling rock is still amazing; you are still an excellent hub author. Have a great week. :)

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 5 years ago from Taos, NM

    Jools99, Ah, you live in the UK. I have visited their and I love the UK. Fallingwater is located near Pittsburgh, PA in western Pennsylvania. I could easily be nestled in this house in the woods with a brook and waterfall. I can't think of anything more lovely or peaceful. I hope you get here someday!

  • Jools99 profile image

    Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

    Suzette, I am in the UK but have visited the States a few times. I have never visited Pennsylvania, only Boston on the East Coast and would happily visit this house if I ever return, the surroundings look so serene. This may well be a clever conceit, but who wouldn't love to live there? So beautiful.

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 5 years ago from Taos, NM

    mollymeadows: Wouldn't you just love to live here - I know I would. His houses are so unique - every single one of them. I just love his architectural vision. Thanks so much for stopping by to read and comment. I appreciate your comments.

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 5 years ago from Taos, NM

    Jools99: Thanks so much for your lovely comments. Where are you living now? Do see this house sometime; it is a real treat! Thanks for the vote and share. I appreciate you stopping by to read and comment and I'm glad you enjoyed this.

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 5 years ago from Taos, NM

    KDuBarry03: Yes, you are so right. Wright is probably turning over in his grave as he worked so hard to integrate nature and architecture. I don't know how we got so far away from his vision, and I love his buildings. I wish we could all live in harmony with nature - life would be so much less stressful. Se la vie! Thanks so much for stopping by and reading. I enjoyed your comments!

  • profile image

    KDuBarry03 5 years ago

    Man and nature are so far separated now it's a joke. I am happy to read hubs, like these, where a man longs to be with nature and completes it with beauty and intelligence. Very well done! This hub is definitely an eye opener and a great read.


  • mollymeadows profile image

    Mary Strain 5 years ago from The Shire

    I love Fallingwater and this style of architecture. This makes you dream of having this kind of house...if only...:-) Thanks for the peep into this lovely home.

  • Jools99 profile image

    Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

    Very interesting hub and certainly somewhere I would love to visit if I ever get back to the USA. I love these sorts of buildings which integrate themselves into the landscape so easily. And I love the natural sound of flowing or falling water. this place is so beautiful.

    Voted up and shared.

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 6 years ago from Taos, NM

    Duchess: Thank you for stopping by and reading and commenting. I also admire creative, unusual people. This entire house and grounds are so calm and serene. It must have been wonderful to have this as a weekend retreat.

  • profile image

    Duchess OBlunt 6 years ago

    wonderful hub. I always envy those who have an idea and are able to create it.

    I have always loved the sound of a waterfall. Imagine living over one!

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 6 years ago from Taos, NM

    Why thank you so much for your comments and for taking the time to read this. Don't be jealous, I'm sure you have some great hubs also. We have several architects in the family and I sort of have an eye for looking at it. I like anything unique, unusual, and I connect with nature, so this was right up my alley.

    The inside rooms however, are a little claustrophobic because the ceilings are so low. I prefer higher ceilings, but I understand his reasons for low ceilings.

    Thanks so much and I will be reading some of your hubs!

  • robie2 profile image

    Roberta Kyle 6 years ago from Central New Jersey

    I have always thought that Falling Water was Wright's masterpiece-- the way it seems to be part of the waterfall is just amazing. I love Western PA and the mountains there anyway -- this hub is just wonderful and you've included great photos and perfect background information as well as personal impressions. I love this hub so much that I am jealous that I didn't write it myself-- Kudos and I'm bookmarking, sharing and voting up across the board because it is an absoute masterpiece:-)

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 6 years ago from Taos, NM

    BlissfulWriter: I know, Wright was just amazing wasn't he? I find his architecture so unique and thoughtful about nature. He wasn't the steel and glass skyscraper architect, but an architect concerned about how his buildings could fit into nature, rather than obliterating nature to build the building. People who think like Wright are so rare - once in a lifetime person. He was "green" long before the term even was invented.

  • BlissfulWriter profile image

    BlissfulWriter 6 years ago

    Frank Lloyd Wright did many architectural pieces and he seem to have an uncanny ability to merge living structures within nature.

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 6 years ago from Taos, NM

    phdast7: Thank you so much for reading and commenting. I have such a soft spot for nonconformists. His architecture really fascinates me and he left quite a mark. His architectual vision was just so unique.

  • phdast7 profile image

    Theresa Ast 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

    I have loved Wright's work ever since I was introduced to it 30 years ago. Great Hub and what a gorgeous photograph of Falling Water. I love talking about him and his work and how influential it was in America. Definitely SHARING.

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 6 years ago from Taos, NM

    Hyphen: I, too, had forgotten about this house. What jogged my memory was the book I recently read about him, "Loving, Frank". I forget the author's name. It is about Wright's life about 10 years or so into his marriage, when he took a lover, Mamah Borthwick Cheney. They both left their respective spouses and ran off to Europe together and lived together the rest of their lives. I hadn't known that Wright was such a nonconformist. Their love affair came to a tragic end in Spring Green, Wisconsin, when Mamah and her visiting children and some workers were massacred (ax murders) and the compound where they lived was burned one summer day by a mad servant. This book flabbergasted me that Frank and Mamah were such proponents of free love, open marriage and feminism back in the early 1900's.

    Anyway, the book got me thinking about his architecture and my visit to Fallingwater. This house was the apex of his career and built long after the tragic end of their love affair. Who knew?

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 6 years ago from Taos, NM

    ytsenoh: Thank you for stopping by and reading this. The photos are not mine, but I agree, they are beautiful. I am glad you enjoyed this. Frank Lloyd Wright has always been a favorite of mine, architecturally. I have seen some of his other houses, the Praire houses, and they are just as interesting. But, Fallingwater is my favorite and really the masterpiece of his lifetime.

  • Hyphenbird profile image

    Brenda Barnes 6 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

    Suzette, I had not thought about this beautiful place in years. Thank you for stimulating that memory and for the information about Fallingwater. It is so beautiful. The man was an artist with talents I only dream about.

  • ytsenoh profile image

    Cathy 6 years ago from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri

    This was nicely put together. So clean with the images and well-written. Frank Lloyd Wright is very interesting. Thank you.

  • suzettenaples profile image

    Suzette Walker 6 years ago from Taos, NM

    Thank you for reading and commenting. I did not know about the Chapel in Illinois. I'd love to view it someday!

  • kat11 profile image

    kat11 6 years ago from Illinois

    There is also a Frank Lloyd Wright Chapel architecture in Belvidere, Illinois


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: ""

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is used to quickly and efficiently deliver files such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisements has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)