fallingwater building
critical response
parallel movements
wright at the time
other works
fallingwater: exterior

allingwater’s floors and roofs are dramatically cantilevered over the waterfall of Bear Run, a creek in western Pennsylvania. Executed in reinforced concrete, the house’s floating planes echo the stream’s cascading flow. The composition is anchored to the site visually by vertical elements such as stairs and chimneys faced in rough stone and from a nearby quarry. Every detail reinforces Wright’s vision of the exploded box: floors and ceiling expand outward independently, vertical elements extend this movement skyward, and windows meet at the corners of rooms, opening to erode the very notion of containment.


Wright’s design makes the interior space of the house continuous with the outdoors, fusing the house with its site. He proposed originally to cover the building in gold leaf which would mimic the color of dying plants and thereby connect the house to the change of seasons and the passage of time. Kaufmann found this extravagant, however, and eventually the concrete surfaces were painted a beige color.

Take a virtual tour of Fallingwater and it’s environs (no audio available).
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