Imagine a house built over a waterfall, a house with walls of windows, lots of nature, and the sound of water echoing throughout. That’s Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic project, Fallingwater.
- Frank Lloyd Wright built Fallingwater in 1935-1938 in the Alleghany Mountains of rural Pennsylvania.
- The home was commissioned by Liliane and Edgar J. Kaufmann, Sr., founders of Kaufmann Department Stores, as a weekend home. The couple loved nature, especially hiking and horseback riding. They wanted a home that would allow them more time to do these things.
- Wright told Kaufmann he had a preliminary design ready, but in reality, the design was only in his mind. When Kaufmann called to say he was making a surprise visit to see the design, Wright sat down and drew up the plans in only 2 hours.
- The original estimate for the cost of the home was $35,000, but the final bill was $155,000. The Kaufmanns enlarged the house and added a guesthouse, garage, and servants’ quarters. In today’s money, it would cost $2.8 million to build.
- The family lived in the home from 1937 to 1963. Edgar, Jr., the Kaufmanns’ only child donated the house and 1,500 acres of land to the Western Pennsylvania Conservatory.
- The home is a National Historic Landmark and is on the World Heritage List. Time magazine called it Wright’s “most beautiful job,” and the Smithsonian included it on their “Life List of 78 Places to Visit before You Die.”
- More than 4.5 million people have visited Fallingwater and 160,000 visit every year.
- Iconic: Almost universally known, classic
- Commission: hired for a project
- Rural: in the country
Questions and Answers
Question: How did the Kaufmanns become acquainted with Wright?
Answer: Their son, Edgar, attended the Taliesin Fellowship, an architectural apprenticeship offered by Frank Lloyd Wright. He raved to them about Wright’s imaginative designs and they hired Wright for the job.
Watch a video about Fallingwater.