© 2021 West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Telling West Virginia's Story
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations
WVPB News

Fallingwater One of "10 Homes That Changed America"

fallingwater.jpg
wikimedia commons

Southwestern Pennsylvania’s famous Frank Lloyd Wright home Fallingwater will be featured in a new PBS program called 10 Homes That Changed America. The crew out of Chicago started production there last week.

“Part of our goal here is to start a conversation about architecture. We’re not trying to be the final word,” said Dan Protess, the PBS program’s producer.

Protess put together a panel of advisors from academia to help decide which homes would be featured on the show. Fallingwater was a natural choice since Frank Lloyd Wright is one of America’s most famous architects.

fallingwater_porch.jpg
Credit Glynis Board / WVPublic
/
WVPublic
"It is earthed into this rock on the hillside and perilously projecting out over a waterfall. Everything about the house refers to the site when you’re outside of it. And then when you go inside, you still feel like you’re outside," said Baer

The show’s host, Geoffrey Baer, said when Wright built this house in 1937, he blew up certain ideas about Modern Architecture: “One of the tenants of Modernism was that you could take a glass box and put it anywhere—it was ‘universal’ architecture. And Frank Lloyd Wright utterly rejected this idea. This house could not be anywhere but here.”

fallingwater_stair.jpg
Credit Glynis Board / WVPublic
/
WVPublic
Stone floors are waxed so that they look like the wet stream bed beneath the house, the walls are made from rock quarried from the area, stairways bend and wrap around corners and some lead right into a spring or terminate hovering over the stream bed.

Baer said it’ll be a challenge to compress the story of the house into a 5-minute segment for their program. 10 Homes That Changed America is slated to be broadcast in 2016.

fallingwater_rocks.jpg
Credit Glynis Board / WVPublic
/
WVPublic
Wright called it “organic architecture.” He coined the phrase when he wrote these words in 1936: “So here I stand before you preaching organic architecture: declaring organic architecture to be the modern ideal and the teaching so much needed if we are to see the whole of life, and to now serve the whole of life, holding no traditions essential to the great TRADITION.”

Fallingwater Facts:

fallingwater_iwishilivedhere.jpg
Credit Glynis Board / WVPublic
/
WVPublic
A piece of art displayed on the grounds of Fallingwater that might represent all of us who wish we could be living there.

  • Final cost:  $155,000 (Included $8,000 architect’s fees, and $4,500 for installed walnut furnishings) equivalent to about $2,656,744.60 today.

  • Square footage: The main house uses 5,330 square feet. (2885 sq. ft. interior;  2445 sq. ft. terraces) while the guest house uses 1,700 square. feet.
  • Paint Colors:  Wright's desire to create a unified and organic composition limited the color palette at Fallingwater.  Only two colors were used throughout:  a light ochre for the concrete and his signature Cherokee red for the steel.  PPG Pittsburgh Paints has worked with Fallingwater to develop eco-friendly paints that withstand the environmental challenges of the site.  They have also created a series of colors inspired by the building and its surroundings.  For more information click here.
  • Visitation: 4.5 million people since opening our doors in 1964, with 160,950 in 2011.
  • Preservation: The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has preserved Fallingwater since 1963, with a major structural repair in 2002 strengthening Fallingwater’s cantilevers to prevent collapse and future deflection.
  • Surroundings: Surrounded by the WPC’s 5,000 acre Bear Run Nature Reserve.

millipede.jpg
Credit Glynis Board / WVPublic
/
WVPublic
A lucky resident at Fallingwater.


WVPB is local news, education, music, and entertainment for West Virginia.
Your donation today will help keep us strong and vital.