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Fallingwater

Mill Run, Pennsylvania


Fallingwater, one of Frank Lloyd Wright's most widely acclaimed works, was designed for the family of Pittsburgh department store owner Edgar J. Kaufmann.

The key to the setting of the house is the waterfall over which it is built. The falls had been a focal point of the family's activities, and they had indicated the area around the falls as as the location for a home. They were unprepared for Wright's suggestion that the house rise over the waterfall, rather than face it. But the architect's original scheme was adopted almost without change.

Completed with guest and service wing in 1939, Fallingwater was constructed of sandstone quarried on the property and laid up by local craftsmen. The stone serves to separate reinforced concrete "trays," forming living and bedroom levels, dramatically cantilevered over the stream.

Fallingwater was the weekend home of the Kaufmann family from 1937 until 1963, when the house, its contents, and grounds were presented to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy by Edgar Kaufmann, Jr. Fallingwater is the only remaining great Wright house with its setting, original furnishings, and art work intact.

In 1986, New York Times architecture critic Paul Goldberger wrote: "This is a house that summed up the 20th century and then thrust it forward still further. Within this remarkable building Frank Lloyd Wright recapitulated themes that had preoccupied him since his career began a half century earlier, but he did not reproduce them literally. Instead, he cast his net wider, integrating European modernism and his own love of nature and of structural daring, and pulled it all together into a brilliantly resolved totality. Fallingwater is Wright's greatest essay in horizontal space; it is his most powerful piece of structural drama; it is his most sublime integration of man and nature."

TO VISIT FALLINGWATER

Fallingwater opened to the public in 1964. The house is located about 2 hours southeast of Pittsburgh, halfway between the villages of Mill Run and Ohiopyle on PA Route 381.

Fallingwater is open for 45-minute guided tours from April 1 through November every day, except Monday, from 10am to 4pm. It is also open on Martin Luther King Day, Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, July 4, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Thanksgiving Friday, and the week between Christmas and New Years. For a more leisurely, less-crowded tour, we suggest visiting Fallingwater on weekdays. Reservations are required to guarantee admission. During periods of high visitation, exact tour times cannot be guaranteed. Two hour in-depth tours are also offered at 8:30am by advance reservation only.

From December 1 through March 31, Fallingwater is open for weekend tours (weather permitting). Weekday winter tours may be available. For information on winter hours, please write or call.

The Visitors Pavilion has exhibits on Fallingwater, a child care center, a café, an interpretive nature trail, and a museum shop featuring postcards, film, books, Fallingwater furniture reproductions, and gift items. You may return to the Visitors Pavilion after your tour of the house. All admission, shop, and café proceeds are devoted to the preservation and education programs of Fallingwater.

The Fallingwater Tour is designed for adults and most children become restless. Therefore, we require that children under 9 remain at the supervised Child Care Center where they can enjoy indoor and outdoor games and toys relating to nature and architecture. Special tours of Fallingwater for children are available by reservation. School groups require one adult chaperon per 15 students. Checks for all group reservations must be sent at least three weeks prior to the visit.

Since considerable walking and numerous steps are involved, some elderly people and those with medical problems may find the tour too strenuous. People with disabilities requiring special assistance are requested to call in advance. Comfortable walking shoes are strongly advised. The Pavilion and first floor of Fallingwater are wheelchair-accessible, and a video about the upper floors is available. Foreign language taped tours may be rented. Photography is not permitted in the house except on in-depth tours. To prevent damage to furnishings, large handbags may not be carried through the house.

Picnicking and pets are not permitted on the grounds, but picnic facilities are available at roadside stops near Fallingwater, at Bear Run Nature Reserve, and at Ohiopyle State Park, three miles south of the house on PA Route 381. Suggestions for nearby lodging are sent upon request.

"Fallingwater has always been rightly considered one of the complete masterpieces of twentieth-century art"
(Vincent Scully, Sterling Professor of The History of Art, Yale University)

One of 14 "Favorite House Museums"
(1989 poll of readers of the National Trust's Historic Preservation magazine)

"Of all Wright's buildings, this is certainly the best presented to the visitor... Fallingwater has become the quintessential house museum..."
(Frederick Gutheim, Inland Architect, 1988)

Recommended Books

Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater

National Geographic's Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways


LOCATION: Route 381 (PO Box R), Mill Run, Pennsylvania 15464. Phone 724-329-8501, fax 724-329-0881.

HOURS: April 1 to mid-November and Christmas Day to New Years Day Tuesday-Sunday 10am-4pm for the 45-minute tour; weekends only the rest of the year. The 2 hour in-depth tour begins at 8:30 am. Reservations are required to guarantee admission.

ADMISSION: See Fallingwaters' web site for current tour and ticket information.

DIRECTIONS: From Pittsburgh, take PA Turnpike Exit 9 south. Turn left onto Route 31 East, then right onto Route 381 South. Fallingwater is located midway between Mill Run and Ohiopyle. From Baltimore & Washington, take I-68 Exit 14 onto Route 40 West to Farmington. Turn right onto Route 381 North.

WEBSITE: http://www.fallingwater.org




 

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