Glass borders the three sides of the living room, providing a continuous view of Bear Run. This thin divider separates the outdoors from within, but from the inside, the flowing sound of the waterfall can still be heard. This is Fallingwater, an elegant house in the woods. Built from only four materials and created to mirror its landscape, Fallingwater is a classic example of structural harmony with nature, and the design evokes the same style of living as the home conveys.
There are many features about Fallingwater that captures the essence of its environment. The house contains 2445 square feet of terrace area, all of which protrude outward in different directions. The crisscrossing of the terraces matches the natural position of the large rocks beneath the house as if they are a continuation of the cliffs. In the center of the house, the fireplace sits with a chimney that extends up, marking the highest point of the house. From the outside, the chimney is bordered with rocks from the site, creating a natural texture and strong vertical lines that contrast with the horizontal terraces. Parts of the house yields to the trees on the site by encompassing the trees into the structure. The reinforced concrete used for the terraces is painted a pale ochre color that matches the backside of fallen rhododendron leaves in the area. This exterior color complements the flora of the region regardless of the season. Fallingwater is nature combined with modern design, that in effect, expresses admiration for natural beauties.
The house influences its inhabitants to enjoy, appreciate, and admire nature. Fallingwater has countless windows that show off the breathtaking view of the forest. The many pieces of glass are connected by steel rods, and the glass in the corners have a unique design that allow them to open like windows. The same rocks used for the chimney are also used throughout the walls of the house. The rocks and the rustic furniture provides a constant connection to nature from within. There are many large open spaces that joins people to the outdoors, merging the comforts of enclosed home with the foreign wilderness. Fallingwater sits on top of a waterfall. The architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, wanted the owners “to live with the waterfall, not just to look at it, but for it to become an integral part of [their] lives.” The rhythmic sound of the falling water is incorporated into the house, and its music sings throughout.
The beauty of nature attracts many people to study it and be a part of it. The Kaufmann family, owners of Fallingwater, donated their weekend home to Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in 1963, and a year later it became a museum for the public. Today, people can go visit this house and be captivated by one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most spectacular buildings. Fallingwater is the product of natural influences that shows that there is a way to construct on land and live with the environment without causing harm to the natural landscape. Nature-influenced architecture is about finding the right balance between society and wildlife, and Fallingwater resembles a design that harmonizes both.