Photography: J. Barclay
We walked past a beautiful wildflower meadow on our way to see Fallingwater. The anticipation made us giddy and the beauty of the grounds was overwhelming. Then there was a short stretch of gravel walkway with tall trees so you couldn’t see even a glimpse of the house yet until you emerged past them. Then, to the right of the tree line, there it was. My son who was only seven at the time, was euphoric. This house set inside the rocks surrounding it that we read about and saw pictures of so many times was actually right in front of us. What was so striking was how this structure rested within its natural environment almost as if it was always there. It is aptly named and I felt like all I could hear was falling water while I was there, touring the inside as well as the grounds.
The structure is a blend of modern engineering materials of metal, concrete and glass along with local field stone and they all work together to showcase design among nature. This was a home meant to champion its surroundings and the main living space, surrounded by glass just does that. You are in a minimalist environment meant to give all the glory to the exterior. That is the artwork that “decorates” the space.
There are several levels of living space and decking throughout Fallingwater, again creating a flow of interior and exterior space in smooth transitions. My husband, son and I took our time and soaked it all in. It was a place we will never forget and some day we will make sure to return.
Frank Lloyd Wright created an American ethos for design and was a true innovator. Contemporary design is not stoic or just a departure from traditional buildings. It could be OF its environment and blend in peacefully with it.
If you’ve never been, you must go when you can. Right now visiting these special places of Frank Lloyd Wright’s mind’s eye is restricted but many have been made virtually accessible through the Frank Lloyd Wright Sites to Swap Virtual Visits program. Here you can marvel at the impeccably designed Fallingwater and many other featured iconic architectural properties. This is a treat for the eyes and while it’s not quite like the visceral experience of being there, it certainly is an opportunity to be amazed right at your desktop.