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Fallingwater, Pennsylvania, USA

The house was built in 1934 for a successful businessman Edgar Kaufmann Sr. who wanted to have a cozy house for weekends with his family, but in the end became a part of history of architecture. The author of the house is Frank Lloyd Wright. It took him 9 long months to start the construction after his first meeting with Mr. Kaufmann. Initially Kaufmann wanted to have a house near the fall, but Wright dumbfounded him with his concept to build the house “on” the fall. The Fallingwater is a three-storey house furnished in the modern style of 1930s, decorated with antique furniture. Wright was an ardent follower of Japanese philosophy and “organic architecture”. His point of view was to make the house an organic part of the nature. The house has the color of withered rhododendrons that he met on his way to the house. To make an emphasis on view out of the window and the interior Wright used the same materials to decorate the exterior and the interior as well. The inside doors are made of glass and the windows reach the ceiling thus letting the midday light into the house and erasing the border between the nature and the house. There are no thresholds and window frames: the glasses do straightly into the walls.

Wright was also an innovator and a true modernist. One can easily understand that when seeing the rough floor made out of blocks, three-legged chairs that can be hardly sat on. One of the “sites” of the house is the huge teapot that can go in and out of the fireplace. The architect did not use outdoor lighting, and at night, when all lights in the house are on, it seems to be a huge lamp. Only mentioning about all this makes you want live in this house.

The building was built in the atmosphere of the conflicts between Wright and Kaufmann: Right was very firm in his decisions, thus he always managed to implement his ideas. For instance the beds were fixed on the walls so that no one could change the planning. The total cost of the construction amounted $155,000 (the average cost of a house in Pennsylvania at that time was $5-6,000).

Though the interior of the house creates associations of coziness, happy family, three children and an old kind dog, the house is recognized one of the sexiest buildings in the world. Wright’s efforts weren’t in vain: a solitary house situated in the center of dark forest, permanent sound of waterfall, windows from floor to ceiling. All this adds intimacy to the house making it much more sexier than all phallic buildings around the world.

In 1963 Edgar Kaufmann Jr. donated the house to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Now the house is used as a museum (some 120 thousand people visit the mansion every year). Architectural concepts used in this house, yet too modern and daring for those times, are still amazing.

By Sona Gasparian,


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