Wednesday, December 29, 2010

House on the waterfall

Have a look at these amazing photos of the famous Frank Lloyd Wright house over the waterfall. Fallingwater has provided enjoyment to many people over the years; as a stimulating weekend retreat for the Kaufmann family and their friends, as a source of pride to the architect and his associates, and now – cared for by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy – as an exceptional experience for visitors from near and far.
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When Wright came to the site he appreciated the powerful sound of the falls, the vitality of the young forest, the dramatic rock ledges and boulders; these were elements to be interwoven with the serenely soaring spaces of his structure. But Wright’s insight penetrated more deeply. He understood that people were creatures of nature, hence an architecture which conformed to nature would conform to what was basic in people.
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For example, although all of Fallingwater is opened by broad bands of windows, people inside are sheltered as in a deep cave, secure in the sense of hill behind them. Their attention is directed toward the outside by low ceilings; no lordly hall sets the tone but, instead, the luminous textures of the woodland, rhythmically en-framed. The materials of the structure blend with the colorings of rocks and trees, while occasional accents are provided by bright furnishings, like wildflowers or birds outside. The paths within the house, stairs and passages, meander without formality or urgency, and the house hardly has a main entrance; there are many ways in and out. Sociability and privacy are both available, as are the comforts of home and the adventures of the seasons. So people are cosseted in to relaxing, into exploring the enjoyment of a life refreshed in nature. Visitors, too, in due measure experience Wright’s architecture as an expansion of living.
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Fallingwater opened a new chapter in American architecture, and is perhaps rightly considered Wright’s greatest work, for he was first and foremost an architect of houses. In its careful yet startling integration of stone walls anchored to the bedrock and modern reinforced concrete terraces hovering in space, Connors states that Fallingwater may be understood as ‘one of the great critiques of the modern movement in architecture, and simultaneously one of its masterpieces’. Yet we cannot help feeling that there is more to this design than even that; this is an architecture that seizes our imagination, letting us see space and habitation in ways that seem new, but which we simultaneously feel to be ancient, somehow fundamental to our human nature
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