Day #1 for TY Student – Work Experience #Fallingwater

So, we have a new TY (Transition Year) student and the project I’ve given him is some research into a famous building, drawings of it and then a model.

And what better building to cover than Fallingwater. Here’s what Aaron had to say for his first day where the architect & building were brand new to him:

Image from Fallingwater.org

Fallingwater is a house in Bear Run, south west Pennsylvania that ascends 30 foot above a magnificent waterfall; the house was built between 1936 and 1939 and was designed by an American architect, Frank Lloyd Wright. This architect truly used the beauty of the landscape to his advantage whilst working on this piece of art.
Frank Lloyd Wright was born in the year 1867 in Wisconsin, United States which was a small town known for its farming. He attended Madison High School and later went on to be accepted into the University of Wisconsin–Madison as a special student in 1886. He never finished school, left without a degree and moved to Chicago where he was employed as a draftsman and therefore started his career in architecture. He has drawn up many magnificent projects in his time but the most influential was known as Fallingwater, the house that hangs on the edge of a valley above a beautiful waterfall.

This magnificent house is known widely as the best all-time work of American architecture. In the beginning the family of Edgar J. Kaufmann wanted a vacation house or somewhere to get away such as a log cabin beside the waterfall but that image was changed when they got Frank Lloyd Wright to design the house. At first they were shocked to see the first drawings of this huge and somewhat amazing house on top of the waterfall.

Designed in 1935 and construction started in 1936 the overall cost of Fallingwater was $155,000 which is about $2.6 million in present times, $8000 of which went to the architect and a further $4500 was needed to finish the inside with beautiful walnut furniture. Wright wanted to keep his design as natural as possible so he chose to keep the colour of the house organic by paving some of it with stone and painting the steel in Cherokee red which lightens the house and gives it more of the modern architecture look which he was aiming for.
The house is raised using concrete and steel beams that keeps it above the waterfall at all times; the family didn’t get to see the waterfall that well from the house but Wright said “why only look at it now and again when you can make it part of your everyday life”. Today Fallingwater still stands there as if it was new and every year it attracts about 150,000 people and lovers of architecture to come from all over the world to see it. In 2001 Fallingwater was restored and repaired as it had sprung a couple of leaks over the years these repairs costed approximately $11.5 million but in my opinion that’s money well spent.

Fallingwater made a magnificent name for itself when it was finally finished in 1939. The house and Frank Lloyd Wright make it on the cover of Time magazine with its modern and unique looks that the population at the time hadn’t seen before.

In my personal opinion houses today aren’t made like they were back then. Some houses today can be very plain with 4 walls and a roof. I think that Fallingwater was the first of its kind and that there isn’t too many houses that could give it a run for its money, its unique looks and location is how and why people love it.

Prairie architecture was invented in the 19th early 20th century by a couple of architects; the most famous being Frank Lloyd Wright. Fallingwater was the most famous building in the Prairie style. This type of architecture uses horizontal lines, with mainly flat, over-hanging roofs and different types of balconies. One other building that Wright designed was Taliesin West which was his winter home and school.

Taliesin West is another example of Prairie architecture and was built in 1937 by and for Wright himself and every part of this building has his personal touch. It was out in the middle of the desert where he paid $3.50 per acre. There was approximately $10000 put into the project to build a well big enough to have enough water to supply the building. The view at Taliesin West was one of the most important things to Wright. One day he spotted power lines in the distance so he wrote a letter to President Truman asking them to get buried but they didn’t and Wright had to deal with it so he moves the main entrance of Taliesin to the rear of the house.

Today Taliesin West is known as the Frank Lloyd Wright School of architecture and the original building has become more complex as it has been added to by Wrights students themselves.

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