Fallingwater has been on my travel bucket list since my college days when an art history professor brought it to my consciousness. I finally got to go this fall, along with my best friend of many, many years. It was a nice but quick trip and we did some other things along the way including the Flight 93 Memorial.
Fallingwater is incredible and worth every penny if you’re an architecture nerd or if you just like unusual places.
Tours are taken in small groups. They begin with a short walk from the visitor pavilion to a bridge outside the home. No pictures are permitted inside and you must be careful to touch nothing. They are extremely particular. We witnessed a guy being shamed for allowing his jacket to touch a wall while someone was called in with a cloth to clean the spot. Don’t be that guy.
The guides offer a nice overview of the family that commissioned the home, the activities that went on here over the years, and the budget that Wright blew with spending that soared to insane heights. And, of course, you’re given insight into the hidden secrets of this amazing house.
This was a vacation home for the Kauffman family, a prominent Pittsburgh family known for their Kauffman’s Department Stores. The Kauffmans called the property Bear Run and often hosted employees here.
Wright’s love of nature is evident in his work as structures like Fallingwater are designed to seem like they are part of the landscape and they are designed to bring nature indoors. Fallingwater looks like it grew naturally out of the hillside.
And he brings nature inside as well. In fact, the living room floor is a large slab of rock and a stream drips through the house. Narrow hallways and dark stairwells seem to push visitors into areas of the home with access to nature. And, of course, the house is built over a water fall!
He hated clutter and disapproved of anything that encouraged the accumulation of stuff. Homeowners often had to negotiate with him for things like closets, shelves and freezers.
But the results are truly phenomenal. It’s one of those places that you really have to see to believe and I would strongly recommend that you go see it.
If you go, the house is closed during winter months. Advance tickets are required and they are for a designated tour time so you’ll need to plan your day smartly. There are nice facilities in a modern pavilion including restrooms, a cafe, gift shop and gallery plus trails on the property that can provide a stretch of the legs as well as access to this beautiful property.
If you’re in the area anyway, be sure to visit Kentuck Knob, another Wright house that’s just down the road. There are also countless ways to get outside to hike, bike and boat in this region.
Have questions? Plan your trip to Fallingwater starting with their website!