By Josh West
Well here is the boring stuff. My name is Josh West and I am currently a Graduate Student at Southern Illinois pursing my life goal of one day becoming an Architect. I have enjoyed my time here at SIU and have learned a substantial amount of information that has helped me push myself throughout my four years here. That’s enough of me. Let’s get to the good stuff.
During our trip to Baltimore, Maryland last week, my classmates and I were able to visit one of the most beautiful pieces of architecture; Falling Water by Frank Lloyd Wright. Nestled in the backwoods of Pennsylvania, this hand crafted house was built partly over Bear Run Creek and served as a vacation home for the Kaufmann family. We first began our journey at the information pavilion. From there we were able to enter and follow the meandering path; leading us to the entrance of falling water. As we were speechless looking at the building, it was really easy to see how all of wrights materials meshed together and his beautiful cantilevers throughout the house. We were first able to understand how wright formed the building with the surrounding landscape; using existing boulders to add support to the structure and become a strong center piece inside the house. As we entered into the house, we could instantly feel the relationship between the inside and outside. Wright used a lot of banded windows inside so no matter where you were inside of the house you could always have a beautiful view of nature. Wright also designed around the waterfall with a purpose. Instead of always looking at the waterfall, the view would become old and would easily be passed up so Wright decided to build above the waterfall so you could always hear the peaceful noise of the waterfall throughout the entire house. Wright also used the hatch, in the middle of the first room, to one give the Kaufmann’s a place to go down to the water and also to give a natural ventilation chimney to cool down the house.
It was amazing, as we have always studied the work of Frank Llyod Wright, to see exactly how he worked as a designer and how he thought through some design issues. It was truly a piece of art and a great learning experience. Below to the left is the signature picture of falling water and to the right is a picture of the first room when entering the house.