Scenic USA - Pennsylvania


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Fallingwater, the Kaufmann Residence - Bear Run Nature Reserve, Pennsylvania

Photo by Fred Weyman
Fred Weyman Photography

     Seeming to hover over an 80 foot waterfall, Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater at Bear Run became an instant success after he appeared on the cover of Time Magazine in 1938. The Kaufmann residence, named Fallingwater, is still one of Wright's most famous designs. Built over a waterfall, Wright was praised for his genius to step beyond the ordinary. From its unique cantilevered living space over the falls and movable glass walls to the site's terraced gardens and spring-fed pool, Wright's plan set the bar in residential design for the remainder of the century.
     Designed as a week-end retreat for Pittsburgh's department store owner Edgar J. Kaufmann, Fallingwater is the only remaining Wright home that features its original furnishings and art work. Surrounded by the Bear Run Nature Preserve, the home was donated to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy by the Kaufmann family in 1963. Designated a National Historic Landmark, the property was also named building of the century in 2000.
     Delving into a novel design with little practical experience, Fallingwater's bold cantilevers exhibited pronounced deflection almost immediately. In 1997 temporary girders had to be installed until a 2002 restoration repaired the problem. Harming little of the 1930s construction, the 11 million dollar restoration employed modern post-tensioning methods for the sagging concrete, as well as window restoration, waterproofing and re-roofing.
     Located 90 miles south of Pittsburgh, Fallingwater is located in the Bear Run Nature Reserve. Here in this 5060 acre wilderness setting, Fallingwater represents a symbol of living in harmony with its surroundings. Over five million people have enjoyed this modern masterpiece since it was first opened to the public in 1964.

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