Fallingwater was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, and built between 1935 and 1937. Work on the guest house, garage and servants' quarters was completed in 1939. It was commissioned as a holiday home by Pittsburgh store owner Edgar Kaufmann. Wright was asked to build it close to a favourite waterfall on the Bear Run River in Western Pennsylvania, near Ohiopyle in Lafayette County, where the Kaufmanns owned an extensive tract of wild country, and already had a holiday cabin.

To the surprise and delight of the Kaufmann family, Wright built the house, not facing the waterfall, but overhanging it. The system of cantilevers he used to allow the terraces to jut out over the falls with no visible means of support was innovative, and his critics predicted that the house would soon collapse into the river. He proved them wrong. Fallingwater still stands as a tribute to his genius over 60 years after it was built.

In 1963, Edgar Kaufmann jr., who had inherited the house from his parents, said that it was a masterpiece that no-one should own, and he gave it to the public in memory of his parents, placing it in the care of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Trust.

Along with the house he gave all the surrounding woodland, and all the contents of the house. The furniture, furnishing fabrics and fittings were all designed or chosen by Frank Lloyd Wright, so Fallingwater stands today as a complete example of a house designed, built and furnished by him.



Return to the Panoramas Index