Considered by many as one of the greatest architects ever, Frank Lloyd Wright knew how to design his buildings to be one with nature. Possibly his most famous home, Fallingwater was commissioned by Kaufmann’s department store as a site to host a “summer camp” for their employees. The site in western Pennsylvania on which Fallingwater would be built was already used as a rural retreat, complete with a waterfall and cabins. Wright designed the new home to incorporate the surrounding landscape of water and woodland setting.
When the Kaufmanns saw Wright’s drawings, they were initially very upset and wondered why Wright had situated the house above the waterfall at Bear Run instead of below . They had wanted the house to directly face the waterfall. He said that he wanted them to live with the falls, not just glance at them from time to time. In addition, it was very important to him for the running water of the falls to be heard. As one can clearly see, the living room and bedroom balconies provide breathtaking views downstream.
Other examples of Wright’s naturalistic and innovative design are the plunge pool in the bed rock, accessible by a flight of stairs from the living room, and the guest cottage’s elevated plunge pool, surrounded by dogwood and rosebud trees. Some might say it’s like living in a tree house since it’s so integrated with nature. Fallingwater is truly an expression of Frank Lloyd Wright’s genius.
The idea of building a house atop a waterfall, though beautiful, was not in the long run a smart idea. Since Fallingwater was built in a humid environment directly located over running water, mold and condensation under roofing membranes soon became problems. This could have been rectified had there been damp proofing or thermal breaks. That said, let’s explore some more practical ways to execute a home design that could allow a “one with nature” feel without the mildew.
If ever there were a feature in a home that was as appealing and dramatic as one of Wright’s designs, it would definitely be this one. Its design, by all means, contributes to being one with the water. There are ways as exhibited in this photograph to bring water into the home in a stylish, natural manner. This addition appeals to all the senses and contributes to a calm and relaxed state of mind. The fact that the inside pool is mirroring the outside pool makes this a stunning addition. The most unusual aspect of this installation is that the pool can be used as a soaking tub, and the outside can be reached by tunneling under the window frame. The giant window may be opened to the outside with no impediment to enjoying the fresh outdoor air.
Stay tuned for the second half of our feature on Frank Lloyd Wright and integrated water features.