Minimalism

Named Houses: Fallingwater

When I first approached one artwork, either a painting, a sculpture, a novel or a building, I try to don't read too much about her, just enough to put it in context. So I can look at her with my eyes and not limit myself to what others have decided that I should see.

In this way I will try to describe to you the sensations produced by the Kaufmann House, also known as the Cascade House or Fallingwater, by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

The house, designed and built between 1934 and 1939, is located in Bear Run, in the state of Pennsylvania, northeast of the United States. Is a lovely spot; a forest of deciduous trees around a stream and a small waterfall, hence the name. A space that remains virtually intact since it is accessed only in a pedestrian way.

The first time I saw the images of the house I felt two emotions quite opposite; lightness Y solidity. Then one becomes aware that that dichotomy is what governs much of the design.

The vertical elements are solid and compact, are anchored to the place, both for its shape and for the materials used, which are stones of the area. They are a link with nature, it is as if the house emerged from the rocks that support it.

On the other hand, the horizontal elements are light and fly over the waterfall in a structural and even geometric display. It is the hand of man, technology, a resounding way to mark his presence, but as with the Farnsworth House, arranged in such a delicate and harmonious way that it seems that it has always been there.

The overhangs are really amazing, it seems that at any moment they will collapse on the waterfall. There are many of anecdotes about its construction; rumors tell that the owner did not trust the calculations and sneaked extra steel, something that He didn't like it to the architect, but that in the end was crucial for the stability of the structure.

Inside the house is also reflected the importance that Wright attached to the relationship with the environment. The walls are not clad, but show all the strength of the masonry, and even part of the rocks on the ground emerge around the chimney.

As we move away from the stone core, human intervention becomes more apparent in pure geometric forms and the use of modern materials, to finally end up in nature thanks to the balconies and magnificent windows that make us feel part of the forest.

It is here where the spatial fluidity that, together with the relationship with the environment, is a constant in the work of the American architect, that ability to transport us from inside the house to the outside with gestures as delicate as a plane or a corner that disappears.

I will not go into the details of the distribution, but I do want to mention something that is very important to me; the tour. If you look, despite the fact that one arrives at the house watching the main facade, the access is produced by the rear facade, through the openings of that dense plot of stone walls, then the space is enlarged and shows the magnificent views, returning us to the starting point; the forest.

Finally, mention that Wright designed the furniture specifically for the place they were going to occupy in the house and although it is true that they do not retain that aura of “modernity” that they do have, for example, Le Corbusier furniture, it must be recognized that they are not only very well integrated but enhance spatial intentions of the architect.

See full gallery »Houses with name: Fallingwater (12 photos)

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