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05 September 2011


Note: This post is recycled. It was part of an assignment for my last art appreciation class.



Frank Lloyd Wright is one of America’s most eminent architects. What he lacked in engineering skills, he made up for with his creative designs.

Fallingwater is one of the most beautiful of his designs, created for the Kaufmann Family in 1936. It is an amazing example of cantilevered construction and organic architecture, with levels hanging 14.5 feet over a waterfall in the woods of Pennsylvania known as Bear Run Nature Preserve. (Western Pennsylvania Conservancy)

A cantilever is a protruding beam that is attached at one end and free at the other.

A grid of beams and joists is the supporting structure for the weight of the house. The first floor cantilever is supported by four bolsters. One of these was built of stone masonry, with the other three being formed with concrete. Wright did not agree to the suggestion by engineers to increase the size of the stone footings that supported the concrete bolsters. Although this would have offered better support for the structure, and perhaps prevented millions of dollars in repair work later, it would interfere with the aesthetics of the scene. (Western Pennsylvania Conservancy)

It was a matter of beauty over brawn and, in this case, beauty initially won. Ultimately, nature took its course and the engineers were proven right in their assessments.

Wright used a closed palette of only two colors – light ochre and Cherokee red, his autograph – and wanted his creations to blend with their environments, not compete with them. (Western Pennsylvania Conservancy)

Click here to read more and see a media presentation about Fallingwater. http://www.fallingwater.org/

Works Cited

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Fallingwater. 2011. 9 August 2011 http://www.fallingwater.org/.

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