Bear Run, better known as ‘Falling Water’ is probably one of the most influential architectural designs ever made in History until this day. Although it had to take lots of critique and they (especially the engineers) had a lot of doubts whether or not it would remain standing after removing the scaffolds it became, which for me describes, embodies ‘the perfect balance’ of humanity and nature. Humanity placed back into it’s natural habitat.
Falling water, is a project which the infamous american architect Frank Lloyd Wright ,belonging to it’s latest period, that was built in the forests of Bear Run (Pennsylvania) in commission of Edgar J. Kauffman. The project started in 1936 and took him 3 years to finish (1939).
What’s so remarkable about the architecture that Frank Lloyd Wirght created is the way he built it. He called his architecture; “Organic Architecture”; which is an architecture that develops itself from the inside to the outside in harmony with the conditions of it’s own existence. This is also called contextualism
“So here I stand before you preaching organic architecture: declaring organic architecture to be the modern ideal and the teaching so much needed if we are to see the whole of life, and to now serve the whole of life, holding no traditions essential to the great TRADITION. Nor cherishing any preconceived form fixing upon us either past, present or future, but instead exalting the simple laws of common sense or of super-sense if you prefer determining form by way of the nature of materials…” – Frank Lloyd Wright
I’ll illustrate this philosophical context with examples related to “falling water”, i’ll discuss, interior, exterior and the plan.
What I believe is truly remarkable and intriguing about this project is it’s placement according to the natural environment around it. When Wright first saw the place he was touched by the sound of the falling water, the dramatic scene that the rocks created. The intimacy the surrounding forest created… Wright did not built this in nature, but his building organically arrises in it’s environment. He builds according to the environment. How can we notice this?
First of all when we take a closer look at the site we can notice that there are 2 motions in place; a vertical and a horizontal. The vertical walls are completely built out of natural stones (according to the environment). As you might notice; it seems as if the rocks beneath the building seem to repeat themselves in the vertical walls, it seems like it’s fully integrated it’s almost made out of one part; the building seems to arise out of the rockeries. The vertical walls could also relate to the surrounding trees.
Now if we look at it’s terraces in concrete we can see how this relates to the flat surface of the water, the waterfall, it almost seems as if the waterfall begins at top of the building. It seems to embrace nature. (All of these aspects are beautifully illustrated in the drawing above)
When we take a closer look at the interior we notice a same allusion to it’s natural surroundings: again he uses natural stone, what’s very remarkable is the fact that he truly implemented the rockeries by building around them (you can see them sticking out at the fire place, which always has a central position in house and is very important in his architecture). Even the floor is made out of stone, so as you can see he really tries to make a band with nature.
It’s as if this house has an certain intimacy (created by the surrounding forest, and the cave like structure which ‘protects’ humanity against the brut forces of nature; again he sees humanity as ‘people of nature’, the isolation, only reachable by a bridge..), but also a social aspect: by using these huge windows that outlook the forest it creates a certain bond, a social contact with nature.
Also when you would take a look at the floor plan of the house you would notice that is embodies the same seiche motions as the water. (I did not implement a picture of this because i did not manage to find a good one).
- Interior: http://www2.math.umd.edu/~dgulick//WorldCourses/WRLD125/ARCH/FallingWater.html
- Exterior: http://www.google.be/imgres?q=falling+water+exterior&um=1&hl=nl&client=safari&sa=X&rls=en&biw=1024&bih=674&tbs=isz:l&tbm=isch&tbnid=sX9ink-LcgbvbM:&imgrefurl=http://decoratingflair.com/fallingwater.htm&docid=XYjduR0NRTLZDM&imgurl=http://decoratingflair.com/images/FullSize4Galleries/Res_Falling%252520Water%252520Pic.jpg&w=2333&h=2023&ei=YKuXT5KuH8ea-wbEqYD0Bg&zoom=1&iact=hc&vpx=744&vpy=44&dur=1240&hovh=209&hovw=241&tx=172&ty=149&sig=100782071690149067939&page=1&tbnh=142&tbnw=166&start=0&ndsp=15&ved=1t:429,r:4,s:0,i:74
- Drawing: http://www.google.be/imgres?imgurl=http://www.delmars.com/wright/falldraw.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.delmars.com/wright/flw8-8.htm&h=343&w=575&sz=50&tbnid=M5iUbzxjigEQlM:&tbnh=75&tbnw=126&prev=/search%3Fq%3Dfalling%2Bwater%2Bdrawing%26tbm%3Disch%26tbo%3Du&zoom=1&q=falling+water+drawing&docid=nPmDPpG9nt4RpM&sa=X&ei=RKuXT-mcOseV-wbHx6XJBg&ved=0CCoQ9QEwAQ&dur=186
- Scaffolds: http://www.abbeville.com/images-catalog/full-size/0896596621.interior03.jpg