I don’t often surf (move from one site to another) the Internet. But I did recently. And it started at the Smithsonian Magazine web site (highly recommended!) when I saw an article titled “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Most Beautiful Work.” The article begins like this:

“If the skyscraper (very tall building) is America’s most iconic* building, a small personal residence (home) in southwest Pennsylvania (a state near New York) might be its most ingenious (the result of clever thinking and new ideas).” That small residence is called Fallingwater, and it was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, one of America’s greatest architects (building designer).

Fallingwater was designed and built for Edgar Kaufmann, a wealthy American businessman, in the 1930s. Kaufmann wanted a mountain retreat (a quiet place; vacation home) near the waterfalls of Bear Run, Pennsylvania.

When Wright looked at the site (location) for the house, he told Kaufman, “I want you to live with the waterfall, not just look at it.” In a 1954 interview, Wright said, “There in a beautiful forest was a solid, high rock ledge (narrow surface sticking out from the mountain) rising beside a waterfall and the natural thing seemed to be to [extend] the house from that rock…over the falling water…. He [Kaufmann] loved the site where the house was built and liked to listen to the waterfall. So that was a prime (main) motive (reason) in the design. I think that you can hear the waterfall when you look at the design.”

Many people believe that Fallingwater is the perfect marriage (combination; mixture) of house and site. In the Smithsonian article, Eric Jaffe writes that the sound of the waterfall fills the house but is never too loud. A boulder (large rock) juts (extends) into the living room and becomes part of the fireplace. Windows open outward from the corners of the walls so they don’t hide the view of the mountain and waterfall. Most of the materials – the wood and stone, for example – come from the mountains and forests surrounding (around) the house.

One writer says that “you’ve never seen a building that fits with nature so tightly (closely; well)…. You’ve seen [Las] Vegas and Times Square [in New York], but you’ve never seen a building that’s in constant motion (constantly moving).”

A beautiful animated video by Spanish artist Cristóbal Vila illustrates (shows) what I’ve been writing about. In it, Fallingwater grows out of the ground in the forest surrounding the waterfall and becomes a very natural part of the landscape (an area of land). Be sure you take time to watch it.

If you’d like to learn more about Fallingwater, visit Cristobal’s web site or the Fallingwater web site, where you can find a set of plans (construction drawings) for the house.

*An icon is a person or thing that represents something else and reminds us of it. For example, The Statue of Liberty is an American icon: when people see it, it reminds them of the U.S. The writer is saying that skyscrapers, which were first built in the U.S. in the 1800s, have that same quality. That may be less true today because now there are skyscrapers in many countries.

~ Warren Ediger – creator of Successful English where you’ll find ideas to help you Fine-tune your reading for better English.

Fallingwater photo courtesy of Wikipedia commons.


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9 Responses to Fallingwater

  1. Dan says:


    Sure! nice house, well designed, maybe well bilt I do not know.

    Sorry, but I do not see things as the “fat cat” and the architect saw.

    I mean, there is a beautiful forest with a waterfall, and the most natural thing is, to bild a house on it!?. I do not get it.

    As I see things, the most natural thing to do is to leave it as it is.

    OOOOH, I am moved to tears, the Billionaire wanted a mountain retreat. Please..please..

    Could please someone explain to me what does it mean when a bilding is “costant motion”

    Thanks! Bye.

  2. Peter says:

    Hi Warren,
    Nice article ,
    But ,you lost me passed the first line . what is your point?

    I didn’t get it. I mean the building is belnded in with the water fall and everything.

    But,I didn’t get what part we are supposed to comment on.

    Dude,I m baffled.

  3. Peter says:

    Seriously dude,
    I like thd magazine
    I had a virtual Yorker to the whole thing. Very comeegensuce and well-written.
    It is what I really needed

    I really appriciate you introducing the magazine to us.

    Now,I have some reading materials everyday. It helps me widen my horizon and more importantly extend my vocabulary.
    U know , I love to have an extensive vocabulary.
    When it comes to Enhlish language , the more words you know , the better off you are.

    I gotta tell u , at the first glance I didn’t pick up on the point of the post.



  4. sara says:

    Thanks Dear Warren ,It was amazingly beautiful.

  5. Dan says:


    Just watched a video on youtube about this house, I was curious to see the whole thing

    I more convinced than my previous comment that that house should not have been built, and it is ugliest that I thought.

    And if that was not enough they also built a parking lot there. Just saw it with Google Earth.

    Thanks Mr. Warren.

  6. Nicodemos says:

    I have a small piece of land where I want to build my house and I always surf the net looking for designs, and then…. it’s over here an amazing and wonderful project. Although large enough to me (to my still empty place) I’m taking great ideas to complement what i really want to do.
    Congratulations Dr. Jeff, and, please… keep surfing the net. hehehe

  7. kurumi says:

    Hi,I enjoyed reading this article,and watched a video on youtube too.Well,I actually live close to a waterfall,so I listen to the sound of water everyday.Unfortunatelly,my house is not as gorgeous as this one at all.But I like living here very much.As for wright’s work,I had thought that a perfect marriage of house and site was what Japanese traditional architects were good at,but his work surprised me.Amazing job! Only one thing that makes me curious is,I mean, during rainy season ,it seems too dangerous to be in that house.Honestly,my family gets prepared to retreat when the river looks frightening.Climates differ?It may be a stupid question compared with the beauty of Falling water.Living in the beauty of the nature is a sheer luxury I think.

  8. Rafael Oliveira says:

    I liked só much the computer graphic art and i am think about what can we do…
    Thanks for these oportunit to know this wonderful human art.
    Rafael from Brasil

  9. lilian says:

    thats why we can say life is for the rich,providing thah i had enohgh money i would buy sth like it first ,Lbut no money:)
    i really enjoyed it ,thx

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