Falling Waters by Frank Lloyd Wright

FALLING WATERS, one of Frank Lloyd Wright’s most widely acclaimed works, was designed in 1936 for the family of Pittsburgh department store owner Edgar J. Kaufmann

It is located on PA Route 381 between the villages of Mill Run and Ohiopyle, In Southwestern Pennsylvania, North America.

Frank Lloyd Wright (June 8, 1867 – April 9, 1959)


  • Significant Buildings 
    • Robie House
    • Falling Water
    • Johnson Wax Building
    • Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum
  • Significant Projects 
    • Florida Southern College

Edgar Kaufmann Sr. (1885-1955)

“I always feel that I am a better man after having spent hours with you and regret that our paths cross so seldom. “

– Edgar Kaufmann Sr. to Frank Lloyd Wright, 1939

Forest Type at Falling Water Appalachian – Oak Forest 

Trees Smaller Trees and Shrubs Plants and Ferns
White Oak Serviceberry Violet
Red Oak Mountain Laurel Hepatica
Black Oak Flowering Dogwood False Solomon’s Seal
Hickory Native Azaleas Fire Pink
Red Maple Witchhazel Common Stonecrop
Tulip Tree Blueberries Trailing Arbutus
Chestnut Oak Elder Wild Geranium
Sugar Maple Spicebush Teaberry
Maple-Leaved Viburnum Cut-Leaved Toothwart
Virginia Creeper
Large-Flowered Trillium

Forest Type at Falling Water Mesic Forest 

Trees Smaller Trees and Shrubs Plants and Ferns
Hemlock Striped Maple Clintonia
Black Birch Great Rhododendron Red Baneberry
Cucumber Magnolia Serviceberry Ferns
Tulip Tree Witchhazel Violets
Maples Wild Hydrangea Painted Trillium
Beech Red-berried Elder Merry Bells
Red Oaks Spice Bush Club Moss
Dogwood False Solomon’s Seal

Design Theory


It fits into the hillside and extends out over the falls as if it has always belonged there.

Site Analysis

“There in a beautiful forest was a solid, high rock ledge rising beside a waterfall, and the natural thing seemed to be to cantilever the house from that rock bank over the falling water…Mr. Kaufmann’s  loved the site where the house was built and liked to listen to the waterfall. and he lives intimately with the thing he loves.”

— Frank Lloyd Wright in an interview with Hugh Downs, 1954

Floor Analysis and Functional Distribution 

Although the house rises over 30′ above the falls, strong horizontal lines and low ceilings help maintain a sheltering effect. Almost as much floor space is taken up by outdoor terraces as indoor rooms.
Structural Elements
Visible through the driveway trellis is the stepped canopy which covers the walkway up to the guest house.
Material, Texture and Colour
The house would hover serenely over the water. Just uphill in a quarry on the property, native Pottsville sandstone was available to compliment the reinforced concrete Wright had in mind for the cantilevered floors. With these materials he needed glass, framed to give pattern and rhythm to the outlook; finally, the chosen trio of materials called for bright, warm coloring to offset the deep grays of the stone and visually inert concrete.
Exterior and Interior View of Falling Water

Reader Interactions

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