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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Frank Lloyd Wright's "Fallingwater".........and a few old Vincent's.

I was on my way back from New York City toward Shanksville PA after photographing the 9/11 Memorial in NYC,to spend the night in Somerset  and the next day go to photograph "Fallingwater",one of Frank Lloyd Wright's most famous designs,if not the most illustrious of his career.I left NYC early to see if I could stay ahead of the seemingly endless dark gray clouds,but alas,my plan failed miserably.The whole ride over to Somerset it rained,all 270 miles of it.........hard.
I had more rain in that one day of riding than i've had in the last year of riding.Everything got soaked,even the "Waterproof" stuff,gear,tools,feet,hands,everything.I had to stop every 50 miles or so to re-Rain-X my helmet visors it was so bad.
This was the Twister that touched down upon my arrival in Somerset PA,after riding all day from NYC.It didn't last long,i've never been this close to a twister before.Noisy,like a freight train rushing by.
So I caved in to my wet and soggy predicament and got a motel for the night,a rarity for me,as camping is my preferred means of accomodation.Camping is cheaper,simpler and you can stay wherever the hell you want.

But on this wet night,I needed to dry out........
...the heater was on "High" all night long.


Even my tools that were in a "waterproof" bag didn't escape.

So the next morning I made my way to a house I had only read and fantasized about many years ago in a book,thinking what an incredible place to be able to live in,but between one thing and another it slipped my mind to go and visit as I traversed from one side of the country to another.  

On the drive down to Fallingwater I ride into the carpark and find a bunch of old motorcycles leaving oil stains all over the asphalt......
BUT,they weren't any old motorcycles,they were old Vincent's......lot's of 'em,and all in one spot too.Oooooh,I nearly fell of the bike looking at them.

Anyway,all these tasty Vinnies and more will be in the next post here on the blog.....

But not today.......
The cantilevered balconies of Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater.

To build today what the Kaufmann family hired architect Frank Lloyd Wright to build back in 1935 would be impossible,mainly due to code restrictions.Fortunately for the Kaufmanns and the leigon of Frank Lloyd Wright followers that come to see this American Architectural Masterpiece today,those codes were not as restrictive back then.
In November 1934,Wright visited Bear Run and asked for a survey of the area around the waterfall.

It took nine months for his ideas to crystallize into a design,and just in time for a visit by Edgar Kaufmann to Taliesin,and it was at that meeting that Edgar Kaufmann found out that Wright intended to build the home on top of the falls rather than below them to afford a view of the cascades as he had expected.

Since it appeared on the cover of TIME magazine in 1938,Fallingwater was the house that captivated a nation.It was hailed as Wright's "most beautiful job" and is listed among Smithsonian's Life List of 28 Places to visit before you die.
Fallingwater,a series of seemingly free-floating platforms precariously perched 30ft over a waterfall and anchored into the rock itself,has to be seen to really and truly appreciate it's beauty.I've owned Frank Lloyd Wright architectural books for many years and have seen other photographers images of Fallingwater,but actually being there and being able to take my own photographs was something I never thought I would be able to do.

Everything about this beautiful house that I have read about was true.It seems to blend in in every way with the nature that surrounds it,in color and form.Wright's passion for Japanese architecture was strongly reflected in the design of Fallingwater,particularly in the importance of interpenetrating exterior and interior spaces and the strong emphasis placed on harmony between man and nature.



Here,a stairway leads down from the cantilevered living room directly to the stream below.

When viewed from inside,the windows have a seamless appearance,and where glass meets stone walls there is no metal frame,the glass and it's horizontal dividers were run into a caulked recess in the stonework so that the stone walls appear uninterrupted by glazing.
Genius.





The extent of Wright's genius in the design of Fallingwater can only be hinted at in photographs,especially mine,since no flash photography was allowed,I had my work cut out for me here on this one.
You need to go to see this house in person,many people go two or three times a year to see it in it's different seasonal colors.
The construction was also plagued with conflicts between Wright,Kaufmann,and the construction contractor.
For some related interesting background,much of Ayn Rands book The Fountainhead was based on Wright and was dedicated to her husband Frank O'Conner and to architecture.

There is much left out of this post because it would take too long to cover the full story of either Fallingwater,Frank Lloyd Wright or the Kaufmann's.The included links are well worth researching,and Fallingwater is well worth a visit,at least once in your lifetime.


Meanwhile,next on wherethehellismurph.com is my happen-chance meeting of the 2011 VOC International Rally,this year held in the U.S.




So until next time......


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