Fallingwater is the most famous modern house in America. Indeed, readers of the Journal of the American Institute of Architects voted it the best American building of the last 125 years! Annually, more than 128,000 visitors seek out Fallingwater in its remote mountain site in southwestern Pennsylvania. Considered Frank Lloyd Wright's domestic masterpiece, the house is recognized worldwide as the paradigm of organic architecture, where a building becomes an integral part of its natural setting.
This charming and provocative book is the work of the man best qualified to undertake it, who was both apprentice to Wright and son of the man who commissioned the house. Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., closely followed the planning and construction of Fallingwater, and lived in the house on weekends and vacations for twenty-seven years-until, following the deaths of his parents, he gave the house in 1963 to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy to hold for public enjoyment and appreciation.
This is a personal, almost intimate record of one man's fifty-year relationship to a work of genius that only gradually revealed its complexities and originality. With full appreciation of the intentions of both architect and client, Mr. Kaufmann described this remarkable building in detail, telling of its extraordinary virtues but not failing to reveal its faults. One section of the book focuses on the realities of Fallingwater as architecture. A famous building right from its beginnings (only partly because it was Wright's first significant commission in more than a decade), Fallingwater has accumulated considerable publicity and analysis-much of it off the mark. Mr. Kaufmann outlined and dealt with the common misunderstandings that have obscured the building's true values and supplied accurate information and interpretations. In another section Mr. Kaufmann provided an in-depth essay on the subtleties of Fallingwater, the ideology underlying its esthetics. A key element of this is the close interweaving of the house and its rugged, challenging setting, which he explicated in fascinating detail.
The author maintained throughout the direct approach of one who knew and loved Fallingwater. As an apprentice and loyal admirer of the architect, Mr. Kaufmann was well attuned to the architecture. And as a retired professor of architectural history and frequent lecturer and panelist, he had considerable experience in presenting and interpreting Wright's ideas. Thoroughly versed in the books, articles, drawings, and buildings of Frank Lloyd Wright, Mr. Kaufmann was eminently situated to place Fallingwater in that context. This unique record was presented in celebration of Fallingwater's fiftieth anniversary.
Special features of this volume include: numerous never-before published photographs of the house under construction, during its entire history, and of the family in residence; a room-by-room pictorial survey in full color taken especially for this volume; isometric architectural perspectives that explain visually how the house was constructed; and the first accurate, measured plans of the house as built.
Edgar J. Kaufmann, Jr. (1910-1989), entered Frank Lloyd Wrights Taliesin Fellowship in 1934. During Fallingwaters design and construction, he often served as intermediary between his parents and Wright. Subsequently, Mr. Kaufmann joined the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, became editorial adviser to Encyclopaedia Britannica, and taught at Columbia University. Mr. Kaufmann was the author, editor, or contributor to several design and architecture books and wrote numerous articles. He served on the Editorial Board of the Architectural History Foundation.