Fallingwater

Wright’s Original Rendering of Fallingwater

Even if you don’t know anything about architecture, you’ve probably heard the name of famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright.  If you know of Frank Lloyd Wright, then you’ve probably heard of his most famous built design, known as Fallingwater.

Located on PA route 381 in the Laurel Highlands area of southwest Pennsylvania (about 90 minutes from downtown Pittsburgh), Fallingwater is visited by some 160,000 visitors, annually, from around the globe.

The history of this home is filled with controversy and intrigue from it’s onset, particularly with the strained relationship between the architect and it’s owner, Edgar Kaufmann, Sr.  Not far along into the beginning of the construction process, which began in 1936, tensions heightened as Kaufmann raised questions of high concern over the structural integrity of the proposed design.  His concerns were not unfounded, and as we now know, as the cantilevered portions of the structure showed early signs of deflection (sagging) immediately after temporary bracing was removed.

Despite these structural issues, Wright’s design of Fallingwater was enjoyed by it’s original owner, and later by his son, until the early 1960’s.  At the time of construction, when the average brick home in America could be built for around $4,000, the final cost of Fallingwater, consisting of the main home,  guest home and worker’s quarters, came in at over $150,000, including the architect’s $8,000 fee (original budgeted amount for the project was $40,000).

View of Entrance

In 1995, a process began to save Fallingwater from eminent collapse.  A multi-million dollar structural repair ensued and was completed in 2002.  Today, this historical landmark rests, finally, structurally sound, eager to greet future generations of admirers.

The American Institute of Architects has put together an interactive webpage of the history of this landmark, from beginning to end, which I encourage you to view.

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Musical Wall

Original idea… original idea… hmmm… I’ve got it!  A wall that plays music when it rains!

Nope! It’s not an original idea. It’s already been done, and of course, the German’s thought of it! This is a wall in the Neustadt Kunsthofpassage, in the student district of Dresden, Germany.  I’m unsure of the designer of this project, but kudos to the gutter installer!


If you’re wondering what it actually sounds like (no it doesn’t play music in the literal sense) you can check out this video of it on YouTube.

Do-Ho Suh “Floor”

If you thought anything and everything that can be done to a floor surface has been done, look at this art installation, simply entitled “Floor” by Korean-born artist Do-Ho Suh.

Source: google.com via Alisa on Pinterest

For more of Do-Ho Suh’s work and to read an interview with him, visit designboom.com.

Polychromie Architecturale

What?  In English, please!

Polychromie Architecturale, or “multi-colored architecture” in my loose translation, is a color system developed by the late, great, modernist architect, icon LeCorbusier.

Originally developed for the Swiss wallpaper company, Salubra, in 1931, the color palette was assembled as a collection of 43 colors which LeCorbusier selected from his work (both architectural & painting).  The collection doesn’t end, though, with just random colors thrown into a book for amusement. Corbu intended this book be used as a tool for color selection, as he organized the tones into 12 sample cards, in a way that a slider could be used to isolate and combine sets of 3 to 5 colors to achieve many varied color palettes from the original 43 colors.  Each of the 12 sample cards featured a different chromatic atmosphere, intended to produce a particular spatial effect.

In 1959, he recreated a second color collection with 20 single colors assembled on a single swatch, reflecting his updated, and perhaps more mature views on color.

More than just a paint swatch book, Polychromie Architectural was a color theory book, as well, with insight from Corbu on the effects color has on our psyche.  For example, in the book, he forms three principles of color as it relates to the spectator’s physiological and psychological state.  He writes, “color modifies space; color classifies objects; and, color acts physiologically upon us and reacts strongly upon our sensitivities.”

Now, this may not seem like groundbreaking theory, but you must remember, this book was first published in 1931, before the human psyche had really been a mass topic of scientific conversation / exploration. With that in mind, you can begin to understand why LeCorbusier is viewed as such an innovator, especially for his time.

The books were first reprinted in 1997, quickly selling out, making them a sought after collector’s item. Birkhauser is currently publishing a revised edition by Arthur Rüegg, since 2006 (with the addition of a collection of 150 LeCorbusier sketches) which sells for around $400.  If you can get your hands on an one of the original releases, they are highly collectable and much sought after, some going for as much as $5,000!