Fallingwater is one of the most iconic and shining examples of early 20th century American experimental architecture. Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1937, the compound was originally imagined as a respite for Edgar Kaufman and his family to leave behind the city and their empire as one of the Macy’s esque moguls, and instead invite the natural environment in and embrace it through their home with their family. The house cantilevers over an incredible natural waterfall, and steps lead from the living room, intended to invite a small group of friends and family to frolic in and interact with the beautiful natural settings.
After half a century of praise, the structure is now toured by more than 100K visitors per year, and impact never intended by it’s original design. As a result, the added stresses required a restoration and reinforcement to meet it’s modern demands.
In the early 80’s the principal of VESTIGE, Kevin, at a young age traveled to this defining piece of architecture. At only 7 years old, the director of the conservancy charged with protecting Fallingwater took note of this peculiarly inquisitive youth and his photographing and drawing of the fireplace, and the details of frameless corner window.
Fast forwarding 2+ decades, when it came time for the restoration and restructuring, the firm of WASA in NYC was selected, and the director called upon Kevin to be part of the process. Leading a team of students, Kevin and the other’s spent the summer documenting the structure in great detail in preparation for the work to be done. Then entire structure was gridded into 2’ x 2’ modules, and documented by Kevin and the team of students. Each stone was catalogued such that if they needed to be disturbed during the restoration process, they were numbered and drawn to scale, to be able to be re-inserted, and checked for any damage after the work was complete. The intimate depiction of the structure in all dimensions was an invaluable educational experience.
The structure has since remained stable for over a decade post restoration and continues to delight visitors with it’s illustrations of progressive early 20th century architecture.