Click for slightly larger photo
[Fallingwater west tower, 3 stories of glass; eaves create dramatic horizontal lines]
The west tower, 3 stories of glass; eaves create dramatic horizontal lines.
This photo was taken from the southwest corner of the largest terrace, the one right above the living room that opens out from the master bedroom. Bold eaves visible in this photo, as well as window treatments and long terraces, create dramatic horizontal lines throughout the house. The soaring vertical tower rises more than three stories, windows stretching from floor to ceiling, creating a continuous column of glass, broken only by narrow steel support beams, painted an earthy brick-red. The tower serves as a visual and literal anchor for the cantilevered floors and the terraces that extend them further. While the vertical and horizontal lines demarcate the geometry of the house and its boundaries, there is at the same time an interpenetration of vertical and horizontal, and of inside and outside. The windows in the tower, even when closed, suggest relatively little barrier between inside and outside, but they also can be opened at the vertical "corner" where normally a support beam would be, creating an unexpected but pleasing empty space that joins inside and outside, liberated from a boxed-in structure one might expect from architecture involving so many vertical and horizontal faces. If you look closely, you can see this: two pairs of windows are open near the top of the second story, and the vertical corner post disappears! Window corner treatments throughout the house (and guest house), which suggest little barrier between inside and outside, are yet another reminder that Frank Lloyd Wright found creative ways to go escape the box and reconnect with nature. For other examples of harmonization of vertical and horizontal, and of inside and outside, see the explanation under the beautiful fall photo of Fallingwater.
Photo by Dennis Adams, Federal Highway Administration.
Click here or on photo for a larger (512x768 pixel, 442k) version.

Wright used only a few elements throughout the house, so that a sense of familiarity soon reassures whoever visits or inhabits it. However, Wright was never content with consistency; he structured the whole western tower block using mutations of his themes. Supported on three sides by stone walls, the floor slabs of this portion of the house do not have parapets. On the contrary they are beveled to meet, but not pierce, the glazing membrane that here - and only here at Fallingwater - becomes a vertical curtain three stories high. This sheer expanse of glass and steel is not treated as a flat facade, but is stepped forward in accord with the angled character of the house. Extending westward from this block is a cantilevered terrace not level with the floor slabs to the east, making clear that the tower interrupts the continuity of the reinforced slab system. The special treatment of the west end of the house is balanced to the east by another mutation: the concrete slabs repeatedly slotted to form the trellis areas over the driveway and the living room.

- Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., Fallingwater: A Frank Lloyd Wright Country House, p. 110.

If you enjoy this site, please make a donation to support its development:

[LAST]        [NEXT]

Go to the Fallingwater pictures (photos thumbnail preview) page.

Go to a descriptive list (table of contents including medium and large photos).