Pennsylvania Museum Showcases Frank Lloyd Wright’s Masterpiece, Fallingwater

Seeing Fallingwater – Celebrating Pennsylvania’s Architectural MasterpieceImage via The State Museum of Pennsylvania

HARRISBURG, PAThe State Museum of Pennsylvania is celebrating one of the state’s architectural jewels with a special exhibit titled “Seeing Fallingwater – Celebrating Pennsylvania’s Architectural Masterpiece.” This exhibit honors Fallingwater, the iconic house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935 for Edgar J. Kaufmann, a Pittsburgh department store magnate.

A Landmark Anniversary

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Fallingwater’s inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. Additionally, in 2019, UNESCO designated Fallingwater as a World Heritage Site, recognizing its global cultural significance.

Exhibit Highlights

The centerpiece of the exhibit is an architectural model of Fallingwater, commissioned in 1984 for the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) and currently on loan to The State Museum. This model, crafted by renowned model maker Paul Bonfilio, will be displayed through January 5, 2025, in Brockerhoff Hall on the first floor of the museum.

The model illustrates key features of Fallingwater’s design and construction, especially its unique placement over a waterfall on Bear Run in Mill Run, Fayette County. Fallingwater epitomizes Wright’s concept of “organic architecture,” aiming to create buildings that harmonize with their natural surroundings. This scale model helps viewers appreciate how the house integrates with the landscape, highlighting Wright’s belief that Fallingwater could only exist in Pennsylvania.

Wright’s Legacy

Completed in 1938, Fallingwater propelled Frank Lloyd Wright to international fame. Wright remains one of the most influential architects in modern history. His work at Fallingwater is often cited as a pinnacle of his career, demonstrating his innovative approach to blending architecture with nature.

In 1963, Edgar Kaufmann Jr. donated Fallingwater to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, which now manages the site. The house continues to draw visitors from around the world, inspiring architects and enthusiasts alike.

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Additional Features

Alongside MOMA’s model, the exhibit includes a computer animation of Fallingwater by Spanish film director and 3-D animator Cristobal Vila. Graphic panels provide historical context and explore how Fallingwater continues to inspire visitors.

Exploring Fallingwater: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Architectural Marvel

Fallingwater showcases Pennsylvania’s rich architectural heritage and highlights the state’s role in the history of modern architecture. The exhibit provides a deeper understanding of Wright’s vision and his innovative approach to design, emphasizing the importance of preserving and honoring architectural masterpieces.

In summary, “Seeing Fallingwater – Celebrating Pennsylvania’s Architectural Masterpiece” at the State Museum of Pennsylvania offers a comprehensive look at Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic creation. The exhibit not only celebrates a landmark anniversary but also educates the public on the significance of this architectural wonder. Visitors are invited to explore the connections between architecture and the environment, gaining insight into Wright’s enduring legacy in the world of design.

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