Wednesday 9 July 2008


A few months ago I was reading one of those "things to see before you die" lists in a magazine, and was astounded to find that there was some house in Pennsylvania (of all places) that made it into the top 20, alongside others entries like the Grand Canyon and the Pyramids!

Turns out this is no ordinary house, it is Frank Lloyd Wright's masterpiece plonked on top of a beautiful waterfall in Bear Run, Pennsylvania. It was completed in 1939, and is composed of a number of cantilevered concrete slabs that hang out over the waterfall, held in place by piles of local rough-cut stone, all perched on top of a waterfall with no foundations. As our guide said, there will never be another house built like this in the US because there is no way you could get the planning permissions!

The tour was excellent, and we learned of many FLW innovations that put him ahead of his time. My favourite feature was how he built around a number of large boulders, incorporating one as the floor of the fireplace, and another that has hillside water seeping over it and into a hidden drain that passes under the house. Definitely worth the trip!

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