|Fallingwater: The "front" door.|
The front door is rather small, a bit hidden, and in an unassuming corner of the house. Some would be surprised at its location, at the opposite corner of the house from the famous view from downstream, but others would recognize this unpretentious choice as an aspect of Frank Lloyd Wright's "natural" and "organic" emphasis in his architecture. Many expensive country houses would have a large front door (or double door), most likely the focus of a grand facade.
This door is recessed and protected rather than ostentatious and showy, tucked away at the end of a short passageway that joins the driveway once the turn is made after crossing the bridge over the stream. The driveway trellis begins here, but a short distance further, at the trellis's far end, you feel as though you're at the back of the house, near the cantilever anchors (the driveway trellis is visible in that photo from a reverse angle). So is the front door at the back corner?
Once inside, the front door also seems to be in an unassuming location, not near the featured hatchway and stairs down to the stream, or the focal point within the room of the hearth and fireplace (right foreground in that photo), and opposite from the grand views downstream from the terrace over the falls or from the window over the seating area in the living room (on the left in that photo).
Original photo, taken by the webmaster.|
Click here or on photo for much larger (1536x1024 pixel, 541k) version.
More years passed until I began to consider how unconventional a country house Fallingwater really is. A regular country house on ample acres would have a standard program in which outbuildings edge the approach, then a gateway announces the private domain (with implications of guards and challenges, a checkpoint) and in due course one reaches the entrance front, emphatically centered on the main door. On one hand lie hospitable facilities, on the other, work areas of all sorts. Unseen but promised is a garden front, more open and relaxed than the approach facade. Wright sidestepped this whole program - or did he?
- Edgar Kaufmann, Jr., Fallingwater: A Frank Lloyd Wright Country House, pp. 172-3.
If you enjoy this site, please make a donation to support its development: