Monday, October 26, 2009

Falling Water

The school was going, so I went a long to Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Water near Mill Run, PA. This is my second visit to the the home that was to Wright's career exactly what Xanadu wasn't to Gene Kelly's. No, this was Wright's Batman Begins, injecting new life into what everyone thought was a career that had seen its peak. But now Falling Water is on a list of 12 places that will change your life, 28 places to see before you die, and the top 50 places to blah blah blah. It even made my mother not begrudge the conservation society its "outrageous" entrance fee. And in that, it is one of a kind.

It's also beautiful, the home, and harmoniously built for its environment. My first visit to the house didn't leave me wondering about just how harmonious art deco right angles and geometric patterns were with the lines of nature. Where were the really organic lines of a Gaudi or a Ghery? In the rough hewn lines of the floor and wall stones, I suppose, but still, there was something that was making me buy less this, "harmony with nature" aesthetic it was selling. Though the spot on the wall where the water from a local spring seeped through the masonry, ran through a channel in the stone, then through a crack in the floor to continue to the river was fairly harmonious with its surroundings as were the beveled, mold-less windows that allowed outer walls to become inner and vice versa. The light and dark of the house echoing the light and dark spaces of the waterfall was a nice tough as well. And the family of lady bugs crawling on the cieling of the guest room. Nice touch, Wright. Very nice.

So, while I accepted less readily the "harmonious with nature" line they were peddling, due to its multitude of sharp lines, the house does integrate the setting--which is gorgeous--with its construction and abstracts, very successfully, the natural features of the land to achieve a home that really is a work of art and one which, just like it did 12 years ago when I first saw it, make me cry that I will never be able to live there. I try to comfort myself with the idea that it would be possible to live in an equally beautiful house.

But I doubt that's possible. Honestly.

Oh, and Dad, that's me at Falling Water in the fall. Eat your heart out.