"Nature's Contributions to Our Quality of Life"

A One-Room Schoolhouse for the 21st Century


Two architectural interns at Fallingwater have been offered the experience of a lifetime — to create plans that will return a century-old, one-room schoolhouse at Bear Run back to its original use. The Kaufmann family converted the building into a residence during the 1950s, and the Conservancy used it for offices and storage until the decision was made this past year to restore the school.

Ryan Horton and Kyle Hoff, both 21-year-old undergraduates at Miami University in Ohio, are giving the school new life by returning it to use as a functioning classroom.

As they developed restoration plans, Hoff said, he and Horton drew inspiration from the original schoolhouse as opposed to that other, more famous structure at Bear Run. “We’re trying to restore [the school] to how it was,” said Hoff. “We’re not trying to draw ideas from Fallingwater itself, but rather we’re preserving some of the context of Fallingwater.”

Horton and Hoff have been studying and working in collaboration with Fallingwater staff since the fall of 2008, and renovations based on their plans are expected to be complete this year. The project was made possible through a grant from the Double Eagle Foundation.

The schoolhouse will be used as a classroom that offers children and young adults more convenient opportunities to learn together withintern their peers as part of their visits to Fallingwater.

“Previously, children had to be shuttled by bus from Fallingwater to the Barn in order to regroup for classroom time, which can be difficult for the schools to orchestrate,” said Lynda Waggoner, director of Fallingwater and vice president of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. “This one-room schoolhouse will provide an accessible setting and an ideal context in which to discuss ideas about Fallingwater and Bear Run.”