A split-level house on 60 acres of land donated to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy by Mrs. Robert Kirkpatrick in the 1960s today serves as home for participants in Fallingwater Institute’s programs in architecture, art and design. This house, named High Meadow, offers sweeping views of the vast meadow and Chestnut Ridge in Fayette County, and sits between the forest and meadow.
For more than 20 years, Fallingwater has sponsored onsite residency programs for students in high school, college and graduate school as well as teachers, lifelong learners and artists-in-residence. The lack of lodging and gathering spaces have been a continuous challenge and inhibited the growth of the onsite programs. High Meadow, which serves as the main residence for participants, was not large enough to meet the program demands. So, it was decided to expand lodging to help accommodate the vision for expanded educational programing.
After exploring other options over a period of years beginning in 2009, Fallingwater decided to expand the footprint of High Meadow to double the sleeping capacity and create a central gathering space close to all lodging rooms, dining areas and the kitchen. Architect Peter Bohlin of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson was selected for the reimagined project.
In June 2016, the building expansion was completed and features four new sleeping units that contain two twin beds, a small desk, closet storage and a full bathroom. The screened porch, with vaulted ceiling, is connected to the new sleeping units by a walkway of wood slatted walls made of Norway spruce, harvested in 2014 onsite during site preparation for the new maintenance facility.
High Meadow was immediately put to good use for Fallingwater Institute courses. The first programs were held in July 2016, beginning with a weeklong architecture residency for high school teachers, followed by two weeklong residencies for high school students. Insight/Onsite, a three-day intensive Fallingwater experience for lifelong learners, took place in September 2016. The Fallingwater Institute’s onsite educational programming already has artist and scholar residencies and convenings scheduled for the spring 2017.
Staying true to the Conservancy’s mission to foster an appreciation of the natural world, High Meadow complements its rural setting in both form and function, providing students of all ages the opportunity to learn and be inspired.
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is grateful to the many generous donors and supporters who made the expansion of High Meadow possible as a venue to welcome top thinkers, artists, educators and scholars to Fallingwater.