Fallingwater Restoration Update

August 2002

Fallingwater has reopened for our 2002 season following the successful structural strengthening of the main cantilever on the first level of the main house. The Living Room is now completely reinstalled, the temporary structures removed, and tours are now available on our regular schedule. (See Visiting Fallingwater for tour information).

With the major structural work complete, we are undertaking other discreet restoration projects that have been coordinated in such a way as not to dramatically impact public tours. All Fallingwater tours in 2002 will feature our continuing restoration, which includes the repair of Wright's famous stairs to the stream and the waterproofing of all flat roofs and terrace

In 2001, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy launched an $11.5 million restoration project to preserve this world-famous house and its equally important natural setting for all time. The restoration encompasses major structural repairs to Fallingwater, restoration of its wood furniture and steel sash windows and doors, waterproofing of its flat roofs and terraces, the construction of an on-site zero-discharge waste management system, and an ambitious landscaping plan to improve the visitor experience while protecting the Fallingwater property.

The structural repair to Fallingwater's deflecting main level was successfully completed in March 2002. Three of the four main beams, as well as several of the smaller east-west joists, were post-tensioned. If the beams and joists can be thought of as the bones of the building, the post-tensioning cables provide the extra muscle to give the house the strength to hold itself over the waterfall. Before stressing, cracks in the concrete were repaired and three badly cracked joists were recast. After post-tensioning, the house lifted .5" (as expected), historic cracks on the Master Bedroom Terrace were sealed, and the cantilever lifted off of the temporary shoring beneath it. The temporary shoring, also in place for the stairs to stream repair, will be removed later in 2002. [Click here to view a slide show of the structural repair.]

The Fallingwater Restoration Team includes:

  • Structural Engineer: Robert Silman Associates, New York, NY and Washington, D.C.
  • Post-Tensioning Consultant: Schupack Suarez Engineers, Inc., Norwalk, CT
  • Post-Tensioning Contractor: VStructural, LLC, Springfield, VA
  • Construction Manager: Dick Corporation, Pittsburgh PA

  • Architect: Wank Adams Slavin Associates, LLP, New York, NY
  • Architectural Contractor: J.L. Robinson, Inc., Pittsburgh, PA
  • Wood Conservator: Thom Gentle Consultants, North Adams, MA
  • Steel Sash Conservator: Seekircher Steel Window Repair, Scarsdale, NY
  • Landscape Architects: Andropogon Associates, LTD, Philadelphia, PA Marshall Tyler Rausch, LLC., Pittsburgh, PA
  • Buried Utilities Engineer and Construction Manager: CH2M Hill, Pittsburgh, PA and Herndon, VA
  • Buried Utilities Contractor: Target Drilling Inc, Jefferson Hills, PA
  • Wastewater Treatment and Reuse Engineer: CH2M Hill, Pittsburgh, PA and Herndon, VA.
  • Fallingwater Maintenance Staff

The Restoration of Fallingwater is made possible by the generous support of the following:

  • Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
  • A Save America's Treasure Grant as administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
  • and numerous foundations and individual donors

Fallingwater is closed as customary for the winter and will re-open for public tours in the spring of 2002. For more information or to schedule tours, call 724-329-8501.

  • Read current restoration updates
  • Read The Associated Press Report "Fixing Fallingwater." -->



    Summer 2002 Restoration

    View a Slide Show Presentation of the Restoration

    Fallingwater Home Page