Now on the UNESCO World Heritage List
Fallingwater, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is hailed internationally as a masterpiece of 20th century architecture. Fallingwater was also named the “best all-time work of American architecture” in a poll of members of the American Institute of Architects. Designed in 1935 by renowned American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Fallingwater is one of Wright’s most widely acclaimed works and best exemplifies his philosophy of organic architecture: the harmonious union of art and nature. Since 1963, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has owned and preserved Fallingwater so that the public can tour, experience and be inspired by this example of American architecture and history.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site
Fallingwater was one of eight Frank Lloyd Wright-designed sites inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List on July 10, 2019.
Entrusted to WPC in 1963
Fallingwater was donated and entrusted to the Conservancy in 1963 as a gift to be shared with the world.
The Conservancy owns, stewards and preserves Fallingwater, the internationally acclaimed house designed in 1935 by world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Wright designed Fallingwater for Pittsburgh’s Kaufmann Department Store Owner Edgar J. Kaufmann, his wife Liliane, and their son Edgar jr.
Fallingwater is located in the mountains of Southwestern Pennsylvania, also known as the Laurel Highlands, in Mill Run, Pa. in Fayette County – about 70 miles east of Pittsburgh. Wright designed Fallingwater to rise above the waterfall over which it is built. Completed with a guest house and service wing in 1939, Fallingwater was constructed by local craftsmen from Fayette County using native sandstone and other materials quarried from the property.
Lovers of the outdoors and nature, the Kaufmann family used the house as a weekend retreat for decades. Years after the death of his parents, Edgar Kaufmann, jr entrusted Fallingwater, and the surrounding 1,700 acres, to the care of the Conservancy in 1963 to preserve the house and share it with people locally and from across the globe. One year later in 1964, Fallingwater opened to the public as a museum and welcomed its first visitors.
Today, people from around the world have visited and experienced Fallingwater and its surrounding landscape. Fallingwater is designated as a National Historic Landmark and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Treasure. The house was also named the “best all-time work of American architecture” in a poll of members of the American Institute of Architects. Travel+Leisure Magazine stated that Fallingwater is "one of the 12 landmarks that will change the way you see the world."
The Conservancy continues its award-winning and ongoing preservation efforts at Fallingwater, and takes pride in the wide variety of educational programs and opportunities available to students, teachers, artists and adult learners through the Fallingwater Institute. One way the public can experience Fallingwater is through an hour-long guided house tour. These tours are offered daily – except Wednesdays from March through December.
In keeping with Wright’s philosophy of organic architecture and people living in harmony with nature, the Conservancy strives to carry on the legacy of Fallingwater as the Kaufmann family and Wright would have intended.
Why It Matters
When Edgar Kaufmann jr. entrusted Fallingwater and the more than 1,700 acres surrounding it to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in 1963, he envisioned Fallingwater not only as a place where visitors would come to experience great architecture, but also where a deeper experience of art and nature might occur.
Kaufmann imagined that Fallingwater could become a place where scholars, students and artists might come to find inspiration from the building and its landscape while pursuing individual or group study. Today, the Fallingwater Institute honors Kaufmann’s vision by providing a stimulating setting for learning and collaborating for individuals interested in classes, workshops and residencies at Fallingwater.
The Fallingwater Institute offers high school and college residency programs where students can learn more about planning, design or architecture, build design or architectural skills for college admissions or seek intensive study in these areas.
Through the institute, we also offer a residency program for teachers and museum educators to help with the creation of lesson plans that emphasize problem solving through architecture and design. Artists and scholars can be inspired by living, studying and working at Fallingwater while finishing works-in-progress or beginning a new body of work.
On July 10, 2019, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee inscribed Fallingwater and seven other Frank Lloyd Wright-designed sites to the UNESCO World Heritage List at a meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan. The inscription, The 20th-Century Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright, to the UNESCO World Heritage List represents the first modern architecture designations in the United States. There are more than 1,000 World Heritage sites around the world, and the group of Wright sites is now among only 24 sites in the U.S. Fallingwater is one of only two Pennsylvania World Heritage sites, joining Independence Hall in Philadelphia.
- Need a meeting or conference space? Consider the Barn and Fallingwater.
- Submit your application for one of our Fallingwater Institute programs.
Throughout the year, there are always ways you can get involved to preserve and support Fallingwater for future generations. Your support and involvement will make a difference.
- Volunteers are always welcome to help care for and preserve Fallingwater.
- Buy the Fallingwater or Wright fan in your life a great gift at the Museum Store.
- View the Fallingwater Cam.
- Join the conversation with Fallingwater on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
- Help preserve Fallingwater and become a Friends of Fallingwater member.
Volunteer opportunities provide rich experiences and learning opportunities for people of any age. Fallingwater volunteers are asked to commit to a minimum of two days per month from May through October.