Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

Welcoming the World to Fallingwater

Fallingwater has been open to the public as a Western Pennsylvania Conservancy property since 1963. In 2010, Fallingwater was host to more than 160,000 visitors who came from Western Pennsylvania and around the world to experience the Frank Lloyd Wright masterwork firsthand.

In advance of Fallingwater's 75th anniversary in 2011, the Conservancy accomplished preservation goals to ensure that the house may continue to inspire future generations about living in harmony with nature.

Fallingwater Twilight Tour
Fallingwater Twilight Tour

The Conservancy completed the first phase of a plan to replace all of Fallingwater's window glass. This preservation project is critical to prevent further ultraviolet damage to the house and collections caused by the current aging, delaminating window glass. More information about this project, which is funded by donors to the Fallingwater Window Legacy Fund, is available at WaterLandLife.org and Fallingwater.org.

Fallingwater's exterior was repainted - using environmentally friendly, zero-VOC PPG paint - in its signature, light ocher color.

WPC also began reconstruction of Fallingwater's parking lots and roadways to enable the site to safely host the larger numbers of annual visitors that are now typical. This environmentally sensitive redesign project also improves accessibility for individuals with disabilities.

Fallingwater’s Insight Onsite program
Fallingwater's Insight OnSite program

Fallingwater was given to the Conservancy by Edgar Kaufmann jr. with the intent that it should be shared with the public and become a center for thought and learning about art, architecture and the natural world. The Conservancy worked during 2010 to advance this mission, developing and expanding programs that share Fallingwater and Wright's philosophy of organic architecture with people of all ages and backgrounds.

WPC launched a unique educational program in 2010 for lifelong learners called Insight OnSite. This intensive, three-day program provides a one-of-kind experience of Fallingwater; participants have the opportunity to explore the house, its history and its stunning setting - Bear Run Nature Reserve - with Fallingwater's senior guides, curators and director.

Several educational residency programs enabled high school students and teachers to learn about art, architecture, ecology and math at Fallingwater and Bear Run Nature Reserve. These programs provided educators with ideas to apply in the classroom, and they equipped students with learning experiences that have in the past been known to result in advanced study and even careers in architecture and related fields.

Restored Bear Run School
Restored Bear Run School

Local students in grades 3 - 12 also learned about Fallingwater through the Wright in Our Backyard program. Nearly 2,400 students from nearby Fayette, Somerset, Butler, Washington, Greene and Westmoreland counties participated in the program's hands-on lessons about nature, architecture, engineering and art in 2010.

To support Fallingwater's diverse residential educational programs, the Conservancy plans to construct small, efficient, sustainable cottages near the Wright house at Bear Run Nature Reserve. In 2010, the Conservancy held a jury competition for these on-site cottages, and the jury selected Patkau Architects of Vancouver, British Columbia, as the winner. The cottages would be constructed following regulatory approval and fundraising.

WPC also completed restoration of the historic Bear Run School, which once again serves as a one-room schoolhouse - today, for participants in Fallingwater's educational programs.

Fallingwater's storied history - shaped not only by Wright but also by the Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh - came to life in a new way in 2010 as the Conservancy began cataloguing a major new collection of Kaufmann family correspondence. This collection was donated to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy by Aldo Radoczy in 2009.