Fallingwater Announces Frank Lloyd Wright Commemorative 150th Birthday Celebration Activities
Along with the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation and other Wright-designed public buildings across the country, Fallingwater will host a variety of special activities during the 2017 tour season to commemorate and honor Wright’s legacy during the year of his 150th birthday.
Wright (June 8, 1867-April 9, 1959) is widely considered to be one of the greatest American architects of the 20th century and the father of modern architecture. Throughout a career that spanned for nearly 70 years, Wright expressed his philosophy of “organic architecture” by integrating buildings with the natural world.
Inspired by nature and technology, and seeking an alternative to European models, he used materials and structural forms in often new and innovative ways that related to the geographically diverse United States. Fallingwater, designed by Wright in the 1930s, is widely considered to be one of the most recognized examples of the union of architecture and nature, and one of the most important buildings of the 20th century.
Now a museum, Fallingwater will reopen for its 53rd season on March 4, 2017. Along with the guided house tours, Fallingwater visitors will have additional opportunities to learn about Wright and his architectural principles as part of the commemorative activities. Through a series of special lectures and an exhibition in the Speyer Gallery, called “Wright for Wright,” visitors will learn more about the homes Wright designed for himself and how he used each to explore new ideas that would inform his other works.
“Though Fallingwater is, arguably, the most famous of Wright’s residential works, few realize that more than 400 buildings by the architect remain, most of which are private homes,” said Lynda Waggoner, vice president of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and director of Fallingwater. “To recognize the 150th anniversary of his birth and Wright’s remarkable contribution to domestic design, we are pleased to present this exhibition and series of lectures focused on his homes, philosophy and sources of inspiration.”
Visitors will also have the opportunity to sample special menu items being offered at the Fallingwater Café based on some of Wright’s favorite recipes, including one for his birthday cake – a confection of walnuts, chocolate and strawberries. And, starting in June, the Fallingwater Museum Store will have 150th commemorative specialty items for sale, from baseball caps to wooden holiday ornaments.
Since opening for its first tour in 1964, Fallingwater has welcomed more than 5.5 million visitors from around the world. Reopening on weekends beginning March 4, Fallingwater guided house tours will be offered daily beginning on March 11 – except Wednesdays – from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., through Thanksgiving Day weekend.
Advance ticket purchase is essential due to space limitations for tours. For more information or to purchase Fallingwater tour tickets, visit Fallingwater.org or call Visitor Services at 724-329-8501.
Registration is not required for these special events, and all Fallingwater visitors are welcome to attend. More specific information and descriptions of the exhibition and lecture series are listed below.
Wright for Wright: The Experimental Architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Homes
Opening April 1
In his 1953 book, The Future of Architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright famously declared, “Every great architect is—necessarily—a great poet. He must be a great original interpreter of his time, his day, his age.” The poetry of Wright’s architecture drew from nature and his three most personal designs—a home and studio in Oak Park, Illinois; a rural Wisconsin estate, Taliesin; and an Arizona desert sanctuary, Taliesin West—reflected an evolution of his organic architecture principles over a span of seven decades. Each home encapsulated differing roles for Wright as a designer, teacher, writer, or businessman where living and working were often simultaneous activities. Now public sites, Wright for Wright explores the important design aspects of each home as well as their function within Wright’s life and legacy. This exhibition will be on view in the Speyer Gallery from April 1 through December 2017.
2017 Lecture Series
All lectures are available to Fallingwater visitors in the Hillman Education Pavilion located at the Fallingwater Visitor Center. Registration is not required.
What Is Organic Architecture, Anyway?
Available June 15, July 20 and August 17 at 2 p.m.
Drawing inspiration from nature, Frank Lloyd Wright developed a philosophy of “organic architecture” that informed his design process, from buildings to the complete interior. Yet Wright was not alone in this endeavor, with other architects also using organic analogies to describe their own work. This lecture will discuss Wright’s definition or organic architecture, placing it within twentieth-century architectural history and exploring how it has defined his legacy.
Playing with Architecture: The Froebel Gifts and Frank Lloyd Wright
Available June 22, August 3 and August 31 at 2 p.m.
In his 1932 autobiography, Frank Lloyd Wright recalled his playing with wooden blocks as a boy, as part of the educational training developed by German educator Friedrich Froebel in the 1830s. Wright drew upon Froebel’s “gifts” later, when incorporating patternmaking, geometry and color theory into his architecture. This lecture explores the impact of Froebel gifts on Wright as an architect and the ways in which his designs reflected their principles.
A Total Work of Art: The Interiors of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Homes
July 6 and August 24 at 2 p.m.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s buildings were thought to be designed “from within outward.” Creating a unified whole, Wright’s architectural designs were often part of a larger program that included furnishings, tabletop objects, textiles and art glass. The evolution of a Wrightian interior also changed over time to reflect shifts in the architect’s interests in non-Western cultures, technology, social norms and ways of living and working.
Living, Working, Experimenting: The Homes of Frank Lloyd Wright
August 10 at 2 p.m.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s three designs for his personal living and working space are among his most experimental. As biographical representations of his life and a career as designer, teacher and businessman, Wright’s Home and Studio, Taliesin and Taliesin West represent evolving approaches to his philosophy of organic architecture. Their building materials, interior space planning and finishes set the tone for modern American architecture and design in the twentieth century.
About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy:
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) enhances the region by protecting and restoring exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC has helped to establish 10 state parks, conserved more than a quarter million acres of natural lands and protected or restored more than 3,000 miles of rivers and streams. The Conservancy owns and operates Fallingwater, which symbolizes people living in harmony with nature. In addition, WPC enriches our region’s cities and towns through 130 community gardens and other green spaces that are planted with the help of about 12,000 volunteers. The work of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is accomplished through the support of more than 10,000 members. For more information, visit WaterLandLife.org or Fallingwater.org.
Kristen Blevins, Communications Specialist
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
Clinton Piper, Museum Programs Assistant