Fallingwater Announces Winner of Design Competition for On-Site Cottages

Fallingwater today announced that a jury has chosen Patkau Architects of Vancouver, British Columbia, as the winner of its first-ever design competition for on-site cottages that will support residential educational programming at the Frank Lloyd Wright masterwork in Fayette County.

The second-place winner of the competition is Phoenix, Ariz.-based Wendell Burnette Architects, and Olson Kundig Architects of Seattle, Wash., has been chosen as the third-place winner.

Patkau Architects’ winning design for six small, efficient, sustainable cottages will serve as the basis of a final design, to be implemented following regulatory approval and fundraising.

“In its subtlety, it is provocative and it carries forward the discourse about where architecture can move,” the jury said of the winning design. “Its strength is not just in what is included, but in what is left out.”

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, which preserves and maintains Fallingwater, will build the cottages on the grounds of the 5,000-acre Bear Run Nature Reserve that surrounds Fallingwater, some distance from the house itself. The design competition is the first that Fallingwater has sponsored for construction of new buildings on-site.

The new cottages will serve an important outreach goal by expanding lodging capacity for participants in Fallingwater Institute’s diverse educational programs. These unique, immersive educational offerings are tailored to broad age levels and interests – and to people from the Western Pennsylvania region and beyond.

“When Edgar Kaufmann, jr. entrusted Fallingwater to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, he envisioned education as a critical component of Fallingwater’s new role as a public resource. He saw Fallingwater as not merely available to the public, but as a force that could continue to drive the development of architecture and good design as well as advance their appreciation and understanding,” said Lynda Waggoner, director of Fallingwater and vice president of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. “He said, ‘Fallingwater grew and still grows.’ We feel that the winning design by Patkau Architects will allow Fallingwater to grow by actively demonstrating the principles we espouse: good design in harmony with nature.”

Patkau Architects was among six firms chosen by a preliminary selection committee to participate in a Design Competition of Ideas supported through a grant from The Fine Foundation. Participants developed designs for low-maintenance, energy-efficient cottages that should create a sense of community and become a benchmark for the design, construction and operation of small-scale green housing. In addition to using environmentally friendly building materials, the firms’ designs took advantage of natural heating and cooling opportunities to minimize environmental impacts. Each included a basic kitchen, fireplace and shower, and incorporated recycling of kitchen and grey water for use in toilets.

The designs of the six firms will be displayed in an exhibit, Design Competition: New Cottages at Fallingwater, at the Carnegie Museum of Art’s Heinz Architectural Center, from June 12 – August 22, 2010. The firms are:

  • Marlon Blackwell Architect, Fayetteville, Arkansas
  • Wendell Burnette Architects, Phoenix, Arizona
  • MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, Halifax, Nova Scotia
  • Olson Kundig Architects, Seattle, Washington
  • Patkau Architects, Vancouver, British Columbia
  • Saucier + Perrotte Architectes, Montreal, Quebec

A distinguished jury selected Patkau Architects as the winner of the Design Competition

  • David DeLong, architect and author, emeritus professor of architecture, University of Pennsylvania and member of the Fallingwater Advisory Committee
  • Edward Feiner, F.A.I.A., principal, Will+Perkins, Washington, and former Chief Architect GSA
  • Reed Kroloff, architect and critic, director of the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, former editor of Architecture, and former dean of Tulane School of Architecture
  • Raymund Ryan, architect and curator of The Heinz Architectural Center, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh
  • Lord Peter Palumbo, patron of the arts and architecture, chair of the Pritzker Architecture Prize jury and chairman of the Trustees of the Serpentine Gallery, London
  • Joshua Whetzel, III, a supporter of green building and sustainable development who was instrumental in the creation of the Green Building Alliance, and a member of the Fallingwater Advisory Committee and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Board of Directors
  • Lynda Waggoner, director of Fallingwater and vice president, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy

John Reynolds, professor of architecture, Miami University of Ohio, served as the competition advisor.




About the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy (WPC) enhances the region’s quality of life by protecting and restoring exceptional places. A private nonprofit conservation organization founded in 1932, WPC helped to establish ten state parks and has conserved more than 228,000 acres of natural lands and waterways. The Conservancy owns and operates Fallingwater, the Frank Lloyd Wright house in Mill Run, Pa. that symbolizes people living in harmony with nature. In addition, WPC enriches our region’s cities and towns through 140 community gardens and greenspaces that are planted with the help of 10,000 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.


Photos of the six finalists’ designs may be downloaded at: https://s945.photobucket.com/albums/ad293/rschreiber/


Media contact:
Stephanie Kraynick
Director of Communications
(412) 586-2358