High Meadow is Fallingwater’s award-winning, newly expanded and renovated educational program complex located approximately one-half mile from Fallingwater. The lodging and studio facilities serve as the center of the creative community at Fallingwater, where individuals of all ages can participate in a variety of programming that explores the ideas that formed Fallingwater, as well as today’s innovative thinking regarding design, sustainable architecture, landscape architecture, conservation and natural history.
An expansion of a 1960s split level house and detached two-car garage situated on 60 acres of land donated to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy by Mrs. Robert Kirkpatrick, High Meadow serves as home base for participants in the Fallingwater Institute’s residency programs in architecture, art and design. High Meadow complements its rural setting in both form and function, and provides students of all ages the opportunity to be inspired by space that, like Fallingwater, exists in harmony with its setting.
The new lodging structure is positioned between the forest and meadow, and rests lightly on a network of nimble steel columns. The space allows for four new sleeping units, two of which are ADA compliant, and a screened indoor/outdoor common meeting space. The expanded space allows us to double the reach of our educational programming while keeping costs and site disturbance to a minimum. The building is approached from beneath a canopy of trees, on a simple wooden walkway that rises gently from the forest floor to the elevation of the new screened porch. It has a vaulted ceiling that opens to vistas of the meadow, the Youghiogheny River valley and Chestnut Ridge.
A screened corridor/walkway with a dark wood slatted wall connects the porch to the new sleeping units. The slats are made of Norway spruce that was harvested onsite in 2014 during the site preparation for the new maintenance facility. The slatted wall continues along the porch to the original house, stitching all elements together to create a unified whole. Along the screened corridor, seating nooks flank the entrances to the sleeping units providing places for people to read, sketch and gather in small groups.
Designed with a commitment to sustainability, all of the interior spaces are day-lit. Modest LED cove lighting along the perimeter of the wood ceilings lights the spaces in the evenings for dinner, study and nightly porch gatherings. Stormwater is managed by perching the addition above the existing hill on slender steel posts leaving the natural slope intact.
To facilitate workshops and hands-on learning at High Meadow, the house’s original two-car garage was converted into a beautiful, yet functional, studio. This facility includes drafting and modeling workspaces, a workroom and restrooms for students enrolled in the various residency programs. Opening garage doors at each end connects the interior to the outdoors, and a skylight running along the ridge of the roof provides diffuse natural light.
High Meadow was designed by American Institute of Architects National Gold Medal recipient Peter Bohlin, FAIA, principal of Bohlin, Cywinski and Jackson of Pittsburgh. High Meadow received the highest design honor in 2016, a Silver Medal, during AIA Pennsylvania's annual Architectural Excellence Design Awards Gala.
Funding for High Meadow
We are grateful for the generous support from many benefactors who provided significant funding to complete the High Meadow project:
Judy and Michael Cheteyan Educational/Charitable Foundation
Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation
Jack Millstein & Family, in loving memory of Andee Millstein
Whetzel/Walton Family Foundation
The Double Eagle Foundation
The Heinz Endowments
The Nutting Foundation
The Cox Family
Snee-Reinhardt Charitable Foundation
Texas Instruments Foundation
Rachel Mellon Walton Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation
Peter Q. Bohlin, FAIA, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
Zandur Innovative Flooring
Fairchance Construction Company