Fallingwater Facts

House
Fallingwater house

  • Description: Fallingwater was a weekend house for the Edgar J. Kaufmann family of Pittsburgh, owners of Kaufmann's Department Store.
  • Owners: Edgar Kaufmann Sr. (1885-1955), Liliane S. Kaufmann (1889-1952), and their son, Edgar Kaufmann jr. (1910-1989). The house was owned and used by the Kaufmann family until 1963, when it was entrusted by Edgar Kaufmann, jr., to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. 
  • Design and construction: Designed in 1935 by American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959), the main house was constructed 1936-38, followed by the guest house construction in 1939.
  • Square footage: The main house uses 9,300 square feet of which 4,400 is outdoor terraces, while the guest house totals 990 square feet of which 1,950 square feet is outdoor terraces.
  • Paint Colors:  Wright's desire to create a unified and organic composition limited the color palette at Fallingwater. Only two colors were used throughout: a light ochre for the concrete and his signature Cherokee red for the steel. PPG Paints has worked with Fallingwater to develop eco-friendly paints that withstand the environmental challenges of the site. They have also created a series of colors inspired by the building and its surroundings. Learn more about Fallingwater's PPG paint colors.
  • Visitation: Since Fallingwater opened in 1964, over 6.3 million visitors from around the world have toured the house. In 2016, 181,000 visitors toured the house, the most on record for a single year.
  • Preservation: The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has preserved Fallingwater since 1963, with a major structural repair in 2002 strengthening Fallingwater’s cantilevers to prevent collapse and future deflection.
  • Surroundings: Surrounded by the WPC’s 5,100 acre Bear Run Nature Reserve.
  • Final cost: The original estimate for the house was $35,000. The final total cost of construction was approximately $148,000 with an additional $11,300 in architect’s fees.

Kaufmann Family

Kaufmann's

  • Edgar and Liliane were married on June 22, 1909.
  • Liliane could read three languages: English, French, and German.
  • Edgar developed a dairy which is now the Barn at Fallingwater.
  • Liliane raised long-haired dachshunds.
  • During WWI, Edgar was a first lieutenant in the First Field Artillery.
  • In 1934, Liliane was elected president of Montefiore Hospital in Pittsburgh.
  • In 1928, Edgar made the first direct Pittsburgh to Paris telephone call to inquire about a designer dress.
  • Read more about the Kaufmann family.

Miscellaneous

  • Fallingwater was featured on the cover of Time Magazine, January 1938
  • Fallingwater is the only major Wright-designed house to open to the public with its furnishings, artwork, and setting intact
  • Frank Lloyd Wright once suggested that the house’s concrete surfaces be coated in gold leaf.