World Heritage Preserved Blog

World Heritage Preservation Video Overview

In 2019, Fallingwater began fundraising for a major preservation initiative, the World Heritage Preserved Campaign, to repair its major building systems: stone walls, flat roofs, flagstone terraces, steel window and door frames, and concrete. Thanks to grant funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and several foundations, along with the generosity of many Fallingwater members, work is now underway to preserve or replace these vital systems.  

This blog was developed to provide you with regular updates on preservation progress and insights into various project aspects, including information on the talented people doing the work.

Watch this short video from Fallingwater Director Justin Gunther where he explains why we’re doing this important work over the next few years and how the various projects help ensure the long-term preservation of this landmark, one inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. We encourage you to join us on this journey by reading the project updates section below to see preservation in action and, together, we can forge the future of Fallingwater.


A worker sands away old red paint from the window frames of the Fallingwater house.

Project Updates

August 21, 2023 Fallingwater Senior Director of Preservation and Collections Scott Perkins Gives a Brief Video Update

Thanks to the generosity of many private donors, foundations and Commonwealth of Pennsylvania funding, work is advancing on Fallingwater’s major building systems that need urgent attention.

In this short video, Fallingwater Senior Director of Preservation and Collections Scott Perkins gives a brief update on some recent work at the Guest House to replace the waterproofing membranes on the roofs and terraces, repoint and grout stonework to prevent water leaks and repair degraded concrete. This important work is being accomplished by preservation contractors and professionals. Stay tuned for more updates from Scott and others as work progresses!

To watch this two-minute video, click here.

July 17, 2023 Meet Pamela Jerome, Lead Preservation Architect for Fallingwater’s World Heritage Preserved Projects

Involved with Fallingwater’s preservation since 1988, Pamela Jerome is the lead architect overseeing the preservation work associated with Fallingwater’s World Heritage Preserved Campaign. As the president of Architectural Preservation Studio, DPC, a New York City-based architecture and preservation firm, Pamela is recognized as an international expert in cultural heritage with a specialization in masonry conservation and waterproofing.

Pamela’s team produced the 2019 Fallingwater Preservation master plan incorporating new research, investigations, prototype repairs and the execution of an existing conditions assessment, all to update the previous 1999 master plan which Pamela helped create more than 20 years ago. The current three-year phased plan is underway and scheduled to be completed in late 2025.

Pamela says her past Fallingwater experience was rewarding and informative, and will be vital to the success of the current preservation work. “For Fallingwater, we have designed discreet interventions that improve the functioning of the exterior envelope. We also have the benefit of knowing what worked and what did not. I was the project manager for the first holistic restoration from 1999-2002, so I personally have a lot of institutional knowledge and insight about the technical issues that face Fallingwater.”

Pamela is assisted by APS Studio Manager Stephanie Gerard and APS Architectural Preservationist Vishal Joshi. Combined, these three architects bring more than 60 years of expertise to our project.

In addition to Fallingwater, Pamela and her studio have preserved some of the most important buildings of the 20th century, including Frank Lloyd Wright’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the historic Breakers and Château-sur-Mer mansions in Newport, Rhode Island, and Louis Sullivan’s Bayard-Condict building in New York City.

June 23, 2023 Guest House Repointing Continues

Throughout June, Graciano’s masonry team has continued with the next task of the preservation work. They repointed the walls of the Guest House with mortar. Visitors to Fallingwater during the month saw scaffolding assembled at the Guest House. It was erected to keep our masons safe and provide them with access to all levels of the stone walls.

The Graciano team also prepared the tops of the Guest House walls for through-wall flashing by removing the capstones. Once placed this metal flashing will create a waterproof barrier underneath the capstones. This will prevent the migration of water into the walls from their top surfaces. In the past, both rain and snow have entered the walls through this exposed stone surface.

May 22, 2023 Guest House Grout Injection Testing

Graciano, a Pittsburgh-based masonry firm, completed the mortar repointing in April which allowed for the next task in the Guest House project work: testing specified grout injection materials and methods for the Guest House stone walls.

Structural engineers from Atkinson-Noland Associates drilled small holes and inserted borescopes (thin, flexible, tube-like cameras) into the stone wall cavities to capture video and photography to monitor various conditions and moisture levels.

This visual monitoring and information helped Masonry Solutions International determine the preferred process and locations of where to strategically inject grout into the wall cavities. The work occurred during the evenings and on a Wednesday in May to lessen the impact to Fallingwater visitors.

April 27, 2023 Guest House Pier Repointing

Graciano, a Pittsburgh-based masonry firm, completed a small masonry repointing project on the northeast corner pier of the Guest House on April 25 and 26 to prepare the pier for a mock-up test of the grout injection process. This test addresses water infiltration concerns by inhibiting the movement of water within the voids of Fallingwater’s stone walls. The work also included matching existing mortar in both color and composition.

The test will provide insights into how to successfully use the process in upcoming preservation projects. Pamela Jerome, our preservation architect, and John Matteo, our structural engineer, specified the grout injection process to address the effects of water infiltration.

“Fallingwater’s original materials are conserved and preserved whenever possible,” says Fallingwater Senior Director of Preservation and Collections Scott Perkins. “Yet we also need to consider newer techniques and methods to demonstrate to our visitors and members the excellent stewardship methods we are undertaking.”

March 22, 2023 Steel Frame Conservation

H. P. Steel Window Restoration completed conservation work on the original Hope’s windows in the Guest House. The team began repairing areas of corroded steel on the clerestory window frames from March 16-23. They primed and painted the frames with coating products manufactured by Tnemec (“cement” spelled backward).

The glass panes of two clerestory windows on the north elevation of the Guest House are embedded into mortar-filled channels in the stonework and needed to be replaced because of separation or cracking along the surface.

Finally, Advanced Caulking Services sealed the replacement glass using a thin bead of silicone to minimize the potential for future cracking. The color-matched silicone honors the original intent of Frank Lloyd Wright while allowing the glass to float within channels to better react to weather changes.

February 24, 2023 Wood Furniture Removal and Stone Wall Mortar Repair

One of the first activities to prepare for the preservation work on Fallingwater’s major building systems was the temporary removal of built-in casework, desks and wall shelving in the Guest House bedroom, Edgar jr.’s Study and Edgar Sr.’s Dressing Room and Study. This work was completed throughout February by our wood conservators to expose the stone walls for mortar work.

Fallingwater’s maintenance team repaired hairline cracks in the mortar joints of the stone walls of the main chimney and established various test sites within the Guest House. Using a process called repointing, the team removed portions of the deteriorated mortar using hand chiseling tools and added new mortar to the joints to repair the cracks. Filling these cracks prepares the walls for a future grout injection.

This extensive repointing process also helps seal the walls from within to help prevent further water infiltration. After the repointing was completed, the built-in furnishings were set back into place by the conservation team. To prepare for the season’s March 11 opening date, Fallingwater’s housekeeping team cleaned and reset each room with its furniture, artwork, books and decorative objects.