Cottages at Fallingwater by Patkau Architects


Patkau Architects of Vancouver have won a competition to design six houses in the nature reserve surrounding Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater house in Pennsylvania.

The six houses will be submerged in the landscape of Bear Run Nature Reserve and provide accommodation for visitors involved in the Fallingwater Institute’s educational programs.

Here's some more information from the architects:

Patkau Architects chosen as winner of design competition for on-site cottages at Fallingwater

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.”

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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“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.”

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See also:


East Mountain by
Johan Berglund
Frank Lloyd Wright
More architecture

Posted on Tuesday June 1st 2010 at 12:01 am by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • When I saw falling water was to have additional programming and architecture added to the original project [even if not a direct addition] I was concerned. I took a moment to think what could be achieved by this adjacency, like many architecture students, I never haven visited yet, and was troubled by this possible toxic addition.

    However the proposal to the site went beyond my immediate imagination allowed. The design solution is humble -yet epic. It juxtaposes the original design giving off a clever post-modern and sustainable resolution to housing. I feel it is a beautiful habitat for learning and relaxing and Patkau’s idea grows from the surrounding landscape.

    Finally I am very glad and happy that a Canadian won this competition, great work-this will now become a North American icon for the world to learn from and appreciate.


  • Booh

    I really like Olson Kundig Architects proposal, although this one is really wonderful: But if the point is to preserve the landscape and to appreciate nature. Why dig up everything? Moving earth and sculpting a cottage from the ground… is conceptually nice- as it creates the illusion that it is part of the ecology. But frankly, it is just an illusion compared to the amount of destruction that would be necessary to complete this project.

    The third place project touches the ground the least, and I think ultimately that should have been the goal. Make them mobile/ removable because they shouldn’t be there in the first place.

  • bo

    frodo, where art thou?

  • bob

    Insert witty lord of the rings comment here:


  • JJ

    Excelente trabajo, se puede integrar en lugar de “destrozar” el entorno, solo se necesita querer hacerlo.

  • bear

    In a nature reserve….
    If they gave a damn, the visitors would be staying at a nice place that this very talented architect had designed OUTSIDE the reserve.

  • roman kralya

    How might people get to their houses without cars?

  • Tokhir Dadev

    Where do I park my car?

    • moon

      Cars? In a nature reserve……………

  • how cool could it be parking your car, over your ceiling…. I’ll like to have a bunker like this

  • Hobbit holes! hurrah for the Shire!

  • Rich

    I think maybe the architects confused Fallingwater with Taliesen North? Nice solution for the prairie. Rich

  • tanya telford – T

    by the sounds of it, i think these are quite a good solution. @ bear – but sometimes, to really really appreciate nature I feel sometimes you just have to be in it.

    I also think the architects, by designing these have managed to create a modern resolve in so far as (looks like) modern interiors and living environments which externally do not interfere with surrounding environment (visually anyway – doesn’t say anything about services etc).

  • Jetwax

    FLW would approve. An excellent method for maintaining the harmony of the site chosen. For those worried about parking – a walk wouldn’t do folks any harm at all. Well done Patkau d;-)

  • Chong Hor Ooi

    This another similar ideal like Earth House…I like this more, maybe better ventilation….

  • turtle

    Very good. Tragic we don’t have Frank to do something.

  • Azza Mohamed Osman Igale

    This is the best solution for the design within the nature reserve, without affecting the lives of animals. It also provides the visitor a wonderful opportunity to enjoy nature in a modern way.

    As for the comments below regarding the position of the car parking, I hope that you are not architects or it will be a disaster.