When an iconic modern house enters the real estate market, one can expect uniform lamentation from architects that a piece of history might be co-opted by an unworthy steward. In the case of 51 Pecksland Road in Greenwich, CT, there is absolutely no fear of that occurring. The house, designed in 1973 by architect Dimitri Bulazel, bears more than a striking resemblance to Frank Lloyd Wright’s design for Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania, both in overall form and architectural detailing. However, the only scenario where one might see falling water on this site is if the jacuzzi on the upper terrace overflows. Though completed nearly half a century after Wright's masterpiece, the 4,675-square-foot, single-family house is being described by the realty company Berkshire Hathaway as a “truly exceptional, one-of-a-kind home.” While some may be able to debate the “exceptional” nature of this $3.5 million near facsimile, calling it “one-of-a-kind” is veering into alternative fact territory.
Posts tagged with "Fallingwater":
Even architects enjoy going to camp, particularly when it involves sleeping in thoughtfully-designed cabins. Such is the case for students of the Fallingwater Institute summer residency programs at High Meadow, the historic farm neighboring Frank Lloyd Wright’s iconic Fallingwater house. Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania–based firm Bohlin Cywinski Jackson recently completed four new residences at High Meadow, adding to an existing 1960s cabin on the site and doubling the capacity of the summer programs. The Fallingwater Institute summer residency programs allow students and educators of architecture, art, and design to study Frank Lloyd Wright at one of his most recognized works, learning about the relationship between architecture and nature in the process. The new dwellings differ greatly from the design originally proposed by competition-winners Patkau Architects in 2010; that scheme would've burrowed the residences into the hillside. Instead, Bohlin Cywinski Jackson chose to expand the footprint of the existing cabin and perch the new dwellings on steel columns atop the hillside. The Norway Spruce used for the horizontal screen running along the complex’s exterior hallways was also harvested and milled on site. "The building's main entry welcomes visitors into a central screened porch, which joins the new architecture to an existing cabin and serves as the outdoor gathering and dining space," said Bill James, project architect from the firm's Pittsburgh office, in a press release. On the interior, the finishes of the residences are durable but minimal to add “a sparse elegance to the space,” the firm stated. Each dwelling features a desk and two twin beds with a full bathroom and closet storage. The project has been recognized by the AIA Pennsylvania chapter, receiving its highest honor, the 2016 AIA Pennsylvania Silver Medal. The jury stated that the building’s contrast to its surroundings made it a “graceful addition to the existing structure.” Bohlin Cywinski Jackson was also responsible for the adaptive reuse of the Barn at Fallingwater in 2006, a project that turned the 1870s barn into educational and event space for the Fallingwater property. For more information about the Fallingwater Institute and their residency programs, visit their website here.
On August 1st, LEGO released a new kit in its series of building block design sets marketed specifically to architecture enthusiasts. LEGO’s Architecture Studio Kit, from its Architecture Series of adult-catered building sets, consists of 1,200 all white and translucent plastic bricks but no instructions. The free-for-all kit is endorsed by MAD Architects of Beijing and comes with a guidebook of architecture building exercises. Michael Bleby of Business Review Weekly writes that this set "is the first in the range to focus on creativity and architectural principles, rather than a specific architectural icon." A modernist’s dream that costs significantly less than others within the series, LEGO may possibly have caught onto a new niche market. Especially when reviews thus far of the landmark-specific Architecture Series have been mixed from architects and enthusiasts alike. The Architecture Series offers sets of building blocks that instruct users to create small versions of famous architectural landmarks, houses, and buildings ranging from Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater to the White House. Sets are built for the novelty of owning a miniature model, not for the purpose of play and constant redesign, like the traditional primary-colored LEGO bricks marketed at children. However, Business Review Weekly reports that architects purchasing the sets for personal use are increasingly dissatisfied with the scale, lack of detail, and high price of the Architecture sets. In an Architizer critique of the LEGO series, AJ Artemel questions whether these Series sets with their limited pieces, instructions, and purpose actually hinder creativity rather than encourage it: “It seems as if the sort of learning discovered through play and exploration can only take place in an environment with many options and lots of flexibility. And without the large degree of interchangeability offered by LEGO’s sandbox-style sets, the ‘systematic’ overwhelms the ‘creativity.’” In comparison, designs created by owners of the newly released Architecture Studio Kit have no presupposed end. Available online for only $150, builders have creative freedom with the colorless set. Within the constant critique of the architecture world, LEGO's new set promises space for architectural experiment, done in miniature plastic bricks.