Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Are you familiar with this house? This is the famous home designed for Mr. and Mrs. Edgar Kaufman, Sr. in 1934 by seminal architect Frank Lloyd Wright known as "Fallingwater." It's located in Mill Run, Pennsylvania.

Fallingwater is an arresting house in the modern style, looking as if it sprang, organically, out of the jutting granite shelves that create the falls. It was designated a national historic landmark in 1966, and Bob Vila featured it on his A&E show called Guide to Historic Homes of America. The National Institute of Architecture named it the "best all-time work of American architecture" in 1991, and according to the AIA, Fallingwater was twenty-ninth on the 2007 list of America's favorite architecture.*

Considering, then, that Fallingwater is so recognizable, so well-known, I thought that maybe some enterprising architect should design a house that would reflect this post-modern era, something that would demonstrate a minimalist angst as we live our American lives in this era of closing banks, financial bail-outs, rising foreclosures, abysmal property values, freakishly stupid and complicated government-run programs like "Cash for Clunkers," and advancing socialism.

To that end, I think the house should be called "Fallingdollar." It could look a lot like Fallingwater, only the big cantilevered cement balconies could be kind of crumbling, maybe decoratively enhanced with some of that yellow warning ribbon to keep people from pitching into the drink; a few of the windows could be broken out and mended with cardboard and duct tape; and the chimneys could have empty spaces where the stone has fallen out, reminiscent of a mouth with missing teeth. A large tree could be smashing part of the roof, serving as an architecturally expressed symbol of everyone's 401(k)s and college funds.

Bear Run, the narrow body of water that slides over the massive rock outcroppings, could be dammed upstream, allowing just the tinest trickle of water to emerge, signifying the rate at which our children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren will be paying off the national debt.

Instead of housing just one family, maybe about fifteen different families could move in after the banks take back their own homes. They could all take turns paying the electric bill and play charades and Pictionary together when the cable service gets cut off.

Sounds just beautiful, doesn't it?

Source: Fallingwater, August 2, 2009.

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