Falling Water landscape drawings

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marcus
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Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:12 am
Location: Brisbane

Falling Water landscape drawings

Post by marcus »

Does anyone happen to know where I could get hold of some accurate drawings of the terrain around Falling Water. I was hoping for an accurate survey or a topographical drawing. Any help with this would be appreciated.

DRN
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Location: Cherry Hill, NJ

Post by DRN »

On page 13 of Donald Hoffmann’s 1978 Fallingwater book published by Dover is a small illustration of the very detailed survey Wright received from EJ Kaufmann’s civil engineer.
On page 39 of EJ Kaufmann jr’s 1986 book, Fallingwater A Frank Lloyd Wright Country House, is the scaled up tracing Wright had an apprentice make from the engineer’s survey as an underlay for his initial plan sketches.

These are the best images I have found in books of what Wright used in his design effort.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

Here is a scan of the first document cited by DRN. I have rotated the page to enable a maximum screen fill here.

The house occupies the far right end of the drawing (in this orientation); the egg-shaped boulder centered on the short dimension of the drawing is the one that protrudes through the floor of the living room and becomes the floor of the fire-box.

The contour lines appear to have been drawn at 2-foot (60.96 cm) intervals.



Image

marcus
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Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:12 am
Location: Brisbane

Post by marcus »

Thank you SDR and DRN. I just happen to have the Dover book on my bookshelf... I'll see if I can find EJ Kaufmann jr's book on Amazon. If you are able to scan a copy that would be great or even a photograph. You can never have too much reference.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

For sure. I don't have Edgar jr's book . . .

For what it's worth, I don't think you'll find another topo map that's more accurate than this lovely drawing. The drafter has adopted -- or created -- an interesting convention to indicate the
trees; it's an organic shape which he deploys in endless variations of the same basic form, making a delightful natural pattern across the sheet. It is more than a dry engineering document . . .

S

SDR
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Post by SDR »

DRN and JimM have kindly sent images from the book cited. First, the Taliesin version of the site topo map, with enlargements and a detail (not manipulated to
correct for page photo geometric distortion).

Then, a plot plan and a foundation plan. Dan writes:

"These drawings are key to the development of the design... The boulders and existing drive on each sheet act as reference points that allow one to rotate the
original survey and the later tracing to orient them to match the orientation of the foundation plan."


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illustrations © 1986 by Edgar Kaufmann, jr and by Abbeville Press

© by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation

dkottum
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Location: Battle Lake, MN

Post by dkottum »

Would the first drawing shown here for Kaufmann Dept Store indicate the presumed location for the house by EJ or his engineer to be below the waterfall, as that area is centered in the sheet. I recall Kauffman was somewhat surprised to see FLW had sited the house over the waterfall?

SDR
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Post by SDR »

That's exactly right. Wright may have settled on his own spot for the house during or not long after his first visit, with Kaufmann, in mid-December, 1934 (a couple of months after Edgar, jr formally joined the Taliesin Fellowship).

If so, he did not let those ideas pass to Kaufmann, until he was sure of what he wanted to do; it was not until the September 1935 unveiling that Kaufmann realized what Wright had done, and where the house would be located.

S

Tom
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Location: Black Mountain, NC

Post by Tom »

coincidence
Found a copy at the local used bookstore of EJKjr's Fallingwater - very good condition, $10
Anyway EJKjr says some interesting things about the structure of the second floor "slab" which makes me realize the house is more elaborate even than I've thought to date.
Or that I've not concieved it properly enough so far despite all the combing through this house we've been through on WrighChat.

SDR
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Post by SDR »

What did you find ? Is it describable ?

S

Tom
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Post by Tom »

Ive just skimmed it so far and I need to go to bed,
but it has something to do with the second floor plate.
I'll read more carefully tomorrow and get back.

But the large format pictures in the book are really good.
Next best thing to being there
...and he includes a two page spread of the first plan Wright sketched out
at Taliesin while Kaufmann was on his way from Pittsburg: graphite, blue pencil and red pencil
- looks like foundation (graphite), first level (blue), second level (red) all in one drawing.
Ill double check that tomorrow

marcus
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:12 am
Location: Brisbane

Post by marcus »

Thank you all once again. I had been playing with the original survey and a copy of the final first plan taken from a Phaidion book but nothing comes close to what you ... the brains trust have come up with. While I appreciate whimsical artistic work in the original engineers site plan I don't think its that accurate. I do however trust the latest drawings you have all supplied. I've just started studying the building again for the first time in a while and I thought it best to get my head around the landscape first.
Thank you all once again.

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

You've very welcome. I'm curious; why would you trust the Taliesin tracings over the original engineers' site survey ? Pretty drawing is indeed icing on the cake -- but have you found inaccuracies in that initial drawing ?

Professional surveyors take their work pretty seriously, in my experience.

One skill among many that I lack is the ability to digitally overlay two images, to see how they align and where they might not. Can anyone here do that ? I could try printing one of the drawings on translucent paper . . .

S

marcus
Posts: 8
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2019 7:12 am
Location: Brisbane

Post by marcus »

I can overlay all the drawings digitally and adjust the scales and orientation accordingly. I don't dispute that the surveyors take their work seriously but I think when you are building around something like that and you are concerned about the levels and where the building interacts you would have someone check and double check. On the foundation plan drawing you can see quite accurately how everything interacts. This may well not be an as built drawing but the boulders appear to be well considered.... or nicely drawn.
When you start overlaying different drawings from different sources there are always discrepancies and people take licence to redraw... move slightly or adapt wall overall thicknesses lengths etc. It's like peas soup!

SDR
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Location: San Francisco

Post by SDR »

Yes -- and, "It is the responsibility of the contractor to verify site conditions, dimensions, and the weather and phase of the moon, before proceeding . . ."

S

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