Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Between Silence and Light::A Falling Water Experience

Craft is an essential element in design. Although it is easy to make something look nice, craftsmanship takes practice to perfect. Frank Lloyd Wright is an excellent craftsman. His world famous architectural structure Falling Water is a great example of his level of craft. Touring the home, one would think that for the most part it is a very modern style of design, when in actuality it was constructed in the 1930s and that to me shows how talented and advanced his mind is. The techniques that he used to build the home were innovative and he took a risk. "The guide format becomes a behavioral design logic." (Heimsath)
"Designers have to be able to inform, persuade, motivate and direct their audiences..." (Landa, 169)
Language in design should communicate with the viewer/client in a personal way. The language communicated to today's design through falling water is a very modern and advanced language. In other words, it in my opinion was not the same language of that time period(1930s). From the style of the design to the cost(considering that it was built during the Great Depression), the language communicated was definetly more advanced and 21 centuried design. Although Wright specifically created the residential space for a shorter family, i do not think that a language of comfort for someone 6ft or taller was communicated. I almost want to ask myself: Though this was intentional, would the home be more welcoming for more people if the ceiling height was higher, or would it take away from the intimacy of the space? Would the language be foreign in that case? "The environment can create positive support for goal seeking or it can work negatively against the individual goals." (Heimsath) The public and private spaces in Falling Water are very well defined and easy to read. One thing that was successful in the design was the narrowness of the halls where the spaces were meant to be more private(bedrooms/baths), and more openess where the space was meant to be public. Intimacy was a connection that I felt with the whole space, and that is to me a well designed space. The actual placement of the structure within the woods over a waterfall also created a sense of intimatcy and so overall, I felt like the whole space was private in relation to the world around it. Design is a system that orders and translates reality and ideas into meaningful units which are intelligible and communicative (Landa, 169) Physically, I was present at Falling Water, but it in a sense was still a virtual experience to me. Virtual reality may be the correct term to describe what I felt while I was there. The combination of the actual beauty of the design intertwined with the intimacy that I felt and the sound of the flowing water put me in a state that was unreal.

Heimsath, Clovis. Behavioral Architecture. 1977. McGraw-Hill Inc.
Landa, Robin. An Introduction to Design. 1983. Prentice-Hall Inc. Englewood Cliffs, NJ.