Patkau Architects Win Chance to Build on Fallingwater

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Photo Courtesy Patkau Architects
The winning design was chosen for its subtle exterior that blends into the idyllic setting.

Patkau Architects won the first-ever competition to build on the same reserve as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater in Fayette County, Pennsylvania.

The contest, organized by Lynda Wagonner, director of Fallingwater and vice president of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, called for energy-efficient, sustainable cottages that incorporated recycled elements into the design.

The British Columbia-based Patkau Architects has been allocated land on the 5,000-acre Bear Run Nature Reserve to build six eco-friendly cottages to be used for residential educational programming.

“In its subtlety, it is provocative and it carries forward the discourse about where architecture can move,” the competition judges said of Patkau Architects’ design in a press release. “Its strength is not just in what is included, but in what is left out.”

Wendell Burnette Architects in Phoenix took second place, and Olson Kundig Architects of Seattle was the third-place winner.

Fallingwater, a vacation home originally built for department store owner Edgar J. Kaufmann, became famous after it appeared on the cover of Time Magazine in 1938.

Since then, Kaufmann’s relatives have turned the residence into a learning center for nature lovers of all ages. Fallingwater has an architecture camp for high school students, a lecture series and interactive tours for elementary school kids. Fallingwater’s expansion required more space, so Waggoner decided to hold a contest for architects to build on the reserve.

See photos of all the finalists’ designs.