Sanjay Gangal is the President of IBSystems, the parent company of AECCafe.com, MCADCafe, EDACafe.Com, GISCafe.Com, and ShareCG.Com.
Cottages at Fallingwater in Mill Run, Pennsylvania by Patkau Architects
February 9th, 2011 by Sanjay Gangal
The retained meadowland above Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater is the site of six new cottages. The meadow, which is a fragment of a ‘recent’ cultural landscape, provides a complimentary experience to the surrounding native forest from which to appreciate and understand both native ecology and cultural history. It opens a clearing in the forest; a clearing that establishes the possibility of a sustainable relationship between human occupancy, site and sun.
Each cottage forms a small ridge. In series, cottages form swells and falls of landform. Each cottage looks over the low point of the swell in front of it toward the line of White Pine and deciduous forest at the meadow’s edge. Cottage-form is an intensification of landscape-form. Just as Fallingwater is an intensification of the rock outcroppings that characterize Bear Run, the meadow cottages are an intensification of the swelling ground-plane of the meadow, made from the very soil and grasses of the meadow itself.
The cluster of cottages forms a sheltering micro-climate of sunny prospect. Openings, cut through the landforms by weathering steel portal frames, connect cottage interiors to the meadowland beyond, silently and passively gathering the sun’s energy in the shoulder and winter seasons, shading openings and providing ventilation during the summer’s heat.
The cottages are open in plan, generous with a sense of luminous space. Interiors are surfaced in light toned wood, grounded by concrete floors and sculpted by daylight. A large opening to the southern meadow focuses the living space, allowing easy access to an outdoor terrace. Bedrooms are more enclosed with double or two single beds as required; extra guests – children – can sleep on the long couch in the living space.
Durability and longevity characterize both exterior and interior. The grasses of the site are a naturally renewable exterior cladding material, weathering steel ages to a permanent natural finish, while wood and concrete create a warm low maintenance interior.
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