High Meadow at Fallingwater
Mill Run, Pennsylvania, United States
“On behalf of the Fallingwater Advisory Committee, I'd like to express how happy we are with the transformation of High Meadow. Thanks to you, this once humble little prefab has metamorphosed into a wonderful space that connects to the beauty of its setting in the most delightful way, all without hubris or a heavy hand. It is everything we had hoped for.”
Located on a historic farm adjacent to Frank Lloyd Wright’s renowned Fallingwater residence, High Meadow serves as home base for students of Fallingwater Institute’s summer residency programs in architecture, art, and design.
The Nature of Place
Positioned between forest and field, four modest dwellings with simple wood interiors and framed vistas of the surrounding hilltops rest lightly above ground on a network of nimble steel columns and delicate tectonics, imparting minimal disturbance to the site. An angled shroud at the end of each unit catches cool breezes rising up from the valley floor below and shields the naturally ventilated rooms from the summer sun. Screened entry doors allow for additional airflow and connect the units to a covered walkway.
The Nature of People
For more than 20 years, Fallingwater has sponsored onsite residency programs for students in high school, college, and graduate school as well as teachers, lifelong learners, and artists-in-residence. The original split-level cabin, High Meadow, which served as the main residence for participants, was not large enough to meet the program demands. Several years ago a decision was made to expand lodging to accommodate the vision for expanded educational programming. Bohlin Cywinski Jackson worked to realize the expansion with the addition of the four dwelling units tied to the main house via a shared porch and walkway. Faithful to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s mission to restore, preserve, and foster an appreciation of the natural world, these four cabins complement their rural setting in both form and function, and provide students of all ages the opportunity to study and experience the beauty of the surrounding landscape.
The Nature of Materials
Materials and finishes are deliberately simple and durable. Cabin exteriors are clad in cedar stained shale gray. Cork flooring is used within the units and bathrooms, while shower surrounds are lined in Pennsylvania slate. Built-in shelving and furniture is made of plywood, lending an unadorned quality to the space. A small desk and simple chairs provide settings for study or reading while regionally sourced wool blankets adorn the beds. Outside of the four units a horizontal pine screen—harvested and milled on site—extends from the cabin and continues along the walkway leading to the dwellings. The screen’s curated openings create dappled light and glimpses of the adjacent woods. As one continues along the walkway, the screen dissolves, extending toward the meadow and a path leading to Fallingwater.