Underground cottages will soon grace the landscape surrounding Fallingwater, the famous masterpiece of Frank Lloyd Wright. Designed by Patkau Architects from Vancouver, the cottages will reside in the hills of the 5,000-acre Bear Run Nature Reserve that surrounds Fallingwater. The underground, sustainably-designed cottages were recently selected through a design competition held by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, which manages Fallingwater along with the many educational programs that are part of the historic home.
Nearby lodging and residences were needed to help support the educational programming that goes on at Fallingwater. The design competition asked for proposals that fit in the with surrounding landscape and could be constructed in harmony with nature. Patkau’s proposal was selected from a short list of six firms competing for the honor. “In its subtlety, it is provocative and it carries forward the discourse about where architecture can move,” the jury said of the winning design. “Its strength is not just in what is included, but in what is left out.”
All of the proposals included designs for low-maintenance, energy-efficient cottages that would create a sense of community. The underground cottages will utilize the natural heating and cooling properties of the surrounding earth, recycle grey and kitchen water for use in the toilets, and will feature environmentally-friendly materials and solar passive design. Each cottage includes a bedroom, kitchen, living and dining area as well as a bathroom.