Architecture Monday

Fallingwater, by the larger-than-life Frank Lloyd Wright, is undoubtedly one of the most famous houses in the world. If you were tasked to design six cottages on a field of rolling hills situated a half mile from the site, to house participants in various Fallingwater educational programs?

The winning entry in a competition to do just that, these simple cottages by Patkau Architects take a decidedly hobbit-hole-esque tact and follow one of FLW’s dictums that a house should never be on a hill – it should belong to it. Six mounds of rolling grasses envelop these cottages, blending them into the natural landscape. Inside, cozily enveloped by the earth, warm wood and generous glazing create the inviting living space. Quite different than most of the Patkau angular creations, I’d call the bent wood and curvy volumes quite sensual. It’s also very straightforward in arrangement (again different than many Patkau designs), but some strategic windows and clever introduction of light doesn’t let it feel stale.

I think these are quite nifty. Simple, honouring of the site, and smartly using the very ground around it to create both form and shelter.


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