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The Barn at Fallingwater
Mill Run, Penn.
Bohlin Cywinski Jackson

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson employ creative renovation on an old barn used by the Western pennsylvania Conservancy


© Nic Lehoux

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By James Murdock

Although its name might suggest a closer physical relationship, the Barn at Fallingwater is located a quarter of a mile up the road from Frank Lloyd Wright’s 1937 masterwork. Visually, the barn is also somewhat removed from Wright’s aesthetic—the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, a nonprofit that owns both buildings, stipulated as much when commissioning the barn’s transformation—but nonetheless, they do bear a resemblance. Both Fallingwater and the revamped barn are at one with nature: one through design, the other through materials.

The conservancy maintains more than 5,000 acres of land adjacent to Fallingwater. Although it occupies offices on-site and in Pittsburgh, the organization needed more desk space and meeting rooms. It also wanted exhibition space and a retail shop that would be visible from the main county road.

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson left the older barn’s main space, a 5,000-square-foot room, untouched, preserving its barnlike character with unfinished, uninsulated wallboards that allow air and light to circulate freely. The architects excavated its lower level for administrative offices and storage. Meanwhile, the smaller addition, formerly a dairy barn, now contains meeting rooms that can double as an exhibition hall. Once considered a problem, the unprogrammed large space is now the project’s selling point. The room’s four oversize doors are opened during warm months, effectively dissolving its eastern wall. Even on rainy days, light filters through gaps between the boards, bouncing off the glossy floor and suffusing this space with a transcendental glow.

Want the full story? Read the entire article in our January 2005 issue.
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Formal name of Project:
The Barn at Fallingwater

Location:
Mill Run, Penn.

Gross square footage:
12,000 sq. ft.

Owner:
Western Pennsylvania Conservancy
www.paconserve.org

Architect:
Bohlin Cywinski Jackson
307 Fourth Avenue Suite 1300
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
Phone: 412.765.3890
Fax: 412.765.2209
www.bcj.com

 

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