by SPY_VONDEGA on JANUARY 1, 2012 - 11 Comments in SELF-SUFFICIENCY
Five years ago Angelina Jolie gave Brad Pitt a visit to architectural marvel Fallingwater as his birthday present. The stunning Frank Lloyd Wright designed house is built right on top of a waterfall in Western PA.
This December 18th, she went one better – with the present of a waterfall of his own, plus the land surrounding it – so Brad can build his own version of the Wright home – but unlike the 1934 original, this one could be powered entirely from the waterfall beneath it.
“He’s so hard to buy for,” Jolie had told Fallingwater’s staff members during their previous visit to Wright’s masterwork.
“Brad said he had wanted to experience Fallingwater ever since he took an architectural history course in college,” Fallingwater’s Curator of Education Cara Armstrong had said.
The star now plans to take time out from his movie career to build the ambitious house after Angie told him that the falls and surrounding land near LA were his birthday and Christmas presents. Built on the relatively small budget of $30,000 in 1934, the design did not include a waterwheel to take power from the water. But Pitt is certain to go one better than that in line with his previous eco-building projects.
‘Brad has always loved Fallingwater and his first trip there was unforgettable,’ says a friend.
‘Angelina wanted to get him something incredibly special and, because she knows how much he loves architecture, she thought this would be perfect.
She hopes this will be a hideaway for the family. Brad has dreamed of a home with the sound of a waterfall cascading under the house.’
The couple recently sold their Malibu home to star Ellen DeGeneres.
‘Brad has always wanted to design his own house. He wants to pull all aspects of nature, light, glass and varying levels into the concept,’ says the friend. ‘This is the present to top all presents.”
Brad has said he’d like to give up his Hollywood life, declaring: ‘While acting is my career, architecture is my passion.’
Back in 2006, the couple took a two-hour private focused tour of Fallingwater, led by Armstrong, who described the couple as “very gracious and very engaged in the house. As we say in the midwest, you could tell their mothers raised them right.”
“Brad said he had a visual sense of Fallingwater but experiencing it in person, hearing the sound of the waterfall cascading under the house and smelling the wood from the fireplace, was better than anything he could have imagined,” Armstrong said. During their visit, both Pitt and Jolie commented on the beauty of the winter landscape of the Laurel Highlands, where Fallingwater is located.
Completed with a guest and service wing in 1939, Fallingwater was constructed of sandstone quarried on the property and was built by local craftsmen. The stone serves to separate reinforced concrete “trays”, forming living and bedroom levels, dramatically cantilevered over the stream. Fallingwater was the weekend home of the Kaufmann family from 1937 until 1963, when the house, its contents, and grounds were presented to the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy by Edgar Kaufmann, jr. Fallingwater is the only remaining great Wright house with its setting, original furnishings, and art work intact.
In 1986, New York Times architecture critic Paul Goldberger wrote: “This is a house that summed up the 20th century and then thrust it forward still further. Within this remarkable building Frank Lloyd Wright recapitulated themes that had preoccupied him since his career began a half-century earlier, but he did not reproduce them literally. Instead, he cast his net wider, integrating European modernism and his own love of nature and of structural daring, and pulled it all together into a brilliantly resolved totality. Fallingwater is Wright’s greatest essay in horizontal space; it is his most powerful piece of structural drama; it is his most sublime integration of man and nature.”