The Barn at Fallingwater
Mill Run, Pennsylvania
“This is fantastic. It is beautiful what they kept and the interventions are very skillful. The way the project brings new up against old and makes it consistent makes it a primer for adaptive reuse. For a very delicate structure it is a very powerful muscular solution. Thankfully, they did not ride on the back of Fallingwater.”
Owned by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, the Barn is an interpretive portal to the 20 miles of trails in the 5,000-acre Bear Run nature reserve immediately adjacent to the Fallingwater site. Beyond meeting the Conservancy’s need for a Program Center and office space, the Barn embodies many material strategies of sustainable design and provides a living reminder of a largely vanished agrarian way of life in Western Pennsylvania.
The renovation focuses on preserving those portions and features that convey its cultural heritage while adapting the structure for a new function. Opting to foster a direct link to the outside and being good stewards of the environment, the upper level of the barn is left as a seasonal, unconditioned assembly area. Although presently the area is heavily programmed and fundamental to their mission, the Barn can be easily adapted for future uses, securing a long life for the structures and the local environs.
The flexibility of the Barn’s multi-purpose spaces for assembly, exhibit, and distance learning is founded upon the Conservancy’s ethic of supporting and collaborating with the community. As such, the multi-faceted program and use of retained and recycled materials truly enriches the architecture and celebrates the Barn’s agricultural heritage while educating visitors and the community on our responsibility to both the natural and man made environment.