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Fallingwater: The Model

Bonfilio, Paul

5 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 0847823415 / ISBN 13: 9780847823413
Published by Rizzoli Intl Pubns, New York, New York, U.S.A., 2001
New Condition: New Hardcover
From Penobscot Books (Searsport, ME, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

Not far from Pittsburgh, in Bear Run, PA, sits this most fabulous of American houses. When we visited it a few years ago, they almost had to shove us out the door -- we wanted to take possession. The house, in fact, is more wonderful than all the books about it. Still, this little book is a worthy introduction to Fallingwater, and we recommend it highly. Tip-top condition, awaiting YOU. Size: Octavo. Bookseller Inventory # 002376

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Fallingwater: The Model

Publisher: Rizzoli Intl Pubns, New York, New York, U.S.A.

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hard Cover

Book Condition:New

Dust Jacket Condition: New

About this title


An analysis of the model yields fresh insights about the house.


At first blush, the title has the same desperate ring as McDonald's: The Tofuburger or Disney: The Diaper--they couldn't think of another angle for a book about Fallingwater, the 1937 Pennsylvania house that still ranks as perhaps Frank Lloyd Wright's most famous and loved project, so they decided to do a book about the model of Fallingwater? Jeez! Such were my thoughts until I started leafing through this absolutely fascinating little book by Paul Bonfilio, the Madame Tussaud of architectural model-makers, who has created miniature reproductions of architectural landmarks (among them Johnson's Glass House, Neutra's Lovell House, and Mies's Barcelona Pavilion) for the permanent collection of NYC's Museum of Modern Art. Here, Bonfilio walks you through the process of re-creating on a Lilliputian scale this most complicated and beguiling of modernist houses--a job he completed for the MoMA in the early 1980s, only to do it again a few years later for a private commission. His painstaking narration, black-and-white photographs of each stage of the model's creation, and Ted Spagna's excellent photographs of the real house (shot expressly for Bonfilio to use in planning out his work) all work together splendidly here. Anyone who ever found satisfaction in the minutely focused process of assembling a model car or airplane will be completely absorbed by Bonfilio's quest to reproduce with unstinting detail and realism the diverse textures of Wright's masterpiece, from the complex stonework of its inner and outer walls to the dazzling sheen of the waterfall over which the front of the structure so famously perches.

But even better than that, Bonfilio's loving chronicle of taking Fallingwater apart and putting it back together again, as it were, accomplishes something that dozens of other books on this iconic house fail to do: it gets us to look at the house and its complex topography, its every elevation and surface, corner, and detail--as well as the choices, inspired and imprudent, that Wright made in designing it--with a fresh new eye. It's almost like having an investment in its original creation, figuring out step by step how to build a house around a boulder, cantilever it over a waterfall, build half the furniture right into it, and somehow make the whole thing work structurally and look drop-dead gorgeous at the same time. Oh, and the book's end papers are matched to the same Cherokee-red paint that Wright used in the house--the perfect swaddling for this unexpectedly delightful little volume's embarrassment of riches. --Timothy Murphy

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Penobscot Books is a seven room premier bookstore located in Searsport, ME, at the top of Penobscot Bay. The owners, Howard and Kate La Rue, created a bookstore that they felt like they would like to visit and numerous customers feel the same.

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