Patkau Architects win Fallingwater design competition

Patkau Architects of Vancouver is the winner of Fallingwater’s first-ever design competition for on-site cottages that will support residential educational programming at the Frank Lloyd Wright masterwork in Fayette County, Pennsylvania. The second-place winner of the competition is Phoenix, Arizona-based Wendell Burnette Architects, and Olson Kundig Architects of Seattle, Washington has been chosen as the third-place winner.


Patkau Architects’ winning design for six small efficient and sustainable cottages will serve as the basis of a final design, to be implemented following regulatory approval and fundraising.


“In its subtlety, it is provocative and it carries forward the discourse about where architecture can move,” the jury said of the winning design. “Its strength is not just in what is included, but in what is left out.”


The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, which preserves and maintains Fallingwater, will build the cottages on the grounds of the 5,000-acre Bear Run Nature Reserve that surrounds Fallingwater, some distance from the house itself. The design competition is the first that Fallingwater has sponsored for construction of new buildings on-site. The new cottages will serve an important outreach goal by expanding lodging capacity for participants in Fallingwater Institute’s diverse educational programs. These unique, immersive educational offerings are tailored to broad age levels and interests – and to people from the Western Pennsylvania region and beyond.


Patkau Architects was among six firms chosen by a preliminary selection committee to participate in a design competition of ideas supported through a grant from the Fine Foundation. Participants developed designs for low-maintenance, energy-efficient cottages that should create a sense of community and become a benchmark for the design, construction and operation of small-scale green housing. In addition to using environmentally friendly building materials, the firms’ designs took advantage of natural heating and cooling opportunities to minimize environmental impacts. Each included a basic kitchen, fireplace and shower, and incorporated recycling of kitchen and grey water for use in toilets.


The designs of the six firms will be displayed in an exhibit, Design Competition: New Cottages at Fallingwater, at the Carnegie Museum of Art’s Heinz Architectural Center from June 12 to August 22, 2010. In addition to the above mentioned firms, the remaining three remaining firms are: Saucier + Perrotte Architectes, Montreal, Quebec; MacKay-Lyons Sweetapple Architects, Halifax, Nova Scotia; and Marlon Blackwell Architect, Fayetteville, Arkansas.


The jury was comprised of: David DeLong, architect and author, emeritus professor of architecture, University of Pennsylvania and member of the Fallingwater Advisory Committee; Edward Feiner, FAIA, principal, Will+Perkins, Washington, and former Chief Architect GSA; Reed Kroloff, architect and critic, director of the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Michigan, former editor of Architecture, and former dean of the Tulane School of Architecture; Raymund Ryan, architect and curator of The Heinz Architectural Center, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Lord Peter Palumbo, patron of the arts and architecture, chair of the Pritzker Architecture Prize jury and chairman of the Trustees of the Serpentine Gallery, London; Joshua Whetzel III, a supporter of green building and sustainable development who was instrumental in the creation of the Green Building Alliance, and a member of the Fallingwater Advisory Committee and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy Board of Directors; and Lynda Waggoner, director of Fallingwater and vice president, Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. John Reynolds, professor of architecture, Miami University of Ohio, served as the competition advisor.


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