La Casa De La Cascada
September 10, 2007 4:52 PM   Subscribe

Falling Water a short computer graphic movie featuring the Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece
posted by vronsky (47 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Previously. (Similar, but not a double.)
posted by Dave Faris at 5:09 PM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Cool! Any idea what piece he used for the soundtrack?
posted by JohnFredra at 5:12 PM on September 10, 2007


You didn't make it to the end credits, I guess. "The Moldau," by Bedrich Smetana.
posted by Dave Faris at 5:18 PM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


Very pretty, BUT(*)

Look at any ordinary movie. Count how many seconds during the movie the camera is in motion vs. how long it is not movingl.
Compare that with CG films, even a beautiful one like this'n.

Do you think CG filmmakers have hit on a gimmick ordinary filmmakers have overlooked? Or is CONSTANT CAMERA MOTION a REAL PAIN IN THE EYEBUTT?

(Also, we know it's Smetena's the Moldau. It's beautiful and works wonderfully in the piece. But it's still the Isreali national anthem, and Arabs will hate you for it. And that jew Frank Lloyd Wright too :) )

(*)"Everyone has a big but. What's your big but?" Pee-Wee Herman.
posted by hexatron at 5:23 PM on September 10, 2007


that woulda been the place to look, yup. Thanks Dave.
posted by JohnFredra at 5:28 PM on September 10, 2007


WTF, hexatron?
posted by fandango_matt at 5:38 PM on September 10, 2007


And the best part is those virtual flat roofs probably don't leak like real flat roofs.

Wright's buildings are indeed beautiful, in some cases almost achingly so, but there was a distinct lack of practicality. The one comment I remember about FallingWater is that it was Wright's way of saying to the trendsetters of his time, "OK, you want a flat roof? THIS is how you do a flat roof."

Also, that he had asked his clients what they liked best about the property, they mentioned a particular boulder they liked to picnic on near the waterfall. Yup, FallingWater is built right on top of that boulder, ensuring that there would never be another picnic atop it again.
posted by localroger at 5:41 PM on September 10, 2007 [2 favorites]


And the best part is those virtual flat roofs probably don't leak like real flat roofs.

LOL, I was in that same area, thinking.... "God, can you imagine how much the owners would have to spend on roofing that damn place?" Leaks would be a constant problem.

Flat roofs suck. Unless you're made of money, avoid them.
posted by Malor at 5:54 PM on September 10, 2007


Flat roofs leak, true. It's also true that plaster cracks. Maybe Michaelangelo should have painted on black velvet, instead.

My point being that it is still one of the most beautiful houses of all time, even if the technology hadn't yet caught up to his design.

Are you gonna complain about the state of the plumbing in the Villa Adriana?
posted by bashos_frog at 6:13 PM on September 10, 2007


Flat roofs are probably one of the reasons FLW ended up in Arizona. No rain, no problem. Quit complainin', Buffalo!
posted by kuujjuarapik at 6:13 PM on September 10, 2007


posted by localrogerThe one comment I remember about FallingWater is that it was Wright's way of saying to the trendsetters of his time, "OK, you want a flat roof? THIS is how you do a flat roof."

I think that has less to do with Wright's design and more to do with the construction and the materials used.

posted by localroger Also, that he had asked his clients what they liked best about the property, they mentioned a particular boulder they liked to picnic on near the waterfall. Yup, FallingWater is built right on top of that boulder, ensuring that there would never be another picnic atop it again.

I'm not sure that's accurate. If I remember correctly from my architectural history courses, the Kaufmanns asked Wright to incorporate the boulder into his design, so he build the house around the boulder--it's the boulder in the middle of the living room, near the fireplace.

They also requested a view of he waterfall, but Wright ignored this request and defended his design by saying, "You'll get tired of looking at the waterfall, but you'll never get tired of hearing it."

posted by Malor Flat roofs suck. Unless you're made of money, avoid them.

Actually, flat roofs are generally the cheapest and easiest to build and maintain.
posted by fandango_matt at 6:19 PM on September 10, 2007


Flat roofs suck. Unless you're made of money, avoid them.

Actually, flat roofs are generally the cheapest and easiest to build and maintain.


Exactly. I'm not sure about the long-term maintenance and costs, but if you really think about it, just about every fucking industrial/commercial/instituitional/educational/non-residential building in the world has flat roofs. With how long flat roofs have been around to establish how worthy they are, I can't see why any of those notoriously penny-pinchy areas of construction opting to do anything that would cause them to spend more money. Also, "flat" roofs need to have a certain amount of slope per code, and per membrane manufacturers' guarantees. It's quite possible that Frank didn't meet that slope, or any number of other design flaws, since he was notoriously ignorant of construction reality. Flat roofs, properly designed and installed, can work fine.
posted by LionIndex at 6:34 PM on September 10, 2007


Everything about this CG was well done. Though, in my opinion the brick walls scaling up from 0 to 100 percent was a major screwup on the artist's part. I'm sure there is a particle system out there that could have visually constructed the walls brick by brick.

Being the huge Lloyd Wright fan that I am, I absolutely love the filmaker's subject matter. That's the closest I've ever come to "seeing" Falling Water. Makes me more than ever want to see the real thing before I die.

If I can ever afford to build my own house from the ground up, FLW will be my main inspiration.
posted by strontiumdog at 6:40 PM on September 10, 2007


Hard to believe it was designed and built in the 30's. Frank Lloyd Wright's buildings might have flaws and structural problems now, but he was doing things 50 years before their time, pushing the technology, with mixed results. Still, he was a genius and a visionary.
posted by Dave Faris at 6:47 PM on September 10, 2007


(Also, we know it's Smetena's the Moldau. It's beautiful and works wonderfully in the piece. But it's still the Israeli national anthem, and Arabs will hate you for it. And that jew Frank Lloyd Wright too :) )

Wright was a Unitarian but the owners of the house were Jewish and the house probably wouldn't have existed if they weren't. The Kaufmanns, who commissioned the house, owned the biggest department store in Pittsburgh (which just got renamed Macy's this year) but were not allowed to join the same country clubs that the other millionaires belonged to so they had to build their own.
posted by octothorpe at 6:50 PM on September 10, 2007


There was a news item a few years ago that mentioned the extensive renovation that needed to be done to Falling Water's main level.

Falling Water Restoration

I don't know how ignorant FLW was of construction reality, but I wonder if the problems cited in this article have more to do with the numbers of people visiting Falling Water than with any ignorance of structural engineering.
posted by strontiumdog at 6:51 PM on September 10, 2007


This is great. I love this building, but have never been able to do a flyover before. Unfortunately FLW was a better architect than engineer. Falling Water is/was falling down. The huge cantilevers were bending, and a huge reconstruction project was undertaken to save the structure.
posted by Gungho at 6:54 PM on September 10, 2007


It's tragic that the filmmaker didn't include any flythroughs of the interior beyond the token glimpse that he included. Didn't FLW also design furnishings to complement the house itself? Not to mention that the inside of the house is a large part of what the human experience of Falling Water is and to forget that is a disservice.
posted by ooga_booga at 6:58 PM on September 10, 2007


Envane
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:12 PM on September 10, 2007


That was lovely, thank you. I've always been intrigued by the Falling Water house. I once made an animated gif from a picture of the house, to make it look like the water was moving. Needless to say, this movie is so much more satisfying.
posted by amyms at 7:14 PM on September 10, 2007


Not everyone is thrilled with FLW:
Simple question: Would you want to live in one of his houses? I wouldn't, for two main reasons. Most important is the way a Frank Lloyd Wright house never becomes your home; instead, you move in and become the curator of one branch of the Frank Lloyd Wright museum. You're just the custodian in a monument to his genius. For the other, I wouldn't want to be in charge of (let alone pay for) the upkeep. Wright couldn't resist trying out innovative building techniques -- which has meant in practice that many of his houses are in semi-constant need of expensive repair.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:16 PM on September 10, 2007


Okay--here's my previous post, translated into dullese:

CG made the incredible flying camera possible and fairly simple to implement. It did not make it mandatory. Camera motion is generally a substitute for 'nothing to say'. But in this case, a few STILL IMAGES of the building that let the viewer ORIENT and SEE the (quite amazing) STRUCTURE would have been welcome. Like if someone who thought about the structure of film had worked on it.

The Moldau (the music) is prohibited in various ME countries because of its association with Israel. FLW was not a jew, but once the mud starts flying, it flies in all directions--and mostly in the least appropriate ones.

And PeeWee is a grossly underrated philosopher. In the spirit of Mel Brooks History of the World, a "stand-up philosopher."
posted by hexatron at 7:19 PM on September 10, 2007


Kirth Gerson -- yes! There are many anecdotes about FLW buildings leaking, sagging, and otherwise being "high maintenance." My mind was on it though because the building where I work, a plain industrial 100 by 200 foot square box, has a flat roof. Got some damage from katrina (no flooding though). Got some roofers to "fix" it for $20K. Fix resulted in rain inside the building. Ruined several computers, carpets, stacks of paperwork, etc. My employers are now spending around $100K to get it done right with polyurethane foam.

Looking at FallingWater I see all kinds of problems with, well, potential falling water. As in inside. I wouldn't have built it that way no matter how pretty it is if I intended to live in it. (And yes, I am designing a radically strange house myself, so I'm up on the subject.)
posted by localroger at 7:44 PM on September 10, 2007


Oh, and while it's not at anything like the resolution of the video, there's a pretty good rendering of FallingWater available for the DesignWorkShop architectural CAD system; the free version (DWS 'Lite') won't let you make edits but it will let you do a walkthrough.
posted by localroger at 7:51 PM on September 10, 2007


I have nothing intelligent to say about Frank Lloyd Wright or architecture, except that I've always felt like a dork because I generally haven't likely the buildings of his that I've been exposed to. (I think exclusively in the form of little models in museums.) But, having seen this, I get it now. It's astonishing. Thank you vronsky.

(hex: why do we give a fuck what some prejudiced fucks fucking prohibit?)
posted by ~ at 7:55 PM on September 10, 2007


liked(notly)
posted by ~ at 7:57 PM on September 10, 2007


Words fail me.

OK, does it seem a bit self-regarding and presumptuous to try and second-guess one of the most universally highly regarded architects of the previous century? Millenium? "I wouldn't have built it that way... and yes I am up on the subject?" Oh, did you read a book, then?

Copeland, FANFARE FOR THE COMMON MAN - "I wouldn't have written it that way - too loud and brassy. Gives me a headache."

Hemingway - THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA - "Geez, it's too much philosophizing. Would have been better with a big whale attacking in it. I coulda wrote it better."

Tarantino - RESEVOIR DOGS - "Why are all those guys named after colors? That seems highly unlikely to me. Maybe they could have been named more normal."
posted by newdaddy at 8:25 PM on September 10, 2007


If you ever get a chance to see one in person, take it. Models and plans don't do them justice.
Heck, even seeing them in person doesn't do some of them justice, since the landscape around them has changed so much (e.g. Robie House).
posted by bashos_frog at 8:29 PM on September 10, 2007


If you are going to go to Fallingwater, which is way worth it, you should try to see the other FLW house which is nearby - Kentuck Knob. Yeah, the web site is a little cheesy, but still -
posted by newdaddy at 8:37 PM on September 10, 2007


newdaddy: Architecture get criticism that most art forms don't because there rarely are examples of "pure" art. The Mona Lisa is a painting, and as such is pure art it serves no purpose but to be a work of art.

Buildings have a purpose, whether to serve as a residence or a museum. If they do not serve that function, they do not become less of an art piece, but they are a less functional building.

Architecture seems like a terribly difficult art. Artistic vision must be compromised at the outset. How much to compromise for the sake of usability is the matter at hand. No one here appears to be doubting Wright's art.
posted by zabuni at 8:42 PM on September 10, 2007


newdaddy, your observation is actually one of the criticisms discussed in Keen's book The Cult of the Amateur. The Internet has empowered anyone and everyone to be a critic, and it has created culturally laughable results. It's like a reporter doing a "man on the streets", picking random people and asking their opinion on an expert topic. I think David Letterman used to do that as part of his shtick.
posted by stbalbach at 8:58 PM on September 10, 2007


you move in and become the curator of one branch of the Frank Lloyd Wright museum.

There's a Wright Usonian house a couple miles away from me, and I've visited it a couple times. It was built on another site but when Route 66 was making its way through Fairfax County, Virginia, it was saved, and moved, piece by piece to Woodlawn Plantation, not far from Mount Vernon. The place is pretty tiny, and I'm always struck at how inflexible the design is, and how subservient he expected his patrons to be to his ideals. Still, I'd love the opportunity to try and live in the place.
posted by Dave Faris at 9:12 PM on September 10, 2007


I... I want to play Quake there.
posted by damehex at 9:13 PM on September 10, 2007 [1 favorite]


That's some fuckin' neat shit.
posted by spilon at 9:40 PM on September 10, 2007


@localroger

Posting images or sketches of your home would be fantastic. Not because I want to bash, but because I want to be inspired to take my first baby steps in that direction.
posted by strontiumdog at 9:53 PM on September 10, 2007


I... I want to play Quake there.

Will Half-Life 2 do ya?
posted by arto at 10:17 PM on September 10, 2007


newdaddy, I get your point, but give me a break.

To compare Tarantino, who really is little more than a plagiaristic hack, to Hemingway and Frank Lloyd Wright seems a bit overstated.

At least FLW, Copeland and Hemingway were trying to create something original. Tarantino mostly makes incredibly elaborate pieces of cut-up fan fiction.
posted by MythMaker at 10:30 PM on September 10, 2007


bashos_frog: "If you ever get a chance to see one in person, take it. Models and plans don't do them justice.
Heck, even seeing them in person doesn't do some of them justice, since the landscape around them has changed so much (e.g. Robie House).
"

It's more than just seeing it, you need to hear and feel and smell it. You don't get a feel for how amazingly it's integrated into the hillside and waterfall until you tour it.
posted by octothorpe at 3:41 AM on September 11, 2007


strontiumdog -- I'm in the process of porting it to DesignWorkshop right now so I can double check all the relationships. But I can give you my inspiration; next month I'll be returning to Eve's Garden, which is one of the few places in the country where you can just pay to stay in a room made of papercrete.
posted by localroger at 5:28 AM on September 11, 2007


OK OK, let me try again;

"CITIZEN KANE - that thing was freakin' great. It was the stuff. Except that thing about the sled - man, that was out of left field. What was that all about? And if I made that movie, I would have put up the extra mo to get it done in color."
posted by newdaddy at 5:42 AM on September 11, 2007


newdaddy, you are not getting the point. Nobody is denying that FLW designed structures of extraordinary grace and beauty. The problem is, architecture is not just about pretty; it's about working. No matter how pretty a building is if it cannot serve its function, if it cannot keep the elements out, if it cannot accommodate the human traffic or weight loads that it needs to, then it is a failure. That is the primary consideration which must be attended to before you assess aesthetic issues.

It is not my personal judgement but something I've read from numerous sources that FLW has a weak record with regard to practical matters. No his buildings aren't abject failures, but he did stretch material science and construction technology to its limits and his clients often had a hard time as a result.

A much better example is the Johnson Wax building, which nearly everybody agrees is one of the most beautiful indoor spaces ever created by humans -- and which also leaked like a sieve until a rather expensive solution was found. Wright is fortunate that his client was on the page with him, but it seems he created a lot of avoidable problems by not paying attention to basic things like water seals, thermal expansion, and drainage.

So to put it another way, it's not that I'm knocking the Mona Lisa, it's that I'd be complaining if it was painted with water-soluble paint on the wall of a leaky plaster basement.
posted by localroger at 6:09 AM on September 11, 2007


Like The Last Supper?
posted by Dave Faris at 7:12 AM on September 11, 2007


From what I remember reading about FLW's houses, someone once commented that there was little closet space. Great for magazine layouts, lousy for living.
posted by Tacodog at 3:05 PM on September 11, 2007


Yeah Tacodog, you can even see that in the FallingWater walkthrough; there isn't any storage space. While that kind of failure isn't in the same realm as leaking and falling down, you have to consider it too. Really, as a beautiful space from which to experience its surroundings it succeeds, but as an actual house to live in, raise children, have a hobby, and stuff like that it is a failure. And although it's pleasant to be able to drive up and tour it without an appointment, the fact that that is possible kind of proves my other point.
posted by localroger at 5:57 PM on September 11, 2007


Flat roofs are not flat, they have a slope to drain the water out. Most of the world has flat roofs in rainy regions with no problem.

All I could think while watching the video is how incredibly cool it would be to live there, if I could do with it as I wanted.

It would be full of fishtanks and terrariums, with all kinds of mosses and ferns growing on the moist rocks, with a DIY coca cola bottle irrigation system.

I'd have a couple of plastic lawn chairs, a reading light, and a beer cooler in the little platform over the water, and one of those inflatable crocodiles floating in the river. Scrape the cooler, just tether a milk crate to one of the posts, river-cooled beer and wine.

Very dark curtains to be able to sleep until 3:00 p.m., or watch movies in a huge ass projector screen.

A nice charcoal grill on the roof terrace, and another beer cooler. Wait, a tin roof on 4 posts to have an open air kitchen on the terrace. That would rock. And the house would be full of little desks for my different hobbies, and stuff in boxes. Lots of containers everywhere.

But it being a FLW house, living there must feel like living in a temple. And that sucks.

Regarding storage space, my father is an architect, and for 35 years he has continually increased the size of the closets. They are never enough. It is one of the never ending battles between architect and homeowner. (Another one being color, he paints the houses whatever color he likes, makes photographs, and then paints it back to whatever combination of neon green and deep violet the client wants)
posted by Dataphage at 9:52 PM on September 11, 2007


Interesting, localroger.

Thanks for the link
posted by strontiumdog at 6:53 PM on September 12, 2007


"RESEVOIR DOGS - "Why are all those guys named after colors?"

cuz he stole that from The Taking of Pelham One Two Three
posted by vronsky at 9:03 PM on September 13, 2007


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