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Fallingwater offers exclusive access to famed home (Reuters)
Sep 26, 2009

Fans of Frank Lloyd Wright's house Fallingwater have long been able to visit the architect's modernist masterpiece as a museum, but soon they can enjoy the house almost as if they were living in it. In the coming months, curators of the house built amid a waterfall in the leafy Laurel Highlands of western Pennsylvania will offer a new program, Insight Onsite at Fallingwater, where visitors will spend one full day and two evenings at the residence, enjoying the house as it was intended. While regular visitors are whisked through the iconic house in guided tours lasting about one hour, those at the Insight Onsite program can lounge about reading, engage in interesting conversations on the terraces, have a cocktail by the fireplace, write a personal letter at a desk and enjoy a lively dinner party. Regular visitors pay $18 admission but the more intimate experience comes with a more exclusive price tag -- $1,195. "It's a different experience of the house when you are here by yourself than when you are with a group of people," Fallingwater Director Lynda Waggoner said in her office, nestled at the back of the house. "We'd like to be able to share that." Up to eight people will arrive in the evening and be given an in-depth tour and then sleep overnight, not in Fallingwater itself but in a newer four-bedroom home built on the grounds for the accountant of the family which owned the property. The next morning visitors have the morning to lounge around the house and grounds, have lunch on the terraces, have more time alone to do as you wish and then have a dinner party at the house with curators and a guest, perhaps a leading figure in the architecture community. Waggoner said the program would appeal to those with a passion for architecture. "It's a compete experience of nature and art. This is the tree house you always wanted to live it," she said. "The goal here is to provide the best experience we can of the house without sleeping in the house." Curators unsuccessfully attempted to launch the program earlier this year as a mid-week program since the house is normally closed on Wednesdays. But those who expressed an interest said they wanted to attend on the weekend rather than midweek. Now curators are finalizing weekend dates for the debut program, perhaps in December or in early March when the house is normally closed. Fallingwater was built for Pittsburgh department store owner Edgar Kaufmann Sr., whose son briefly studied architecture under Wright. More than 4 million people have visited the house, about 90 minutes from Pittsburgh, where leaders of the Group of 20 leading rich and developing countries were meeting at a summit Thursday and Friday. The house features an innovative cantilevered design, with terraces and floors extending over the waterfall, meaning that while the sound of water can be heard throughout the house, you have to go outside to actually see the waterfall. Built in the 1930s at the height of the Great Depression, the house cost $155,000, or about $2.3 million when adjusted for inflation. (Editing by Patricia Reaney)

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