Miami University + Fallingwater Design-Build Studio

+ Background / History

The Miami University + Fallingwater Design-Build Studio is directed and instructed by John Reynolds, Professor at Miami University Department of Architecture and Interior Design, with collaboration from:
– Michael Gibson, Assist. Professor, Kansas State University Department of Architecture

– Billy James, Bohlin Cywinsky Jackson
– Ted Wong, Shop Director, Miami University Department of Architecture and Interior Design

The Miami University + Fallingwater Design-Build Studio seeks to advance issues in environmental stewardship, sustainable design, and building craft through innovative, collaborative design and construction, publication, and symposium programming across the Design Arts. The Design-Build Studio advances the objectives of the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy’s mission to save “the places we care about by connecting people to the natural world” through Architectural, Landscape, and Interior Design using Fallingwater and its 5,000-acre nature reserve as an ever relevant, dynamic, living laboratory of sustainable lifetime learning with the design arts.

Incepted in 2003, the Design-Build Studio is a hands-on opportunity allowing students, faculty, and staff to explore sustainable design, research, publication, construction, and architectural craft practices at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater.  Studio participants work with nationally recognized design professionals and Fallingwater’s administration, staff, and surrounding communities to make Fallingwater and its setting a publicly accessible and vital experiential learning laboratory that celebrates design in harmony with nature.

Led by Professor John Reynolds, Director and Instructor, the Miami University + Fallingwater Design-Build Studio has developed a broad array of projects that to date include:

Design, fabrication, and installation of furniture for The Servant’s Sitting Room at Fallingwater.

Development of a Visiting Artist Activity Center at The Ohler Farmstead and Kirkpatrick House, including a master plan proposal, schematic design, and Historic American Building Survey Drawings of the House, Barn, Coal Shed, and Garage.

Design and development of the path system and nature observation structures at the Ohler Farmstead.

Design and development of sustainable artist housing prototypes at the Ohler Farmstead and Kirkpatrick House.

Design, Development and Construction (in progress) leading towards the adaptive reuse of two early 20th century buildings; The Bear Run School into a children’s environmental education center and The Hickman Chapel into a small scale community center including Historic American Building Survey Drawings of both sites.

Master planning and design of a new maintenance campus at Fallingwater including Historic American Building Survey Drawings of the Friend House designed in 1946 by Edgar Kaufmann Jr.

During Summer 2010, The Fallingwater Design/Build Studio focused on designing sculpture covers for the Modern Sculpture Collection between the Main and Guest Houses and a Rest Pavilion north of the Guest House with an accompanying trail system and bridge.

The Summer 2011 studio designed proposals for both New Maintenance and adaptively reconfigured maintenance facilities on 2 sites on Tissue Lane and near the entrance gate respectively.

A pair of screens was designed and built during the summer 2012 along the public drive to the Fallingwater Visitor Center. The screens were designed to shield visitors’ view of maintenance activity and parking around the maintenance complex beyond.

Project TBA during Fall 2013.

The Miami University + Fallingwater Design-Build Studio endorses and pursues Fallingwater’s mission to “demonstrate by the example of Fallingwater the powerful result that can be achieved through the harmonious union of man’s work with nature.”

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