Carnegie Mellon University

Students at Fallingwater

December 16, 2019

Hands-on Engineering Mechanics: Fallingwater

Students in Tom Leech’s Engineering Mechanics class recently traveled to Fallingwater for a lecture and tour summarizing the history and architecture of the famous Frank Lloyd Wright property.

The annual trip gives students the opportunity to visualize Fallingwater’s structure—and the maintenance needed to keep the building sound as well as understand the engineering principles utilized in the unique home’s construction.

Student Zizhuo Zhang stated that seeing the house was a great opportunity. “It’s a fantastic structure in engineering and helped me to understand my [class assignment] better.” A lecture prior to the tour provided information via a model structure of Fallingwater to explore the engineering processes used to develop the house.

The Engineering Mechanics class is geared toward students without prior experience in the subjects—they’re taught principles of force equilibrium, Hookes Law, and geometric compatibly to solve a wide range of engineering problems.

At Fallingwater, student Yanyu Wan saw first-hand how reinforcement and repairing works were implemented to salvage cantilevers—a direct connection to lessons learned in the classroom. And Medinat Alhindele mentioned the benefits of learning about the post-tensioning process.

Fellow student Rachel Mole added that the experience helped her to visualize what happened at Fallingwater and how repairs were completed.

The hands-on learning experiences offered by CEE engage students and provide them with visual learning opportunities that benefit them both now and in the future, according to CEE Department Head Dave Dzombak.

Leech adds that the trip creates a sense of camaraderie amongst his students. “The trip was a success –it is a bonding experience for the students as well as a very educational outing.”