Ethos Erlanger's First Virtual Life© Blog

Building in Virtual Worlds

Fallingwater – How It Came To Be Virtual

Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1935, Fallingwater was built over Bear Run in the hills of Western Pennsylvania for Edgar J. Kaufmann.

In Second Life it is a dream come true for two ardent fans of Frank Lloyd Wright. Lox Salomon first built a model on his own land in Svan at a scale of 1:1. It became apparent that most residents in Second Life would bump their head on the low ceiling in the living room. To build it to a larger scale would require more land than Lox had in one parcel.

Ethos Erlanger, another admirer of FLW, wanted to do this model as well, but thought surely it must have already been done. Being the most visited house museum in the United States, how could Second Life be without a true to life model of Fallingwater?

His search found more than one house that looked like or was actually called Fallingwater. But in truth, they were not up to his expectations.

Where were the iconic Cherokee Red windows and doors?

Where was the one of a kind stone niche that cradled the wine kettle that is not seen anywhere other than in a Frank Lloyd Wright home?


After a conversation about his wish to do a faithful rendition of Fallingwater in Second Life, Ethos knew that Lox was the ally he needed. Now came the other challenge they both faced. Where to build it? Second Life land and the monthly maintenance on that land is not cheap. Where? How? What made him even consider asking anyone to lend them their land to build Fallingwater of Second Life?

Fate led him to a chance meeting with an art museum owner. Ethos chose to ask Cecilia Delacroix after only meeting her once. And to his delight, she pulled a photo of another Fallingwater out of her inventory. Cecilia appreciated what it would mean to have a faithful rendering of Fallingwater located in the surroundings of her campus of art museums. She agreed to be the benefactor needed to realize their dream.

Lox did most of the building. Ethos became the helper, cheerleader, and promoter. In Second Life it is not a straightforward task to have two builders build on the same project. Ethos did the best he could. He did the bridgework that crosses Bear Run to the East of the house.

Lox created custom textures for the doors and windows. He tweaked and fiddled with textures to get them to look just like the real thing. Ethos fiddled with prim placement. But in the end, Lox did the heavy lifting.

Ethos found enjoyment in searching for other talent in Second Life. Lox needed the sliding hatch cover to move slowly and smoothly. Ethos wanted the bifold doors and windows to be realistic. So off he went to find a scripter. In second Life it is the scripts that make things move. At the simple touch of an avatar’s hand, doors and windows open. Even the wine kettle rotates into position over the fire. But the realism found in these items is the artistry of Ty Jaehun.

Having studied Fallingwater in Real Life, Ty was intrigued by the idea of becoming involved and soon the challenge of the hatch cover was hers. Ethos had already commissioned one version of the scripted bifold doors and windows. But that script snapped the doors into position too quickly. Ethos wanted a smooth action.

Again Ty comes through with what may be one of the most unique applications of scripting in Second Life. Certainly Ethos had not found a bifold door anywhere in Second Life before this.

You can visit Fallingwater of Second Life. You can walk through the living room and hear the relentless sound of Bear Run as it breaks over the waterfall below the house.

Through the hatch that covers the stairs to Bear Run, you can walk down and step off into the stream. The sound of the splashing water reflects off the bridge and house walls.

This is Fallingwater of Second Life.


One Response to “Fallingwater – How It Came To Be Virtual”

  1. Tray Guisse said

    Very nice job, I was going to do a scale build my self of falling waters but decided to do a tribute build instead.

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