Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

A Lego Tribute To Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater

Fallingwater

I wonder what Frank Lloyd Wright would think of his work being replicated in Lego. I suspect he'd be amused, then recoil at the notion of his designs reconstructed in mass-produced plastic and displayed on Ikea bookshelves around the globe.

When I was a kid, playing with Lego usually involved pouring the entire box onto a floor and building something original. These days, the company has realized that selling generic boxes of bits isn't the most profitable approach, especially when there are billions of pre-owned Lego pieces already in circulation.

Consequently, the Danish block builders now market elaborate kits filled with correctly colored and sized pieces to ensure that your creations don't end up unintentionally resembling rainbow mosaics. It's an approach my 7-year-old appreciates, although he's more interested in space ships and cars than famous buildings. However, Lego's Architect Series is an excellent way to attract vintage kids back into the block building fold.

Fallingwater is seen by many as Wright's masterpiece. Perched atop a waterfall in rural Pennsylvania, it is a brilliant example of organic design, integrating nature and architecture to create one of the most unforgettable residences in the world.

Fallinglego

The house is open for public tours, but a rushed visit isn't the best way to experience the majestic wonder of this landmark. The site curators recently introduced the Fallingwater InsightOnsite program, a three-day seminar which gives you the time to explore and experience the building with up to seven other participants. Prices start at $1195 (double occupancy), although they're fully booked for 2010.

If that's beyond your budget, The Lego Fallingwater kit measures 10" wide and includes 811 pieces. It includes a booklet with facts about the residence, its construction and history. And it's available on Amazon for a much more reasonable $105.

Lego designer Adam Reed Tucker says, "This model underwent a total of 14 design concepts as it delicately incorporates a unique pull-apart interactive feature. Unlike the first 5 models in the LEGO Architecture series which are static by design, I wanted to explore the use of the LEGO Brick even further by expressing the dynamic nature of Fallingwater; with this in mind I was able to have sections of the model slide out.

The design challenge was in figuring out how to cleverly disguise, in an almost puzzle-like design where the model comes apart without distorting one of Mr. Wright’s most recognizable achievements. Another design concern was how to carefully balance the playful nature of the river, waterfall, woods, and bridge that embrace and define Fallingwater. These subtle details give Fallingwater context, without which it would not be possible to truly illustrate its beautiful, sensitive and thoughtful design."

[Thanks to DC Hillier for suggesting this post]

Visit The Official Fallingwater Site

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