March 28, 2006

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LEWISBURG, Pa. — John Matteo will give the talk, "Fallingwater: Structural Preservation for a Work of Art," April 3 at 7:30 p.m. in the Forum of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell University.

Matteo is an associate with Robert Silman Associates (RSA) of New York City and Washington, D.C., a leading engineering firm with an international reputation in the preservation of historic structures.

He has served as project manager or engineer for several notable restoration projects, including the Museum of Immigration at Ellis Island, the U.S. Supreme Court and Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater.

The daring, reinforced concrete, cantilevered terraces of Fallingwater have been the source of controversy and distress from the time of construction to the present day. The cantilevers sagged excessively and cracks appeared in the concrete immediately after construction.

A monitoring program conducted by Robert Silman Associates (RSA) in the 1990s determined that the cantilevers were continuing to sag and would ultimately collapse. RSA was hired to perform a complete engineering analysis of the structure and design permanent repairs. The repairs, entirely hidden from view beneath the floors, were completed in 2003.

"John worked extensively on all phases of the Fallingwater restoration and his talk will be of interest to a wide audience," said Steve Buonopane, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Bucknell and one of three faculty coordinators of the series.

Educated at Tufts University and Princeton University and as a Fulbright scholar in Switzerland, Matteo has taught as an adjunct faculty at Columbia and University of Virginia.

The talk, which is free to the public, is the final event in the Science, Technology and Society Colloquium series, "The Elegant Equation: Engineering and the Art of Architecture."

For more information about the series, see

Fallingwater was completed in 1937 in southwestern Pennsylvania, sited above a waterfall as the summer retreat of Pittsburgh's Kaufmann family. In 1991, the structure was named by the American Institute of Architects as the best work ever produced by an American architect, and it is widely considered one of the world's most significant buildings. Since 1963 Fallingwater has been operated as a museum by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy and visited by more than two million people.


Story posted March 27, 2006


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