Farnsworth House / by JC Buck

© JC Buck 2015

Recently, Liz and I made plans to visit the iconic Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois. The Farnsworth House is a significant American architectural landmark today, owned and operated as a museum by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

It’s likely to be part of thousands of people’s Pinterest boards labeled “Dream House” as it is for me. Some day whether it is a home within nature or a condo in the sky, I want to live in an all glass and steel structure. I am energized by the transparency of them. For me, nothing is worse than the boxes we so often to put ourselves in.

© JC Buck 2015

 

The Farnsworth house was designed by architect Mies van der Rohe in 1945 and constructed in 1951 for his client Dr. Edith Farnsworth, a very successful Chicago based nephrologist. For most of its time the house was a private residence and used as a vacation home.

Today, the Farnsworth House is a museum representing a significant movement in American modernist architecture. I encourage you to visit the Farnsworth website to learn more and while there, click over to the National Trust. Also, subscribe to the their digital magazine, Preservation (its free!). I leave you with some quotes that summarize what the Farnsworth House is all about. 

© JC Buck 2015

…one of the most famous examples of modernist domestic architecture and was unprecedented in its day. It is representative of mid-century modernism’s attempt to reduce architectonic expression to as few elements as possible while increasing the transparency of the enclosure, thus erasing all the usual boundaries between interior and exterior. The importance of the house lies in the absolute purity and consistency of its architectural idea. The house appears as a figure of Platonic perfection against a complementary ground of informal landscape. This Landscape is an integral aspect of Mies van der Rohe’s aesthetic conception.

— National Historic Landmark Designation

© JC Buck 2015

Every physical element has been distilled to its irreducible essence. The interior is unprecedentedly transparent to the surrounding site, and also unprecedentedly uncluttered in itself. All of the paraphernalia of traditional living – rooms, walls, doors, interior trim, loose furniture, pictures on walls, even personal possessions – have been virtually abolished in a puritanical vision of simplified, transcendental existence. Mies had finally achieved a goal towards which he had been feeling his way for three decades.
— Maritz Vandenburg, Historian

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