Inspired by: Farnsworth House

Fall is taking residence here in Illinois and the trees have slowly changed color…rusty reds, yellows and browns, it’s all so beautiful. The cold weather is an invitation to bake and stay warm but we also love strolling and collecting nature bits with our daughter. Observing nature up-close is a privilege for kids like us who’ve spent their entire adult lives in bustling cities. Our stay here in Urbana is only temporary so we’re enjoying it as much as we can.

Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois came to my mind as the perfect example of living with nature’s colors. Literally. A glass box surrounded by trees, nature takes an active part in its decor. The house has been replicated around the Globe and further helped establish Mies van der Rohe as one of the greatest architects of the 20th century. The best part is that it’s now a museum, open to the public (and our next local destination!).

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“Designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1945 and constructed in 1951, the Farnsworth House is a vital part of American iconography, an exemplary representation of both the International Style of architecture as well as the modern movement’s desire to juxtapose the sleek, streamline design of Modern structure with the organic environment of the surrounding nature.”

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“Mies constructed this glass box residence of “almost nothing” for Dr. Edith Farnsworth as a country retreat along the Fox River in Plano, IL. It continued to be a private residence for over 50 years until Landmarks Illinois and the National Trust for Historic Preservation purchased it in 2003. Today it is owned and managed by the Trust and the site is open as a public museum.”

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“The significance of the Farnsworth House was recognized even before it was built. In 1947 a model of the Farnsworth House was exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Describing it, along with the unbuilt Resor House, as a “radical departure from his last European domestic projects,” Philip Johnson noted that it went further than the Resor house in its expression of the floating volume: “The Farnsworth house with its continuous glass walls is an even simpler interpretation of an idea. Here the purity of the cage is undisturbed. Neither the steel columns from which it is suspended nor the independent floating terrace break the taut skin.” “

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“In the actual construction, the aesthetic idea was progressively refined and developed through the choices of materials, colors and details. While subsequent debates and lawsuits sometimes questioned the practicality and livability of its design, the Farnsworth House would increasingly be considered, by architects and scholars alike, to constitute one of the crystallizing and pivotal moments of Mies van der Rohe’s long artistic career.”  via 

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  1. October 24, 2017 / 4:41 pm

    I enjoyed this Eva and had forgotten about this home. It reminds me of Philip Johnson’s Glass House in Connecticut which I believe was built at about the same time. The setting is beautiful in both homes. Thanks very much for sharing–we might need to plan a road trip soon!

    • Eva Contreras
      October 24, 2017 / 6:01 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed today’s post, Elizabeth! It is true, Philip Johnson loved Farnsworth house so much he designed a similar one for himself… I’ve not seen either yet, but am looking forward to seeing Farnsworth 🙂