The Farnsworth House

Topics: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Farnsworth House, International style Pages: 3 (779 words) Published: February 17, 2013
The Farnsworth House was designed and constructed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The project was commissioned in 1945 by Dr. Edith Farnsworth, a wealthy nephrologist who intent to build a special piece of modern architecture. She bought a 60-acre estate site which was located 89 km southwest of Chicago downtown for the building to be constructed. The intention of the design was to create a weekend retreat for the client to engage in her hobbies. Mies eventually created a 1500 square feet elevated steel and glass house. Mies included the design in an exhibition on his work in the Museum of Modern Art in 1947. The actual construction of the house happened between 1950 and 1951. The Farnsworth House is widely recognized by the public as an architectural masterpiece of modern architecture. It was declared as a National Historic Landmark in 2006.

The Farnsworth House adopted an elongated rectangular form like Mies’ previous project the Barcelona Pavilion. The house can be divided into two major components, the inhabited glass house and the front terrace. Two sets of steps connected the ground to terrace and then the inhabited space. The choice of construction materials in the Farnsworth House is apparent. Large ceiling to floor glass was used to wrap around the entire living space so that all internal space can be exposed to the natural surroundings with the exception of the bathrooms and mechanical room which are bounded by a central core of wall. The structural units which stretch between the ceiling and the floor slab are eight wide flange steel columns installed on the exterior of the glass house. They were painted white to define the edge of the slabs. The approach of exterior structural member ensures a maximum area of internal space.

The site context was very important to the choice of the location of the building. In this case, the intention is clear, which is to emphasize on the relationship between human and nature. The Farnsworth House was situated on...
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