Photo, Print, Drawing Site Evolution - Edith Farnsworth House, 14520 River Road, Plano, Kendall County, IL Drawings from Survey HABS IL-1105

About this Item

About this Item

Title
Edith Farnsworth House, 14520 River Road, Plano, Kendall County, IL
Contributor Names
Historic American Buildings Survey, creator
Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig, Architect
Created / Published
Documentation compiled after 1933
Subject Headings
-  houses
-  International Style architectural elements
-  steel structural frames
-  open plan buildings
-  women
-  flat roofs
-  vacation houses
-  leisure
-  plate glass
-  Illinois -- Kendall County -- Plano
Latitude / Longitude
41.63502,-88.53574
Notes
-  Address was originally recorded as "Fox River & Milbrook Roads" it was changed to "14520 River Road" in 2010 to more precisely record its location.
-  STORED OFF SITE AND ON SITE. mchr
-  Significance: Designed by International Style leader Ludwig Mies van der Rohe beginning in 1945-46, and constructed from 1949 to 1951, the Farnsworth House represents the apex of Mies' American career. Built as a country house for Edith Farnsworth, a single woman sympathetic to his aesthetic aims, the house comes as close as Mies ever came to achieving his vision of "beinahe nichts" or "almost nothing," the reduction of every element to its essence. In this, the Farnsworth House is the most succinct expression of the design philosophy Mies perfected in his American period; the creation of a legitimate modern architecture by fusing new industrial materials with enduring, universal principles of scale, proportion and balance. Mies' highly individual expression, codified by a generation of American students and admirers into a "style," came to dominate downtowns across the world in the second half of the twentieth century. The Farnsworth House, therefore, serves as a primer, a pellucid statement of the idea at the core of a global modern architectural movement. Sited to address the Fox River that defines the southern edge of the property, the Farnsworth House's travertine stairs lead to a low terrace, with a second set leading to an upper terrace and the enclosed living space. Four pairs of steel columns suspend this glazed space above the ground. Within, a primavera-veneered core encloses bathroom and mechanical functions. Veneered, recessed from the ceiling, and set away from the building's edges, this core appears a piece of furniture rather than a wall, maintaining a sense of universal, continuous space. More temple than home, Mies set the house into an undeveloped rural landscape along the Fox River. Plug-welds render attachments invisible and transform the house into an object of Platonic perfection set into the rural landscape, creating a powerful dichotomy between man and nature, between idea and reality. Far from a static object, the house's sliding horizontal planes reach out, engaging with their setting, while contrasting starkly with the organic shapes and rich colors of the prairie. Years before its construction, sketches and models of the Farnsworth House garnered acclaim, inspired imitators, and horrified the self-appointed defenders of the traditional home. The house has continued to serve as an icon of the International Style, the perfection of modernist design ideals. Referenced, revered or reviled, the Farnsworth House is critical to an understanding of architectural design in the second half of the twentieth century.
-  Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N1598
-  Survey number: HABS IL-1105
-  Building/structure dates: 1951 Initial Construction
-  National Register of Historic Places NRIS Number: 4000867
Medium
Photo(s): 32
Measured Drawing(s): 8
Data Page(s): 54
Photo Caption Page(s): 3
Call Number/Physical Location
HABS ILL,47-PLAN.V,1-
Source Collection
Historic American Buildings Survey (Library of Congress)
Repository
Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA http://hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/pp.print
Control Number
il0323
Rights Advisory
No known restrictions on images made by the U.S. Government; images copied from other sources may be restricted. https://www.loc.gov/rr/print/res/114_habs.html
Online Format
image
pdf

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Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Historic American Buildings Survey, Creator, and Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe. Edith Farnsworth House, 0 River Road, Plano, Kendall County, IL. Kendall County Illinois Plano, 1933. Documentation Compiled After. Photograph. https://www.loc.gov/item/il0323/.

APA citation style:

Historic American Buildings Survey, C. & Mies Van Der Rohe, L. (1933) Edith Farnsworth House, 0 River Road, Plano, Kendall County, IL. Kendall County Illinois Plano, 1933. Documentation Compiled After. [Photograph] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/il0323/.

MLA citation style:

Historic American Buildings Survey, Creator, and Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe. Edith Farnsworth House, 0 River Road, Plano, Kendall County, IL. Documentation Compiled After. Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <www.loc.gov/item/il0323/>.

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