The Farnsworth House: A Modern Icon with a Minimalist Living Room

Today we are going to talk about a modern icon of the Modernist architecture: The Farnsworth House. Designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1945 and constructed in 1951 with the purpose of being a weekend retreat, the Farnsworth House is a platonic perfection of order gently placed in spontaneous nature in Plano, Illinois.

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Take a look and get inspired!

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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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The Farnsworth House is almost puritanical in its construction with simplified living quarters; it was the intent of Mies for the house to lack walls, trim, or personal possessions.

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The interiors are spare, with a central box of marine-grade ply and Primavera wood concealing a closet and bathroom; a narrow kitchen, bedroom, and living space surround it.

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The structure of the Farnsworth House is made of eight L-shaped steel columns to support roof and floor frameworks and was designed by the architect for maximum lightness. The contrast between the highly finished, white painted steel and the surroundings creates a floating effect.

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The house was designed for the successful Chicago doctor Edith Farnsworth that, despite the early great enthusiasm, became bitterly disappointed with the result due to its abstract minimalism. The house was surprisingly difficult to live with.

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Nevertheless, the Farnsworth House stands out as one of Mies’ most remarkable buildings for its combined simplicity, conceptual elegance, and beauty.

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