Farnsworth House

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Farnsworth House

Maritz Vandenberg

Publisher:Phaidon Press Ltd

The only residence built by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in America, Farnsworth House exemplifies both the central tenet of the International Style by inverting the conventions of traditional architecture, and of Mies' own design philosophy as it had evolved over the preceding four decades. Commissioned by Dr Edith Farnsworth to be used as a weekend country retreat, the house was conceived by Mies as an envelope of glass and steel floating over the Illinois Fox River flood plain. Its spare interior - an integrated living space pared down to the last detail - was intended to enable a simpler, cleaner and healthier lifestyle. With detailed drawings and specially commissioned photography, this latest book in the award-winning “AiD” series provides an in-depth and richly illustrated account of this icon of twentieth-century Modernist architecture. It documents how, even before its completion in 1951, architect and client had fallen out over expenses and practical defects of the house. By the time it was sold to Lord Palumbo in 1972, Edith Farnsworth had changed many of the interior elements dictated so precisely by Mies.Following a ruinous flood in 1996, the house has been faithfully reconstructed to its original Miesian conception and at a Sotheby's auction on 13th December 2003, last minute contributions saved the day; the National Trust cast the highest bid, assuring that the modernist house will be preserved and open to the public. The final price was $7.5 million plus fees.

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