This place is famous. Architect Mies van der Rohe designed it for his client, Dr. Edith Farnsworth, as her weekend retreat; it was designed and constructed between 1954 and 1951.
Or, evidently, he designed it without really listening to what she wanted, and the two of them were bitter enemies before it was all over. Writing about the conflict in 1998, author Alice T. Friedman asserted that “[t]here is no evidence to suggest that [Farnsworth] sought to have her behavior challenged by the ‘inner logic’ of Mies’s unyielding architectural vision; on the contrary, she seems to have had a clear idea about how she wanted to live and she expected the architect to respect her views… [S]he soon discovered that what Mies wanted, and what he had thought he had found in her, was a patron who would put her budget and her needs aside in favor of his own goals and dreams as an architect.”
There were (and still are) problems with it. It’s all glass, so it’s hot in the summer, cold in the winter; the original house didn’t even have an air conditioner and didn’t have adequate natural ventilation. At night, the lights from inside the house drew in insects. It floods, a lot. (In fact, when we were there, it had just reopened after high water from the nearby river made it inaccessible.) In 1996 water rose to five feet inside, high enough to float a Warhol portrait of Liz Taylor off the wall down the river; it was seen again.
And the cost? She’d intended to spend between $8,000 and $10,000 but the final cost was somewhere around $74,000. “My house is a monument to Mies van der Rohe, and I’m paying for it," Dr. Farnsworth reportedly told her nephew.
Posted on September 9, 2020, in Photography and tagged 365 photo project, architecture, black and white photography, learning to see, Leica, melinda green harvey, monochrome, one day one image, photo a day, photography, postaday, take time to look, thoughtful seeing, travel photography. Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.