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Posted in good design, the world around us, things we like by hemmant jha on April 2, 2009

Farnsworth House.

“Every physical element has been distilled to its irreducible essence. The interior is unprecedentedly transparent to the surrounding site, and also unprecedentedly uncluttered in itself. All of the paraphernalia of traditional living – rooms, walls, doors, interior trim, loose furniture, pictures on walls, even personal possessions – have been virtually abolished in a puritanical vision of simplified, transcendental existence.” Maritz Vandenburg [1].

It is clearly a timeless work of design and architecture – nothing about it gives away its 1945 roots. The Farnsworth House set a trend and became a benchmark for others to follow [or imitate]. I’ve had opportunity to visit the FH a few times and have always felt happy to be there.

Similar in intent to a lot of other designs featured on this site [2, 3, 4], the Farnsworth House is a product pared down to the most essential elements, in the most elegant way. It is a secure enough living facility, which protects one from the elements while simultaneously maximizing ones connection with the outside world. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed not just the enclosure, but virtually every element within the house. This is good design at its best – a complete solution that respects the environment within which it is placed, which makes use of the materials and techniques of its time, and incorporates design thinking far ahead of its time. And it has a kitchen with the best view ever – while that might not make one the best cook, you’ll be supremely oblivious to the smell of burning toast. 

May I suggest that anyone within driving distance visit the FH right away [in a fuel efficient vehicle, of course] before it’s washed away in the next flood? If a visit is not an immediate possibility, bask in the warm glow of a good brandy while you donate to a good cause.

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3 Responses

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  1. 296 « thinkmore said, on May 13, 2012 at 8:12 am

    […] A winter morning at the Farnsworth House. […]

  2. 299 « thinkmore said, on May 15, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    […] A winter morning at the Farnsworth House. […]

  3. 300 « thinkmore said, on May 15, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    […] the Farnsworth house, quite possibly the nicest kitchen in the […]


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