Farnsworth House

  Photo by Bill Zbaren

Photo by Bill Zbaren

14520 River Road, Plano, Illinois
Mies van der Rohe, 1951

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House is one of the most famous examples of modernist domestic architecture. Together with Philip Johnson's Glass House, it is one of the most frequently cited examples of Mid-Century Modernism's attempt to reduce the architectonic expression of the house to as few elements as possible while increasing the transparency of the enclosure, thus erasing all the usual boundaries between interior and exterior. Transcending any traditional domestic function or program, the importance of the house lies rather in the absolute purity and consistency of its architectural idea. As historian Franz Schulze has remarked: "Certainly the house is more nearly temple than dwelling, and it rewards aesthetic contemplation before it fulfills domestic necessity."