A winter view of the house in 1971, showing the original insect screening of the porch, and the roller shades added by the owner after the curtains were damaged by flood waters. image via Wikimedia Commons
The Farnsworth House is a 1,500 sq.ft home designed and constructed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe between 1945-51. It is a one-room weekend retreat in a once-rural setting. The design is recognized as a masterpiece of the International Style of architecture and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2006, after joining the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. The cost of project was $74,000 in 1951 ($648,000 in 2012 dollars). There was a cost overrun of $15,600 over the approved pre-construction budget of $58,400. This created havoc, lawsuits and counter lawsuits ensued until the courts ordered Dr Farnsworth to pay her bill.
At his inaugural lecture as director of the department in 1938, Mies stated:
“In its simplest form architecture is rooted in entirely functional considerations, but it can reach up through all degrees of value to the highest sphere of spiritual existence into the realm of pure art.”
This sentence summarized what had become Mies van der Rohe’s consistent approach to design: to begin with functional considerations of structure and materials, then to refine the detailing and expression of those materials until they transcended their technical origins to become a pure art of structure and space.
The dominance of a single, geometric form in a pastoral setting, with a complete exclusion of extraneous elements normally associated with habitation, reinforces the architect’s statement about the potential of a building to express “dwelling” in its simplest essence.
As Mies stated on his achievement, “If you view nature through the glass walls of the Farnsworth House, it gains a more profound significance than if viewed from the outside. That way more is said about nature—it becomes part of a larger whole.” Farnsworth House is the essence of simplicity in the purest form, displaying the ever-changing play of nature.
image via farnsworthhouse.org http://www.farnsworthhouse.org/history.htm
Information for this post was obtained from the following resources: Wikipedia http://www.farnsworthhouse.org/history.htm
“Instinctively I was drawn to the beauty of things coarse and unrefined; things rich in raw texture and rough tactility. Often these things are reactive to the effects of weathering and human treatment.
And lastly, I was attracted to the beauty of things simple, but not ostentatiously austere. Things clean and unencumbered, but not sterilized. Materiality, pared down to essence, with the poetry intact.” Leonard Koren http://bit.ly/1dtfdzh
thursday’s child: wabi sabi
wabi sabi is flea market finds, not michigan ave purchases. it celebrates cracks and crevices and all the other marks that time, weather, and loving use leave behind. it reminds us that we are all transient beings, that our bodies as well as the material world around us are fleeting. through wabi-sabi, we learn to embrace wrinkles and rust, grey hairs and frayed edges and the march of time they represent. it’s a fragmentary glimpse of the part, not the whole, the journey not the destination.
http://bit.ly/1bu20Z0 The Space Between Ms. and Mrs. A Blog Post
Wabi means things that are fresh and simple. It denotes simplicity and quietude, and also incorporates rustic beauty. It includes both that which is made by nature, and that which is made by man. It also can mean an accidental or happenstance element (or perhaps even a small flaw) which gives elegance and uniqueness to the whole, such as the pattern made by a flowing glaze on a ceramic object.
Sabi means things whose beauty stems from age. It refers to the patina of age, and the concept that changes due to use may make an object more beautiful and valuable. This also incorporates an appreciation of the cycles of life, as well as careful, artful mending of damage.
– “The Classic Tradition In Japanese Architecture: Modern Versions Of The Sukiya Style”, Teiji Itoh, Yukio Futagawa
“Wabi-sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional. … The closest English word to wabi-sabi is probably “rustic”. … Things wabi-sabi are unstudied and inevitable looking. .. unpretentious. .. Their craftsmanship may be impossible to discern. “
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