One of noted modernist architect, and one-time Bauhaus director Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s groundbreaking projects ‘Farnsworth House‘ designed to snuggly fit into its environment is once again under threat from mother nature.
The one room glass-house – designed and executed 19 45-51 – was concieved as a weekender, planted on 24 ha (60 acres) on hte Fox River 90 km (55 miles ) southwest of Chicago.
The property – it inspire Philip Johnson’s Glass House – has been in battle with mother nature since the mid-2000s, and though Mies designed the house on stilts to avoid flood damage, the nearby Fox River has been lapping at the doors of this stunning property ::::
Farnsworth House was commissioned by Dr Edith Farnsworth as a place of retreat, the house is widely recognized as one of the iconic representations of the International Style of architecture, the property is designated a National Historic Landmark.
The ethos behind Farnsworth House is as simplistic as its design: site-specific, a precisely honed box of steel and glass that sits poetically contrasting its seasonally changing surrounds. This amazing example of paired back modernism might soon completely disrepair, for real, thanks to the repeated rising of the nearby Fox River.
Ironically, although Mies designed the house on stiltls – to avoid such natural catastrophes – the recent ‘100 year floods’ in the region has seen the house inundated 3 times in the past 20 years.
Nature has been so harsh on the house – the worst flood shattered one of the large plate-glass windows and inundated the home, causing tens of thousands in damage – custodians have been forced to come up with a radical plan to protect the property.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has come up with a radical plan which involves a massive hole in the ground and hydraulic jacks. Moving the home was considered, however it relationship to the land it sits upon is kind of the point of the property.
The Trust believes that by temporarily moving the house, excavating a massive pit, inserting hydraulic jacks – that would raise the house in times of flood – and replanting the house onto the jacks, it might save the site. The Trust is due to present the plan – and 2 others – this week. A public announcement will be held to announce the successful proposition later in the week.
If this scenario sounds all too familiar, that’s because it’s not a first, Frank Lloyd-Wright’s Bachman-Wilson House was purchased at the point of disaster when it was purchased and relocated by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, moving it half way across the country.
Moving Farnswoth House is on the cards regardless which plan is adopted, architectural historians are hoping the move is temporary, keeping it at its current location comes at a cost however, the plan is expected to cost around $US3 Million.
The plan for jacking up the Farnsworth House might look a little wabbly, it is the stronger of the 3 options on offer, one of which suggested putting the home atop a 3 meter mound built on its current site, another proposing moving it several hundred feet further away from the river.
RELATED! House built to coexist with nature. Nature has had enough of house
Influential modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe built Farnsworth House to provide a counterpoint to its natural surroundings. The be-stilted, glass and steel masterpiece was to rest harmoniously amongst the lush trees and gently flowing Fox River in the Illinois countryside.
Then we did all that stuff with poisoning the planet and global warming and nature decided it didn’t want to be counterpointed anymore so it smashed the windows and flooded the place :: Read Jim Meyer’s full Grist article »»»»
RELATED! Crystal Bridges Museum Buys a Frank Lloyd Wright House
The Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is fast becoming more than a place to see a historic sweep of paintings by masters like Gilbert Stuart, Asher B. Durand, Norman Rockwell and Andy Warhol. An architecturally historic house will soon be relocated to the museum’s 120-acre campus in Bentonville, Ark.
Crystal Bridges has announced that it has bought Frank Lloyd Wright’s Bachman Wilson House in Somerset County, N.J., and is planning to move the 1954 structure to Arkansas early next year. The three-bedroom, 2,000-square-foot-house had been besieged by flooding from the nearby Millstone River.
It was originally commissioned by Abraham Wilson, a research chemist turned patent lawyer and his wife, Gloria Bachman, who had met Wright when he was working on the Guggenheim Museum in New York :: Read Carol Vogel’s full ArtsBeat article »»»»