The Farnsworth House, designed by Mies van der Rohe between 1945-1951, is an absolute must-see for anyone interested in Modernist architecture. It is located on 62 acres outside of Plano, Illinois, which is about an hour and a half outside of Chicago. The house, currently a site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, sits in a meadow 100 feet from the banks of the Fox River. Tour groups walk down a path from the Visitor’s Center for 1/2 mile to reach the 1500 square foot glass and steel structure. The meadow where the house is located is surrounded on three sides by mature trees with the river flowing past on the fourth side.
The house was built as a weekend retreat for Dr. Edith Farnsworth, a Chicago physician. She wanted to live in a home that was surrounded by nature and that gave her the feeling that she was virtually living outdoors. This house does just that. The glass walls afford views in every direction and allow the house to blend naturally into its surroundings. The perfectly balanced design and clean lines are very pleasing to the eye, and the house is lovely from every angle.
The interior is elegant in its simplicity. Also, when the door is closed, it is completely quiet. Serenity is the word that comes to mind.
Visiting the Farnsworth House was quite a treat. Seeing this beautiful piece of architecture in its natural setting was worth the time and trouble to get there. I would highly recommend the trek west of Chicago for anyone who has a penchant for Modernist design. You will sense you are seeing something very special when you are there. The photos simply can’t do justice to this beautiful living space.