Farnsworth House

Farnsworth House in Plano. (farnsworthhouse.org photo) 

Please join us for opening of our next Barnsworth Gallery opening, Mies In Translation, on Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 2:30pm. Exhibition curator, William Hutching of makeArchitecure will present at 3:00pm and refreshments will be served. This exhibitwill feature architectural models of selected projects designed by Mies van der Rohe, including the Barcelona Pavilion, the 1940 IIT Campus plan, and the unbuilt Brussels Pavilion. These projects embody the evolution of Mies’s signature “free plan”– a framework of structural order giving way to unobstructed, free-flowing open space – from a residential to an urban scale. They will be framed through the lens of the writings of the Roman Catholic theologian Romano Guardini, and the markings and notes Mies made in his personal copies of Guardini’s works, which will be displayed, translated and applied to an understanding of his architecture and his place in history. Also featured are original sketches by van der Rohe, including furniture design, revealing his reworking and refinement of an idea over decades.  In contrast to his architectural designs, Mies’s furniture designs responded specifically to human scale and form. Mies In Translation will run from September 17th through October 27th during regular tour hours and admission is free.

William Hutchting of makeArchitecture says, “The peculiar nature of architecture exhibits is that, unlike a painting exhibit which contains paintings or a sculpture exhibits which displays the artist's sculptures, the actual buildings are nowhere to be found in the exhibit. Instead, models, photographs and sketches and other detritus leftover from the creative process is displayed. We have expanded this realm to include the architect's library. ‘Mies in Translation’ is an exhibit about the ideas found in the notations and marginalia of his personal copies of two books authored by the Roman Catholic theologian Romano Guardini and how they are expressed architecturally in his buildings and furniture. Romano Guardini believed the world was entering a new age where technology would bring man closer to nature and God. He called it the Mass Age. If we frame Mies as the architect of the monuments of Guardini's Mass Age, then we have new and productive insights into the work of this seminal architect.”

Designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1945 and constructed in 1951, the Farnsworth House is a vital part of American iconography, an exemplary representation of both the International Style of architecture as well as the modern movement’s desire to juxtapose the sleek, streamline design of Modern structure with the organic environment of the surrounding nature. Mies constructed this glass box residence of “almost nothing” for Dr. Edith Farnsworth as a country retreat along the Fox River in Plano, IL. It continued to be a private residence for over 50 years until Landmarks Illinois and the National Trust for Historic Preservation purchased it in 2003.

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