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Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Open to the Public

On Saturday, the First of May, the Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois reopened to the public after the Mies van der Rohe-designed house was purchased by the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois in a December auction. Bought from British real estate developer Peter Palumbo for $7.5 million, the Council will charge $20 for a one hour tour of the house and its grounds.

Arguably one of the greatest private residences of the 20th century, the Farnsworth house - located on a flood plain next to the Fox River about 60 miles southwest of Chicago - has been threatened by floods on at least two occasions, the most recent in 1996, after which extensive repairs were necessary.

Autumn view of Farnsworth House

After visiting Farnsworth House about five years ago during Palumbo's reign, I would definitely recommend a tour to anyone interested in Mies, Modernism, or architecture in general. Unlike other seminal Modernist works like Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye, the site of Farnsworth House has not been encroached by development; in fact its property was expanded from 10 to 150 acres by Palumbo, keeping the sensation of a break from distant civilization.

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