Edith Farnsworth House celebrates its owner

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Edith Farnsworth House name change celebrates visionary customer

Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House officially renamed Edith Farnsworth House, in tribute to her visionary client

Mies van der Rohe’s famous Farnsworth House has been officially renamed Edith Farnsworth House, in honor of the woman who commissioned the project. The Plano, Illinois home, one of the architect’s most immediately recognizable projects and a key milestone in modernist architecture around the world, is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. And while the renowned design architect has been celebrated in all kinds of ways, his visionary client, Edith Farnsworth, has so far taken a step back.

That is about to change, as an official on-site re-dedication ceremony this week recognized Dr Farnsworth – the client, benefactor and supporter of the arts who created this house for herself by appointing Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to work. on the residential design, which was completed in 1951. Addressing the important role of the client in any architectural project, as well as the balance between the role of Farnsworth and Mies van der Rohe in the particular commission, the name change feels a key step in recognizing Farnsworth’s contribution.

Photography: Mike Crews

“We hope that this seemingly simple act of inserting her first name will have the greatest effect of inserting her into the ongoing history of modern architecture,” said Edith Farnsworth House Executive Director Scott Mehaffey.

“Without Edith Farnsworth, Mies van der Rohe’s American career could have stalled and his stature would have been usurped by that of his contemporaries. Edith was fully aware of being both a client and a patron, and she played an active role in the design of her house, which became a famous milestone in the evolution of modernism. ‘

Photography: David W. Dunlap

The dedication ceremony took place on November 17, 2021, the date of Edith Farnsworth’s birthday. The event is accompanied by programming that reflects this and tells the story around the life of this architecture enthusiast and inspired client.

“Edith Farnsworth House has always been a place of barrier-breaking ideas, and her new engagement carries this legacy in a deeply meaningful way,” says Katherine Malone-France, Preservation Officer for the National Trust for Historic Preservation. “This not only recognizes the important role of Edith Farnsworth, but it also demonstrates that historic sites can and should continue to evolve as they tell us the truth about ourselves and help us define a more just and equitable future. . ” §

Photography: Mike Crews

Photography: Mike Crews


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