Houses of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright in Illinois

NNothing but mowed fields can be seen as far as the eye can see. Combines, not humans, seem to rule the Midwest. The only living things visible are the crows on the overhead lines. Pick-ups, sometimes several at once, are parked in front of the simple wooden houses. And here, where even the churches look like barns, should one of the most important residential buildings of the twentieth century stand? Edith Farnsworth later said about her first visit to the building site with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe that she was worried that a European would be able to recognize the beauty of this landscape. We can understand their insecurity.

Judith Lembke

Editor in the economy of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.

Suddenly the landscape changes. Trees appear, the topography changes from pancake flat to slightly wavy. We stop on a hill. Before we can get closer to Farnsworth House, we have to go through the obligatory souvenir shop and wonder how many trinkets can be invented in honor of a man who disliked the superfluous, not only in architecture, and who admittedly “less is more” not invented, but made his motto. When Ludwig Mies van der Rohe came here in 1945 with the doctor Edith Farnsworth to plan a weekend house for her, he was no longer the director of the Bauhaus. The Nazis had expelled him from this position. But he was not yet the American high-rise builder who was to shape American city centers with his steel and glass architecture.


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