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Just saw the Farnsworth house...OMG
Posted: Thu Jun 23, 2005 4:16 pm
Wife and I just got back from Chicago...took a side tour of Mies' Farnsworth house.
I have been looking at pictures for years but there still is nothing like the real thing. I should have known that it would knock me on my butt when I first laid eyes on it but I always forget the impact that seeing a house for the first time has on a person.
We're hoping to get to falling water over a three day this summer, I'm sure I won't be prepared for that either.
What are some of your most suprising first viewings?
I'm not sure if there will be anything that will compare to the farnsworth but I want that feeling BACK!!
first tease walking down the path...
a little closer...
Just a little scale...
Posted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 9:36 am
Thanks, classic form. Looks like you and wife were there alone? Was there a docent or guide?
The experience of architecture vs the "virtual reality" of photos and drawings is like the difference between seeing a favorite painting in reproduction, as opposed to looking at the real thing -- only much, much more so.
I'll never forget seeing the Heurtley house of Wright on its quiet suburban site in Oak Park; the real surprise was the scale. It seemed to be about 75 or 80% of the size that I was expecting. Here, the scale seems to be bigger than one expects?
You can confidently expect to "get the feeling" in spades, at Fallingwater. Enjoy!
Posted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 10:30 am
While your visiting Fallingwater, do stop by and see Kentuck Knob (Lord Palumbo's other purchase other than the Farnsworth.) I have to say I liked it just a teansy weansy bit more than Fallingwater. Stunning sculpture garden to boot!
Posted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 10:33 am
Yes, it seemed bigger to me. We were not alone, there were approx. 12 others, with guide.
Case study 22. Smaller?
Posted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 10:37 am
Hey spins...thanks for the tip. we'll try to squeeze it in
Posted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 11:28 am
Posted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 11:54 am
Posted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 1:13 pm
Any and all reports "from the field" gratefully received. . .
from classic form
Posted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 1:22 pm
Posted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 3:16 pm
Posted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 4:06 pm
Ceiling height of the Farnsworth house.
I'd say at least 10.
Posted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 4:53 pm
Did the house seem larger than you expected when you saw it? Would you have been disappointed if it had seemed SMALLER than you expected?
This has opened up an intriguing aspect of architectural scale: expectation. I had never seen a photo of the Farnsworth house with "scale figures." I expect that this might be one of the more troublesome aspects of architectural design, for the designer. Every designer, I suspect (despite protestations of expertise), has at one time or another been surprised by the results of his labors. Experience would be the big teacher, but every job is done within a unique context.
In the absence of neighboring structures -- one big determinant of "correct scale" -- only the relationship of the building to its observors and users, and its internal relationships (one part to another and to the whole), need matter, I suppose. The composition, as seen on paper, could "look good" at any number of different sizes.
I can't say I was disapointed when I was confronted with the actual size of the Heurtley house. It was as beautiful as the photos I had seen, and it seemed "right" within its context. I did not, however, have the opportunity to approach and enter the building, or to "feel" its interior.
Posted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 6:08 pm
The house did seem larger. I don't think that I would have been disappointed one way or another, I think that the biggest suprise was the height off the ground of the structure itself.
I agree SDR; Bigger, smaller, would not have mattered just as looking at a scale model of a house still looks right. There is just "something right" about this house. Height to leangth to width could not be changed without affecting the whole look and feel.
Posted: Fri Jun 24, 2005 7:11 pm
What percentage of -- oh, say, the Pentagon budget -- would it take, to mount this house on hydraulic pistons, so that it could be raised above the next flood. . .?
As I understand it, the most recent restoration involved replacing glass and all the interior fittings and finishes. Haven't Lord and Lady Palumbo "sold it on," now?
Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 1:30 pm
We had a slightly more unusual experience at the Farnsworth House. I seem to be destined not to see the interior. This was the second tour canceled due to high water!
The caretaker felt sorry for us and let us wade out to the house.
Those bumps sticking out of the water are very large carp. There were hundreds of them swimming under the house!
goes to prove
Posted: Mon Jun 27, 2005 2:51 pm
There was some thinkin when they designed the house-looks cool with a 'water feature'. So is the bottom sealed off somehow so the floor beams and such don't get filled with spiders and other creatures that may want to use the underside for a home.
Posted: Tue Jun 28, 2005 4:00 am
Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 9:41 am
Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 11:00 am
Sorry I missed the last several of these posts. mru's photos a priceless -- one wonders if Mies didn't secretly hanker for those magicaly classical reflections, at least to be photographed once. If so, such photos have never apeared to my knowledge -- until now! The carp, of course, are an unexpected bonus.
Also great to see the "undercarriage." Also, the inevitable signs of rust. Among architects, I don't think of Mies as a romantic who would tolerate (much less plan for) the sort of picturesque decay that one can forsee for this structure, sooner or later. Will it be rebuilt one day in stainless steel, by a (super-rich?) culture that will value it as an icon, a hundred years from now?
In studying drawings for the house, I once discovered that the "landing" terrace (at least) is detailed as follows: The stone paving squares are supported over individual inverted-pyramid shaped pans, each with a central drain; the pavers are apparently gapped from each other in such a way that rain and snow (and river-water?) can drain through the gaps between them, not directly to the ground, but more tidily (?) to individual scuppers. Amazing?
Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 2:08 pm
the pavers are travertine marble. the drip pans are copper - and collect the water as is seeps through the marble and exit through the drip spouts - which are needed because the bottom is finished with precast concrete planks. hence, the pits in the travertine marble catch water but dont hold water and freeze/crack in the winter. pretty sweet huh?
Posted: Thu Jul 14, 2005 3:10 pm
Aha -- it's travertine -- just so. I was impressed (if not surprised) by the thoroughness of detail that I found in a section drawing of the terrace.
As a young man doing graphics and model-making in an architect's office in Boston, I was privy to a project for the Peabody Museum at Harvard. A friend who worked with the client told me that an important issue (with the buildings and grounds department, if not with the board members?) was "maintainability" -- the provision of proper material selection and detailing to assure long life of the structure. This struck me at the time as a correct and responsible position for the university to take, in dealing with architects working on its behalf.
Posted: Tue Apr 18, 2006 11:47 am
Posted: Mon Apr 24, 2006 8:21 pm
Check out the "construction sequence" animation; it's too dark, on my screen, but explains much more than I had known, of the construction of the house. . .
Neat stuff !