Creative Arts Book of the Week 27/02/15

Farnsworth House: Ludwig Mies van der RoheFarnsworth House:  Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

by Maritz Vandenberg

When I saw this book on the Farnsworth House I knew we had to buy it for Architecture as we have very limited print resources about this building.

It was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe who was one of the greatest twentieth-century architects.  Located in Illinois, America it is a seminal Modernist glass-and-steel house and was built between 1946-51.  Both the house and the architect are both regular areas of study for our Architecture students.

The attractive photograph on the cover suggests that this is just another coffee-table style book but when opened you are faced with more than just glossy photographs.  It has them in abundance but also contains lots of analysis and detailed line drawings.  The book also sets the house within its historical context and details every aspect of its life from conception and building, through legal wrangles and severe flood damage to its meticulous reconstruction. Commissioned by Dr Edith Farnsworth as a weekend retreat it was intended as a setting for idyllic co-existence with nature but even before its completion, architect and client had fallen out over expenses and practical problems. The book makes for fascinating reading.

RIBA Journal highly recommends the book, ‘As always, Phaidon’s Architecture in Detail series is a treat with lavish new colour pictures and excellent plans.’

See the library catalogue for where to find the book.

If you also do a search in Discovery you will find a good selection of electronic resources about Farnsworth House and its architect.

And if you want to find out more about modern architecture from around the world see our new Phaidon Atlas database.

Assistant Librarian (Promotions) at the University Library. An enthusiastic advocate of libraries, diversity, inclusion, equity, and social justice for all, inside and outside the workplace.

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