The Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois, has been a key site for architecture pilgrims for years, since its creation by Mies van der Rohe in 1945 (and completion in 1951) for Dr Edith Farnsworth. Its clean lines, arresting simplicity and minimalist perfection has inspired architects, designers and artists for generations.
Now, the National Trust for Historic Preservation (which includes the site in its listings) has teamed up with United States Artists (USA) to create a public programme in the house for the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Entitled 'Architecture + Art: Inspiration Amplified', the project sees two USA fellows, composer Mary Ellen Childs and sculptor and video artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, create brand new work drawing on the historical house and its landscape.
Childs' work for the programme is a musical piece for string quartet (in order to compose it, the artist spent lots of time at the house, 'feeling the space'); while Manglano-Ovalle created a linear, sculptural artwork made of logs on site that accentuates the house's elongated, slim form.
Part of a broader initiative to pilot the creation of new art works at National Trust historic sites across the country, this programme hopes to engage a diverse audience 'visually, physically and intellectually', explain the partners. Kick-starting this exciting collaboration, the National Trust and USA hope to create a balanced synergy of art and architecture at this most iconic of 20th century architecture sites.