Amplified: art meets architecture at the Farnsworth House

Mies van der Rohe designed the iconic Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois, in 1945
Mies van der Rohe designed the iconic Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois, in 1945, with construction completed in 1951. Now it is the site of a new public programme, curated as part of the Chicago Arhitecture Biennial
(Image credit: TBC)

The Farnsworth House (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab) (which includes the site in its listings) has teamed up with United States Artists (opens in new tab) (USA) to create a public programme in the house for the Chicago Architecture Biennial (opens in new tab). 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.    

As part of the programme, sculptor and video artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle created a linear, sculptural artwork made of logs

As part of the programme, sculptor and video artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle created a linear, sculptural artwork made of logs. The piece accentuates the house's elongated, slim form

(Image credit: Mies van der Rohe)

Part of a broader initiative to pilot the creation of new art works at National Trust historic sites across the country

Part of a broader initiative to pilot the creation of new art works at National Trust historic sites across the country, the programme hopes to engage a diverse audience

(Image credit: Mies van der Rohe)

Composer Mary Ellen Childs also created a site specific piece for the event, which will be played at Farnsworth House at select dates during the biennal

Composer Mary Ellen Childs also created a site specific piece for the event, which will be played at Farnsworth House at select dates during the biennal

(Image credit: Mies van der Rohe)

INFORMATION

For dates and information on the programme, visit Farnsworth House (opens in new tab)

ADDRESS

Farnsworth House
14520 River Road
Plano, IL 60545

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Ellie Stathaki is the Architecture Editor at Wallpaper*. She trained as an architect at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece and studied architectural history at the Bartlett in London. Now an established journalist, she has been a member of the Wallpaper* team since 2006, visiting buildings across the globe and interviewing leading architects such as Tadao Ando and Rem Koolhaas. Ellie has also taken part in judging panels, moderated events, curated shows and contributed in books, such as The Contemporary House (Thames & Hudson, 2018) and Glenn Sestig Architecture Diary (2020).