2 Works of Architecture Term Paper

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Farnsworth House

Mies van der Rohe was one of the most well-known architects of 20th century. His birth took place in Germany and it was in 1938 that he came to United States. Mies van der Rohe is commonly known as "Mies" or "Ludwig Mies van der Rohe." He had an approach of constructing and designing buildings as a part of international style movement, and this had a grand impact on country's architecture. Farnsworth house is an example of contemporary architecture world. "Less is more" is a statement of Mies, which was adopted as a motto for all the modern artists all over the world (The Chicago Architecture Foundation, 2007).

It was in 1945 when a doctor of Chicago hired Mies to design a home for her in the country side, which should be around 60 miles away from southwest of Chicago, i.e. near Plano, Illinois. The doctor's name was Edith Farnsworth. Mies designed a single story house along the River Fox for her. This house was simple but was modern at the same time. Initially this single story house looked incompatible with the surrounding, but later its design celebrated the nature in exclusive ways (The Chicago Architecture Foundation, 2007).

The house was planned by Mies in a unique way; he took great advantage of the scenic beauty. The house was situated quite far from the major roads, to be more specific this was at the end of a 58-acre site. As there were no proper roads leading to the house, therefore, people had to walk to the house. While making their way towards the house, all visitors interacted with the natural environment. The river is situated quite near to the house, and the house looks very susceptible to flood, but Miel has constructed the house around 5 feet and 3 inches above the ground. The upright position and the materials used to build the house makes it look as if it is floating above the ground. There are eight columns of white steel which provide support to the white roof and the floor and there is glass present in the middle. The windows began from the floor to the ceiling; thus, give the house a look of a glass box. This design was considered very unusual at that time (The Chicago Architecture Foundation, 2007).

Miel eliminated the rooms completely from the house, in order to avoid the solid walls. This resulted in a wide open space of 2156 square feet. Within Miel's plan there was a central core that had a bathroom, a kitchen, a fireplace and mechanical features. The furniture arrangement defined the space in the house rather than the walls. The entire furniture of the house was made by Miel, and it was arranged in smack clusters quite far from the external walls. This results in beautiful and undisrupted view of the surrounding from all four sides of the house. Glass walls of the house made the inside of the house indifferent from the outside world (The Chicago Architecture Foundation, 2007).

This house had its own controversy, though Doctor Edith approved the plan of the house but she was not entirely satisfied when it was completed. The construction cost of the house became too high, that Edith had to fight a legal suit against the payment of the house. Since it was for the first time that such a house was actually build, so critics raised a number of questions in relation to the comfort of living in a house made of glass completely. In 2006 this house was marked as a National Historic Landmark and in 2004 its name was even entered in the National Register of Historic Places. Till now the house of Farnsworth is regarded as an innovative modern design (The Chicago Architecture Foundation, 2007).

Federal Government had granted multimillion dollars to Farnsworth House so they can retro-fit their amenities to more environmental friendly manner (MetLife, 2012). These include:
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• Installation of appliances of Energy-Star rated in units

• New designs of counters, kitchen cabinets, paint and carpet for better ventilation of air

• Installation of thermostat controlled units for better control of temperature

• New energy efficient windows

• New faucets and shower-heads for a better and water - usage efficiency

(MetLife, 2012).

For Farnsworth House, it is obligatory to be green in all other ways according to the funding program. A new product-system (green-cleaning) has been employed for the facility-wide cleaning, and the people have the right to utilize these supplies along with encouraging them to utilize them. Furthermore, recycle material is being used for office supplies (MetLife, 2012).

The volume of the company can be a better way for studying the company's dynamics. The Farnsworth House Volume provides the documentation in the form of multimedia and the analyzing of Mies-Van-der Rohe's (1951) building in the networked and computerized environment. This volume has been created by Building Technologies Group of Columbia University. The package of Farnsworth-House is a combination of a multiple interactive-models and a basic source-material giving a broader vision of previously unavailable information in unified and single format. The simplicity of the graphical menu for accessing the data makes the package rather a scholarly source for the practice of historian and architects but also makes it an ideal-tool for the teaching of engineering and architecture students. This package is available with limited access on World-Wide-Web and on directly on the work stations of University's classrooms and lab (Farnsworth Hpuse, 1995).

Falling Water

At the beginning of 20th century, Wright boarded a new concept, Prairie-Style, with the Frederick C. Robie House (1909) and the residence of Ward Willits after the experiment of architecture style in the late 19th century. The houses were built with a long hanging roof expressing a bigger exterior view with a low-connecting to ground concept, and with an open vision space looks much bigger. The grid system of the spatial organization of Hickox House and use of open-space in Wright's (influenced by the Victorian era plans) tends to compartmentalize and divide. The huge chimney and fireplace became the focus of attraction for the ground floor (Wright, 1900).

A number of studies have focused on the Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling-water (a master piece design), which was typical residence of that era. The reinforced concrete-structure and the long cantilevered elements were considered as being modern at that time. The only issue in the design was leaving the main beam being under-reinforced. This causes a deflection of 7 inches on the 15 feet cantilever due to the creep condition, high compressive stresses, and under-reinforcement. This made the structure vulnerable to falling apart. In this regard, permanent design that was initiated needed to be shored. Deflections were reduced and cantilevers were strengthened with the help of an external post-tensioning system (Felman, 2002).

The history of structure and the analysis regarding controlling of deflections of a tiered cantilevered or beam system was described by John Matteo and Robert Silman in STRUCTURE article of July/August 2001. Repairing was done throughout winter of the years 2001/2002. At present the WPS (Western Pennsylvania Conversvancy) owns the Falling-water. Robert Silman Associates, P.C. (RSA) was the WPC's structural consultant and the post-tensioning advisor hired by RSA was Di Salvo Ericson Group (TDEG). The TDEG was responsible for evaluating the present conditions and also to monitor the designs of post-tensioning. The firms hired as posttensioning consultant and repair contractor were YSL and SPS (Structural Preservation Systems, Inc. respectively (Feldman, 2002).

Several parameters for initial design were made by the non-destructive probing and testing of pre-design. In the start, the probing of non-descriptive radar testing was limited along with a minor hole and the entrance under the flooring was also limited. Therefore, for high level observation and testing the floor was dug more deeply. To constitute…

Sources Used in Documents:


Farnsworth House. (1995). Probing Architecture's Anatomy. Progressive Architecture, pp 58, 59.

Feldman, G.C. (2002). Fallingwater is no longer Falling. The Structure Group Companies.

MetLife. (2012). Rogerson Communities' Farnsworth House in Boston is Recognized by MetLife Foundation and Enterprise Community Partners for Exemplary Work in Senior Housing and Successfully Incorporating Green Components in its Housing: Wins 2012 MetLife Foundation Award for Excellence in Affordable Housing, $50,000. Press Release.

The Chicago Architecture Foundation. (2007). Farnsworth House: Meet The Buildings. The Architecture Handbook: A Student Guide to Understanding Buildings.

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