The Farnsworth House

The inspiration for June Finfer’s play, The Glass House, this documentary traces the creation of one of the first great Modernist houses in the world, Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House.

Commissioned by a Chicago physician, Edith Farnsworth, this glass and steel rectangle set on a platform in rural Illinois has been visited by people from all over the world.   Based on a plan Mies developed over many years, it was the focus of a legal battle between the architect and his client.

The house was bought from Dr. Farnsworth by an English nobleman, and used for several years as a retreat with his family.  It is now a house museum owned by the State of Illinois, filled with mid-century modern Mies furniture.

It is still controversial, its riverside location prone to flooding. The documentary  is an inquiry into questions raised by architecture –   what must be sacrificed for originality and art?