Reflective Vessel

As you walk along the river, an outline appears through the trees: a construction of unembellished planes, with an emphasis on visual balance over symmetry, and volume over mass.

The best ideas remain unrealised. They take the form of blueprints and models, existing in a space of pure potential where they are protected from the taint of base reality. That does not mean that the Farnsworth House, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and completed in 1951, is a failure. On the contrary; it is a near perfect expression of the principles of mid 20th century International Style.

The house stands by the Fox River in Plano, some 80 km southwest of Chicago. As you walk along the river, an outline appears through the trees: a construction of unembellished planes, with an emphasis on visual balance over symmetry, and volume over mass. The three horizontal planes – roof, base, and lower deck – are of equal proportions. Eight slender steel columns support the structure, the base is raised 1.5 m above the ground. The two flights of cantilevered steps appear to float, the glass walls take the place of empty space. The house is a self contained system, faultless on its own terms. It is a line drawing sketched in space, an embodiment of the idea of weightlessness.

 

– Excerpt from readcereal.com

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