Farnsworth House in Deep Water


Its happened before but it never is good......

"As of mid-day Sunday, flood waters rose above the 5-foot risers on which the steel and glass home sits, leaving its interior covered in another two feet of water, said Whitney French, historic site director.

"It's gut-wrenching," said French. "You have to come to terms with the fact that Mother Nature will always win in a power struggle."

Employees at the Farnsworth House used boats to reach the home on Saturday and lift the designer furniture away from the water. Some pieces, including a custom-designed wardrobe bound to the floor, could not be saved. Officials could not yet estimate the cost of damages.

Completed in 1951, the house was built by Meis van der Rohe as a country retreat for a Chicago doctor, Edith Farnsworth, and is a clear example of Mies' philosophy of "less is more."


Sep 15, 08 1:38 am

I was just thinking of them...

Sep 15, 08 1:40 am

not AGAIN! damn. :( I wonder if they'll be able to raise the capital to renovate this time. what a shame.

Sep 15, 08 8:11 am

Maybe they can also raise the building itself this time.

Sep 15, 08 8:33 am

I guess someone attached Dr. Farnsworth's wardrobe to the floor so it wouldn't be knocked over during a tour. It's the only piece that Mies designed specifically for the house. The original one perished in the 1997 flood.


Sep 15, 08 8:41 am
vado retro

time to move it...twice in ten years.

Sep 15, 08 8:51 am

This happened with the same (or greater) frequency when Dr. Farnsworth lived there. She had someone come in and wax the Primvera wood panels and hammer about a thousand finish nails into them to keep them from warping. Her other belongings were expendable. (The wardrobe seemed to survive intact.) Palumbo's problem was that he had hundred of thousands, if not a few million, dollars worth of art in the house when it flooded in 1997. I think he spent about $750k on the renovation. He lost Picassos and, I think, and a Brillo Box of Warhol's. They floated down the river.

Sep 15, 08 8:59 am
vado retro

don't fuck with mother nature...

Sep 15, 08 9:08 am

Here is the image in case you wanted to see:

Sep 15, 08 9:27 am

"there is no such thing as a natural disaster, it is man getting in the way of nature." Ian McCarg

Sep 15, 08 10:24 am
Living in Gin

I thought the previous move was supposed to keep it from flooding? Maybe they should move it to the top of the Sears Tower next time.

Sep 15, 08 11:06 am
we're in this together
Sep 15, 08 11:56 am

whoa, that's a lot of water...

Sep 15, 08 12:05 pm

Man that sucks...

Sep 15, 08 2:45 pm


The house was never moved and I don't think it ever will be. Get out the wax and finish nails!

Sep 15, 08 2:46 pm

LiG: i would imagine it looking pretty cool on top of a skyscraper, actually.

but, yes. sucks.

Sep 15, 08 2:48 pm
we're in this together

enough of these floods, just fix it already!

Sep 15, 08 5:36 pm
Sep 15, 08 5:41 pm


Elevator, finicular or ski lift?

Sep 15, 08 6:35 pm
we're in this together

make that entry patio thingy an elevator like rem's maison bordeaux

or just make the whole house an elevator and pump it up when the river starts a-risen'

Sep 15, 08 6:52 pm

The latter was seriously discussed 10 years ago. The hydraulic elevator would be fun. It would have to be enclosed like in Sea World to keep the flood water out.

Sep 15, 08 7:13 pm

i thought the hurricane was in texas...oh well, brad will come to the rescue again.

Sep 15, 08 7:21 pm

i guess Mies thought he was better than Nature....or well he forgot to check the 100 year flood maps.....or he had an eager client who said screw the maps...we can afford the bad could they be.

Sep 15, 08 8:12 pm

He did check the maps and 5 feet was the hundred year flood. The flood plains upstream are now subdivisions meaning the water all goes down stream immediately.

Sep 15, 08 8:27 pm

let's just let nature take its course
[well, man-messed-up nature]
it will be more elegant as a ruin
like pompeii or the gedächtniskirche
a rusting symbol of man's crimes

we shouldn't recreate history.
if something is gone, let it be gone.
say no to disneyfication.

Sep 15, 08 9:44 pm
we're in this together

build levees

it's perfect as it is .. i disagree that it would look better as a rusty ruin

Sep 15, 08 10:11 pm
Under the sea...
Under the sea...
There'll be no accusations,
Just friendly crustaceans
Under the sea!

Jeez. Might be time to let this one go.

Sep 15, 08 11:11 pm

If you ever wondered what 2 farnsworths stacked on top of each other would look like.....

Sep 16, 08 10:14 am

It starts to look a lot like the Greenwald's penthouse apartment on Diversey or if you add more and paint it black, 860-800 LSD

Sep 16, 08 11:55 am
Sep 17, 08 5:04 pm

Does anyone know how much damage there was?

I assume that the interior panels are water damaged and the Dr. Farnsworth's wardrobe.

I believe that this happened to Dr. Farnsworth as well during her tenure there. I know that she paid a millworker to come out and secure the panels to the backing with finihed nails to keep it from warping. This was discovered in 1997 restoration. She then used Johnson's Wax to disguise the water mark. This turned the blonde primavera wood orange but it worked. I am not sure about the wardrobe.

Dr. Farnsworth did this on the cheap. Is there a lesson here for today?

Sep 19, 08 1:54 pm

and here we go again.....ah, Illinois, always wet


Dec 30, 08 9:13 pm

a competition to flood proof the farnsworth? neat.

is a scissor jack out of the q?

Dec 30, 08 9:47 pm

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