Farnsworth House Presentation

"Farnsworth House: A Collaborative Approach to Restoration"
Presentation following the Farnsworth House Tour
Wednesday, June 21
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Overview and Learning Objectives

The Farnsworth House was designed by Mies van der Rohe in 1945 as a country house for Dr. Edith Farnsworth. Completed in 1951, the house is located on a site within the Fox River flood plain in Plano, Illinois.

This presentation is organized in two parts to discuss the history and the restoration approach, as illustrated in various restoration projects for the Farnsworth House. Presenters include representatives of the National Trust, the architect, and the contractors involved in several of the projects.

The first half of the presentation will review the history, ongoing flooding challenges, and various repair projects. We will discuss the technical and material challenges present on the building enclosure and terraces and steps, and address the repair approaches considered to preserve the structure. We will specifically focus on the glass replacement and the most recently completed lower terrace repairs.

The second half of the presentation will focus on the contractor’s approach to the corrective actions. This part will be presented by the project general contractor and stone paving subcontractor for the lower terrace repairs. The project included travertine paving, waterproofing, concrete, precast concrete, and steel framing repairs.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the history and significance of the house, site, and challenges to preserve the home for the future.
  • Review the conditions and approaches used to restore the historic building envelope and terraces, with consideration of restoring the existing details that are defining characteristics of the Farnsworth House as a special example of modern architecture.
  • Review the approach to specifying and selecting the finish paver systems used to restore the terraces that are a hallmark of the house.
  • Understand how construction logistics, the contractor’s approach, and quality control measures were important to extending the life of a historic structure.
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 Questions? Call the ALA office at (847) 382-0630.