The Farnsworth House got the Masterpiece treatment in the Wall Street Journal last weekend. And though many of these stories are familiar, it’s a good reminder of the drama and consequence that architecture once elicited at the height of modernity:
After Mies began to plan the home, Johnson caught wind of the radical project. Visiting Mies’s office in 1947, Johnson saw the model and raced ahead on his own Glass House in New Canaan, Conn., which was finished in 1949—two years before the Farnsworth House was completed.
“Mies had to put his project on hold for two years while Dr. Farnsworth awaited funds from an inheritance to complete it,” said Franz Schulze, the author of Mies and Johnson biographies. “However, Mies always disdained Johnson’s house, considering it poorly detailed.”
The second bit of gossip involves hints of an affair between Mies and his client. But there are no romantic confessions in Farnsworth’s memoirs or in Mies’s papers—only an offhand comment that Farnsworth’s sister made to Mr. Schulze in 1983: “Edith was mesmerized by him and she probably had an affair with him,” she had said.
Transformational Transparency (Wall Street Journal)