The site of the Farnsworth House is a 9 acre plot near the Fox River in Plano, Illinois. It was purchased by Doctor Edith Farnsworth from Colonel Robert McCormick.
Dr. Farnsworth was a physician on the staff of Passavant Hospital. She wanted to build a getaway cottage in Plano to unwind from the stresses of work. Architect was Mies van der Rohe.
From the beginning, there were many issues with the project. The building was sited on a flood plain. It was designed in 1945. It was not built until 1951. Cost was $74,000. This was 10 times the original cost.
The decision was made was to elevate the house above the flood plain. All utility functions were gathered in a four foot diameter cylindrical tube that descended to the ground below the kitchen. Electrical power lines were buried.
The Pittsburgh Glass Company provided the external glass. It was quarter inch thick glass. The largest panes were north and south facing. They were 9 feet tall and 11 feet wide. They were mounted between white steel mullions.
Column and steel girders were provided by Chicago Wendnagel Steel Company. There was some second guessing about the decision not to use double paned insulated glass.
Flooring was travertine marble.