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The Edith Farnsworth House : Architecture, Preservation, Culture - Michelangelo Sabatino

The Edith Farnsworth House

Architecture, Preservation, Culture

By: Michelangelo Sabatino

Hardcover | 14 May 2024 | Edition Number 1

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One of the most famous residences in modern history, a glass and steel marvel that seems to float above its site, the Edith Farnsworth House had been legendary in the public imagination long before it could be widely accessed. This book charts the house’s original design by Mies van der Rohe and periods of neglect, flooding, and new ownership by Lord Peter Palumbo.

Now publicly accessible and celebrating twenty years of being owned and administered by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, this icon of modern architecture commissioned by client and patron Edith Farnsworth now gets its due. The Edith Farnsworth House is one of the most prized residences in modern architectural history, whose sometimes fraught history culminates in its publicly accessible life today.

The book, which newly foregrounds the key role of client Edith Farnsworth, is written and edited by Michelangelo Sabatino, who contributes deep expertise on modernist architecture, and includes an essay by architectural historian Dietrich Neumann, excerpts of Edith Farnsworth’s unpublished memoir, as well as interviews with Mies’s grandson Dirk Lohan, and the house’s second owner, Lord Peter Palumbo. Published in association with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, this book is published is a trove of cultural and visual history, and includes photographs by Hedrich Blessing, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Annie Leibovitz, in addition to documentation of cultural collaborations with artists, designers, and performance troupes such as Virgil Abloh, Iñigo Manglano-Ovalle, and Gerard & Kelly.

About the Authors

Michelangelo Sabatino is an architectural historian, curator, and preservationist. He is Professor at Illinois Institute of Technology’s College of Architecture where he is the inaugural John Vinci Distinguished Research Fellow and directs the PhD program. He serves on the Board of Directors of Docomomo US. He is author and coauthor of numerous books, including Modern in the Middle: Chicago Houses 1929–75 (Monacelli, 2020).

Scott Mehaffey is Executive Director/Curator of the Edith Farnsworth House Historic Site in Plano, Illinois.

Dietrich Neumann is director of Urban Studies at Brown University and author of An Accidental Masterpiece: Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion (2020).

Hilary Lewis is Chief Curator and Creative Director of The Glass House in New Canaan, Connecticut.

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