Fact No. 196. (Published on 7/31/2005)

Farnsworth Glass House

Renowned architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe believed less was more. The glass house he designed for his good friend (and sometimes rumored lover) Dr. Edith Farnsworth was Mies van der Rohe at his most minimalist. When construction completed in 1950, the house was little more than six steel beams and glass walls.

Dr. Farnsworth was not impressed.

"I wanted to do something 'meaningful,' and all I got was this glib, false sophistication," Dr. Farnsworth complained in an interview with House Beautiful.

The architectural community still argues about the Farnsworth House. Frank Lloyd Wright hated it.

And although Farnsworth ended up using the house as a vacation home, her time in the house only nurtured her dislike of it. It turns out the home had a number of practical problems -- not the least of which included high heatings costs in the winter, greenhouse-like heat and humidity in the summer, and the fact that at night, when the lights are on inside, the home attracts huge numbers of mosquitos and flies from the Plano, Illinois countryside.

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