Illinois 1945/46. I wish I would have accompanied Mies van der Rohe to the riverside of Fox River in Plano the very first time he got to see the site before working on the design for the weekend house of Edith Farnsworth. The beautiful scenery with deciduous trees, the grassy glade and Fox River have been the inspiration for the Farnsworth House. I wish I would have worked in Mies’ office on the floor plan, sections and details of the project; I would have had the opportunity to see a design develop to perfection! Excellent architecture is hard work - innumerous sketches and drawings have to be done until it is “just right”.
In this case the maximum effort of Mies van der Rohe led to a house that consists of almost nothing, becoming a true masterpiece of modern architecture. I admire the unity of context, concept, structure and function in architecture. Today’s architectural scene is too often driven by quick attention and spectacle. Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House and all of his other projects are pleasantly quiet, distinct and sophisticated. Less is still more.
-- Stephan Birk is the founding architect of Birk Heilmeyer und Frenzel Architekten in Stuttgart, Germany. The firm won the 2010 DEUBAU Prize for Young Architects.