Modernism at the Movies: The Design Drama Behind the Famous Farnsworth House

Modernism at the Movies: The Design Drama Behind the Famous Farnsworth House

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Kenya Foy
Feb 9, 2017

A film exploring the complicated (and, ultimately, litigious) relationship between renowned 20th century architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and his client Edith Farnsworth during the building of his most significant work, the Farnsworth House, is headed for the big screen.

Showbiz 411's Roger Friedman reports that Oscar-winning actor Jeff Bridges and Maggie Gyllenhaal will play the respective roles of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Dr. Edith Farnsworth, a Chicago nephrologist who was also the architect's most prominent client and rumored romantic partner for whom the celebrated Plano, Illinois building is named.

Since its completion in 1951 and the famed architect's death in 1969, the Farnsworth home has been restored twice (once in 1972 and again in 1996), and the modernist one-story structure was also declared a museum by the National Trust of Historic Preservation and placed in the National Register of Historic Homes in 2004.

While further details about the Farnsworth project have yet to be revealed, this film will likely explore more than Mies van der Rohe's affinity for open spaces as it relates to the first residential building he designed.

We look forward to hearing both Bridges and Gyllenhaal's perspectives on how it feels to recreate the story of one of architecture's greats, plus more official confirmation on additional cast members, who's set to direct, write and produce, as well as storylines and a release date.

In the meantime, given the steel-and-glass structure's controversial background, Mies Van der Rohe and Farnsworth's alleged romantic involvement, and legal issues combined with the various changes the Farnsworth home has undergone throughout the years, this is a film not to be missed by design and architecture lovers.

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