Broken glass : Mies van der Rohe, Edith Farnsworth, and the fight over a modernist masterpiece / Alex Beam.

Beam, Alex [Browse]
First edition.
New York : Random House, [2020]
xii, 337 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm.


Summary note
"In 1945, Edith Farnsworth asked the German architect Mies van der Rohe, already renowned for his avant-garde buildings, to design a weekend home for her outside of Chicago. Edith was a woman ahead of her time--unmarried, she was a distinguished medical researcher, whose discoveries put her in contention for the Nobel Prize, as well as an accomplished violinist, translator, and poet. The two quickly began an intimate relationship, spending weekends together, sharing interests in transcendental philosophy, Catholic mysticism, wine-soaked picnics, and architecture. Their collaboration would produce one of the most important works of architecture of all time, a blindingly original house made up almost entirely of glass and steel. But the minimalist marvel, built in 1951, was plagued by cost over-runs and a sudden chilling of the two friends' mutual affection. Though the building became world-famous, Farnsworth found it impossible to live in the transparent house, and she began a public campaign against him, cheered on by Frank Lloyd Wright. Mies, in turn, sued her for unpaid monies. The ensuing trial covered not just the missing funds and the structural weaknesses of the home, but turned into a trial of modernist art and architecture itself. Interweaving personal drama and cultural history, Alex Beam presents a stylish, enthralling tapestry of a tale, illuminating the fascinating history behind one of the twentieth-century's most beautiful and significant architectural projects"-- Provided by publisher.
Bibliographic references
Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • Prologue: "This is Mies, darling"
  • "I give you my Mies van der Rohe"
  • "She had a very sharp tongue"
  • "Let the outside in"
  • "The most important house in the world"
  • "Compared to the Farnsworth House, it's just a toy"
  • "You go back to your nephritis where you belong"
  • "A Virgilian dream"
  • "The fear of Mies' implacable intentions"
  • "You are a goddam liar"
  • "I think the house is perfectly constructed, it is perfectly executed"
  • "I feel like a prowling animal, always on the alert"
  • "Architects should kiss the feet of Mies van der Rohe"
  • "I repeat, magic and poetry!"
  • "She then abandoned everything for poetry and Italy"
  • 9780399592713 (hardcover)
  • 0399592717 (hardcover)
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