Thursday, September 13, 2007

Farnsworth Saved From Drowning - Documentary Debuts Tonight

By now you've probably read how Mies van der Rohe's masterpiece, the Farnsworth House, narrowly escaped major damage from Fox River flooding following the polite August monsoons that dumped over nine inches of rain in the Chicago area. Trib architecture critic Blair Kamin writes about it here.

Tonight, Thursday, September 13th, at 8:00, WTTW, Channel 11 will debut a new documentary, Saved from the Wrecking Ball: The Farnsworth House, that describes the building's previous major trauma, the battle to keep the house open to the public after long-time owner Sir Peter Palumbo put it to auction in 2003. Amidst fears it could be sold to a private buyer who might cut it up and cart it off for re-assembly far away from its spectacular Plano, Illinois site. Farnsworth was ultimately acquired for $7,500,000 by a group of preservationists that included The National Trust for Historic Preservation and what is now Landmarks Illinois. I wrote extensively about the battle here.

The new documentary is hosted by WTTW's omnipresent Geoffrey Baer, and is said to also tell the story of Mies's ultimately soured relationship with client - and rumored lover - Dr. Edith Farnsworth, which was also the subject of June Finfer's acclaimed play, The Glass House.

WTTW will show the documentary again on Sunday, September 16th at 2:30 a.m. (?!), and is finding its way onto the schedules of other public television stations across the country.

Read our version of the Farnsworth House story here.


Anonymous said...

So no one ever proposed demolishing it, yet they're claiming it was saved from the wrecking ball?

Lynn Becker said...

Hey, I didn't name the damn thing; I'm just passing on some worthwhile viewing.