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“Architectural gem, visited by people from all over the world.”
Review of Farnsworth House

Farnsworth House
Ranked #1 of 5 things to do in Plano
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Landmark house designed by architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe that is open to the public.
Batavia, Illinois
Level Contributor
110 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
“Architectural gem, visited by people from all over the world.”
Reviewed March 23, 2012

Amazing, that sums it up. I've been on this walking tour twice, once in the spring, once in the fall-bluebells blooming in the spring, then in the fall the leaves were a beautiful backdrop for this amazing house. Each docent brings their own unique style when presenting the information about Farnsworth House. The house is so cool and the story of how it came to be us fascinating. A bit of a walk, but dress for a short hike and be prepared to enjoy.

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Thank Barbiu
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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93 reviews from our community

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San Antonio, TX
Level Contributor
194 reviews
45 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 257 helpful votes
“Farnsworth House AND Lummenhaus - must see for those with architectural interests”
Reviewed July 26, 2011

My husband and I visited Farnsworth House and Lumenhaus last week and thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Because I have difficulty walking distances, I called the morning of our tour and requested assistance. The tour guide drove both of us on a golf cart down the 1/2 mile path to the Farnsworth House and back the 1/2 mile path to the Visitor's Center. The Lumenhaus (conceived and designed by Virginia Tech students) is next to the Visitor's Center and is a solar powered house with a zero energy foot print. It was inspired by the Farnsworth House and the winner of the International Solar Decathalon in June 2010. Both houses are very unique and interesting to compare... the Mies van der Rohe vision in 1945 (house completed in 1951) and the vision of the Virginia Tech students in the 21st century. It was also interesting to learn a little about the personalities of Mies Ven Der Rohe and his client Edith Farnsworth. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit even though neither of us are architects. This is a National Trust for Historic Preservation property so members of the National Trip get the member discount on admissions. Our only disappointment is the apparently there is no published literature on the Lumenhaus other than a brochure. There is a video available for downloading on one's iphone or ipad.

Visited July 2011
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1 Thank Zell
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Adelaide
Level Contributor
237 reviews
90 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 131 helpful votes
“One for the architectural enthusiast”
Reviewed July 23, 2011

If you are visiting Chicago and particularly interested in the fabulous architecture there, a visit to Farnsworth House is a must. Designed by Mies Van Der Rohe, it's one of his most famous designs. Unfortunately, it's not easy to get to, being just over an hour from the city. but there are a couple of tours that take you out there, one run by the Chicago Architectural Foundation and the other by a private tour operator that you can access via the Farnsworth House web site itself. The day we visited, we were lucky enough to be in a small group of five and so really got to appreciate the minimalist design of the house.

Visited July 2011
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Thank GourmetTravellers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
los angeles
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Must see for architecture buffs”
Reviewed November 16, 2010

This is an icon of architecture that is well worth the extra drive to the suburbs of Chicago. The drive is about one hr depending on time of day and traffic conditions from the city. The country roads may seem confusing but patience will be rewarded. A guided tour is provided to the property and to see the interior of the first Glass House in America. I did not find the tour guide particularly knowledgeable about Mies nor Modern Architecture. But being an architect myself and having done a thesis on Mies, it was simply an awe-inspiring experience to see the Farnsworth House. It is truly amazing to walk the interiors of the place and feel the presence of the Master Architect. The house has weathered many floods but has been adequately maintained. It would have been nice if the tour were longer but any amount of time in the Farnsworth House is better than none. The tour group was also small for a saturday afternoon. Apart from myself and the tour guide, there were only two others. It was great!
See my blog on the Farnsworth House at http://www.vederemondo.com/blog/2010/11/05/transparent-in-the-forest.

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2 Thank vederemondo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chesterfield, MO
Level Contributor
348 reviews
219 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 380 helpful votes
“The ultimate 20th century house”
Reviewed June 17, 2009

If you are interested in architecture or engineering, the Mies van der Rohe designed Farnsworth House is a “must see” attraction. But if you have young kids or could care less about architecture, you are best to skip it.
I’m not going to go into the history of the house; you can read that at farsnworthhouse.org. At the web site you can view all the tours, and they tell you when a tour is sold out. You need advance reservations and each ticket is $20, plus a service charge if you order over the web. Plan to arrive 30-40 minutes before your tour. Make sure to have the directions off the web, it can be difficult to find. When you arrive, you park in a gravel parking lot in a farm field. The visitor’s center is a metal shed at the end of the parking lot that doesn’t look like much on the outside, but is very nice on the inside with a gift shop, small theater area and rest rooms, but no food. The film runs continuously and has a good overview of the history of the house in 20-30 minutes. The gift shop has a large selection of architecture books. The bathrooms are unisex, so you can choose either one!

The Tour
To get to the house, you walk down a bark covered trail through the woods and over a creek. Part of the trail is just grass, it takes about 10-15 minutes to walk the ¼ mile and is very pretty. Once you get to the original property line, you can see the house. The guide will talk about the exterior and the relationship to the river. There are lots of great photo opportunities as you approach the house. You will then walk to the terrace and hear more about the house. You have to stay on the trail (poison ivy). Then you go up to the terrace and remove your shoes. They are benches to sit on, and socks if you need them. The floor of the house is marble with some carpet and the house is air conditioned in the summer. It is not uncomfortable walking on the marble with socks, it almost feels soft. Photography is not allowed inside the house, but our guide let us take pictures from outside through the glass.
You would expect a glass house to be harsh, but it isn’t. The house is very clean and calming due to the design. The view is wonderful with trees, lawn and the river, and it is easy to see Ms. Farnsworth sitting here on weekends reading and relaxing from her job in the city. The tour gives you plenty of time to explore the house and take in all the views. You cannot sit on the furniture inside the house, but there are benches on the terrace if you need to rest
After going through the house, our tour guide showed us the underside of the house, and let us wander around the grounds behind the house and take pictures for about 10 minutes. The total tour was about 90 minutes.
I have been debating going to the Farnsworth House for several years because I thought it was overpriced. But now that I have seen it, the tour is definitely worth it. Our tour guide was great and very patient, and showed many details of the house that would normally be missed. For the architecture or engineering buff, I highly recommend this tour.

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3 Thank jjctraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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