National Trust for Historic Preservation
Farnsworth House Restoration Master Plan
Berglund recommended innovative techniques to restore and preserve the architectural landmark with a hydraulic mechanism for raising the house out of the flood zone.
Project Overview

The Farnsworth House was designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1945 and completed in 1951. Originally a residence for Dr. Edith Farnsworth, the house sits adjacent to the Fox River near Plano, Illinois. Scholars consider it the culmination of Mies’s experiments in the design of residential dwellings. Berglund joined a team of architects and engineers to prepare the Curtain Wall and Terrace Investigation & Trial Repairs Report for the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

Approach

In addition to normal weather and wear of materials, flooding had exacerbated the challenges of preserving the Farnsworth house. As a result, the Farnsworth House had problems with corrosion of the steel components and terrace paving systems. As part of the investigation team, Berglund created inspection openings at chosen window and paver locations to assess the damage and provide suggestions for repair. These investigations allowed the team to better understand both the steel window frames and the upper and lower terrace paving system and construction.

Outcomes 

This report provides a basis for present and future decisions for repairing the house's steel framed windows, upper and lower terraces, and maintenance of steel coatings at windows and terraces. It has been archived by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and will be used as a road map for any future preservation efforts at the Mies masterpiece.