The 2015-16 Preservation as Provocation, International Student Design Competition challenges students and multi-disciplinary teams in architecture, preservation, landscape architecture, planning, engineering, sustainable design and other cross-disciplines, to create a new Visitor Center and approach experience for the iconic Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe in Plano, Illinois.

Solutions are encouraged to respect the Farnsworth House and site while creating an appropriate orientation and visitor services building(s) that prepares the guest for the Farnsworth experience. Solutions are encouraged to explore the relationship between historic preservation and contemporary design, landscape design, the changing climate and development patterns that result in the worsening flooding conditions, off-grid energy consumption, land use and habitat protection, heritage tourism and the design of public space. The goal of this competition is to explore how the collaboration between existing historic buildings and new design can produce uniquely thoughtful new places that negotiate the relationship between the past and the present. The solution should celebrate the past while optimistically addressing the aesthetic, cultural, spiritual, economic, practical and climactic challenges of our times.

Farnsworth House, one of the most photographed works of architecture in the twentieth century, inspires and challenges architects and the public. The house is a National Historic Landmark and internationally recognized as Mies van der Rohe’s residential masterpiece as it is the first domestic structure designed with glass walls on all sides and with a clear span interior without supporting internal walls. The house represents the search for architectural order and truth based on a rational approach to design. The transparent walls emphasize the complicated relationship between man and nature and the immediacy of the river heightens the awareness of the natural world. Designed between 1946-49 and constructed between 1949-51, as a retreat house for Dr. Edith Farnsworth, the house remained as a private residence until 2003, at which point it was opened to the public as a museum.

PROGRAM   The program for the new Visitors Center should accommodate a maximum annual visitorship of between 15,000-18,000 per year, provide space for a greater range of programs and events and improve the overall visitor experience.

The new Visitors Center should be around 5,000-6,000 sq. ft. but this program is purposefully ‘loose’.

Farnsworth is located in the Midwest which experiences harsh winters. There are no public tours of Farnsworth during winter months but the visitor center remains open for staff who work year round and for private tours that are offered, weather permitting. Outdoor spaces are seasonal and can be designed to support lectures, picnic areas, art space, and gathering spaces and spaces for quiet contemplation. The landscape between the new Visitor center and the Farnsworth House should be designed and included as part of the overall program. An exterior event space should also be designed for special property uses. Design the event space to accommodate an event attended by 125 people in a variety of seated configurations. This might be an area that can be covered by a tent or tensile structure.

JURORS David Waggonner is president of Waggonner and Ball, an award-winning, internationally active architecture and planning practice located in New Orleans. The firm’s architectural work varies from historic preservation to modern institutional projects. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, David saw an opportunity for New Orleans to reinvent itself as a sustainable city that embraces its lifeblood, water. He championed a process that examines history, soils, biodiversity, infrastructure networks, and urban space, along with the forces of water. This combination serves as a holistic foundation for design, first developed during the Dutch Dialogues and continuing through the Greater New Orleans Urban Water Plan.
Tom Jacobs first joined Krueck+Sexton Architects in 1997 after receiving his Diploma of Architecture from the Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich in 1995. From 1999 to 2002, Tom worked for Herzog and deMeuron in Basel and San Francisco on the New de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, returning to K+S in 2002.
Maurice Drue Parrish is the director of the Farnsworth House, a National Trust site in Plano, Illinois -- and one of the most iconic expressions of modern architecture. Parrish was born in Chicago and grew up just miles from Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Illinois Institute of Technology campus. He studied architecture at University of Pennsylvania and Yale University, before entering arts and museum administration.
Ashley Wilson, AIA, ASID is the Graham Gund Architect for the Historic Sites at the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the project manager for the Flood Mitigation work underway at the Farnsworth House. Before working at the National Trust, she was a founding and tenured professor at the Clemson University/College of Charleston Graduate Program for Historic Preservation in Charleston, SC and previous to her academic career, she was in private preservation practice in Washington DC (Oehrlein & Associates Architects).  After graduating from University of Virginia Architecture School, she worked for five years as the Assistant Architect for Thomas Jefferson’s Academical Village before attending the University of Notre Dame.



The projects will be on view at the 2017 ACSA Annual Meeting in Detroit (March 23-25) and the American Institute of Architects 2017 AIA Convention in Orlando (April 27-29).