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.

Proposed Spaces


300 sqft 


475 sqft

Staff Office

400 sqft

Staff Kitchen + Break Room*    

600 sqft

Multi-Purpose Room

900 sqft

Interpretive Exhibits Gallery

600 sqft

Conference Room

300 sqft

Gift Shop with Storage

1,000 sqft

General Storage

360 sqft


225 sqft

Mechanical Room

140 sqft

Covered Patio**

600 sqft


5,900 sqft (5,000-6,000 is allowable)

* Kitchen may be minimally outfitted. This space will also serve as prep area for catered events. It should be out of site of visitors.
** Covered patio is designed, but not conditioned space


Bus Parking
2 spaces
Daily Parking
30 spaces, includes daily parking for staff
Event Parking        
20 spaces for overflow on the lawn

Ashley R. Wilson, AIA, ASID, Graham Gund Architect, National Trust for Historic Preservation 
Maurice D. Parrish, Executive Director, Farnsworth House, National Trust for Historic Preservation 
Rie Yamakawa, Architectural Intern, National Trust for Historic Preservation