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Sometimes You Need a Professional

Photo © Carol Highsmith

I'm not an architect but I play one in my studio.

This week, I met with Master of Architecture student Kate Zimmerman about the possibility of coming on board for the design and social engagement aspects of the tiny live/work space. The difficulty with working on a project of this scale is doing it alone.

Of course there is also the trouble of getting over anxieties of asking for help but having met with Kate I feel its going to work out well. We are in for a big long road.

What I expect to get done this summer, or rather what I expect Kate to get done this summer, are a set of plans for the structure. I decided to attempt to get a piece of land from the city of Minneapolis by attempting to get the house code compliant. I will write more about this plan in a later post. Doing this however requires working with an architect because a part of acquiring land through the city requires that you submit four elevation drawings and a site plan. I don't believe my Sketchup skills would get me far enough to make the plan for building this structure seem viable so I will entrust this work to the professional.

This process brought to mind the Farnsworth House, designed by Architect Mies Van der Rohe, conceived in 1945 for Dr. Edith Farnsworth and completed in 1951. I learned about the house a long time ago and have always oscillated about my feelings about it. I decided to read up on the house and was interested to learn about the difficult history of the house. Dr. Farnsworth, a single professional woman, wanted a house, a home, and a chance meeting with Mies Van der Rohe brought a renowned architect into her path. Part of the trouble became somewhat of a clash in vision and the cost and time Van der Rohe demanded for the projects completion. Power can work on us in so many ways and the Farnsworth House reminds me that even at our most empowered state (remember that Edith Farnsworth was a doctor in 1945), we can still be subjected in so many intimate ways to the will of another. And isn't architecture such an intense everyday intimacy.

To learn more about the Farnsworth House Visit

Also see, exerpts on the Farnsworth House documentary

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