Farnsworth House04


Farnsworth House – Plano, USA Personal Work

Architect: Mies van der Rohe
Type: Rendering
Scope: Visualisation images

Software used: Rhinoceros, 3ds Max (VRay), Photoshop.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s design for the Farnsworth House in Plano Illinois (USA) is one of the architectural icons following you through your studies as an architect. Its clean and simple layout in its purity and consistency of its underlying architectural idea in this setting amazing setting of a landscape located on the bank of the Fox River creates an atmosphere of its own. Based on old plan, elevation and detail drawings of the Farnsworth House I tried to reconstruct the building from the landscape through to its smallest details and especially its furniture, staying true to the original proportions and layout which are often misleading in three-dimensional reproductions as I discovered, mostly the ratio between the width, length and height is totally off in a lot of models published.

Therefore I started from scratch, instead of using a base model as a starting point, by redrawing the plans, I researched, in 2d inside of Rhinoceros, which I used this time only for the plan drawings, before bringing them into 3ds Max for building up the model and its surrounding landscape. Because of the origin of the plans this was my first project I actually completely planned in feet and inches. The model tries to stay true to its original up to the construction of the steel mullions, built up of angles and bars, the door hinges and even the continuous curtain track in the ceiling. Some of this can definitely be considered as over-detailing, cause most of the details won’t be visible as such in the renderings, but for this project I took the challenge to model it as exactly as possible, also because the simple form of the building allowed for concentration on its details. Besides that I think that all the small individual corners and angles therefore created play a huge part in the realistic look of the final images by forming shadows, specular reflections and grain that wouldn’t otherwise be there.

I tried to give the building a used appearance while still maintaining its classical iconographic look. Therefore I created special textures inside of Photoshop for the different steel girders and columns, the floor finishes, differing from inside to outside due to their different exposure to the climate and even the window panes, which I gave a kind of humidity effect at the edges and corners (an often known problem in Mies’s simplistic designs) and build up the whole surrounding landscape to put the building into its original context using satellite views for locating the position of the trees. The aim was to achieve highly realistic images of an existing building with a focus on detailing, furniture and surrounding vegetation and landscape by still giving it an own identifiable look.

The images try to simulate an old photographic look with vignetting, aberration, lens blur effects to give the images more depth of field, and distortions caused by a photographic lens’s use. Overall I used darker more saturated colours for the surroundings giving the building and the sky a contrasting whitish glow to accentuate it, creating contrast and highlighting the main focus in the photo, the Farnsworth House.

The images are rendered out of the software as they are and only build up through the different render passes later on during the compositing steps. No additional paintwork was done afterwards, all the textures are rendered already as they are inside the 3d application, therefore making it possible to use the settings for animation sequences as well.

The interior images are basically showing the original furniture of the Farnsworth House as presented on old photographs. Tables, chairs, carpets and closets were modelled individually, if necessary (special designed desk, closets, leather covering with cords on cantilever chairs, carpet, kitchen block with sanitary unit) in addition to standard used classical furniture by Mies van der Rohe out of pre-existing furniture libraries.

All images on this page copyright Tristan D. Grey.