Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the final Director of the Bauhaus, famously explained that he established the floor height of the Farnsworth House just above the level of the 100 year flood. But you rarely see the Fox River make an appearance in any photographs of the building. The inspiration for transforming what in lesser hands could have been merely a generic steel frame building rooted to a foundation into a levitating platform is conspicuous by its absence. To a great degree, it’s the context that helps make Mies’s architecture special, and, in many cases such as this one, sublime. The full context is missing. The exhibit Mies in Translation introduces context in order to more productively frame and better understand Mies’s work.
Mies in Translation
The Farnsworth House
“What does context reveal about  Mies van der Rohe’s architecture?”