Critique at University of Virginia
Critique at University of Virginia

Farnsworth visitor center

This project was developed by Mariana Sousa as a student from Universidade Beira Interior and was submited to the WAS awards 2017 under the Facilities category.

This architecture project consists in the new visitor center to the Farnsworth house design by the architect Mies van der Rohe and located in the city of Plano, USA.

The main function of the visitor center is to organize and guide the visitors to the Farnsworth house, besides preserving and managing the center and the house.

The conceptual approach departs, before any other idea, from the dark chamber concept, where the dark camera (the interior) focuses the outside. Because we had an implantation full of nature, it came the intention of framing this nature within the building, through a darker background that underlines a certain moment of the landscape.

In an architecture that affirms itself, rising to indicate its presence and position, arises the second concept, a tower, as a lighthouse that signals, guides and organizes the space. In this sense, and taking into account the moment in the space in which we intend to insert the center of visitors, and the dense forest space, with the tops of the trees approaching thirty meters high, we needed a physical element that was visible from a distance.

Moving away from the concepts of horizontality, lightness and transparency of the Farnsworth house, but touching on common aspects such as simplicity, clarity and pragmatism, the center of visitors develops vertically and closes on itself, allowing sometimes the communication with the outside. Constructed in concrete, opaque and crude, but serene and honest, surrounded by different scenarios.

The composition of the building emerges from a functional base, which seeks to answer the most practice needs of the project, tapering as it rises in height and ending in a tower, the most contemplative part of the project, which is intended to observe the surrounding landscape, of which the Farnsworth house belongs.