A Mies for All

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Mies for All is an initiative that aims to give to everyone the possibility to live in an iconic architecture – starting with Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House. Based on a concept by Pierre Bismuth and Matthijs Bouw, and developed with One Architecture, A Mies for All touches on a century-old promise that forms the foundation of modern architecture: The democratization of quality architecture, comfortable living, and advanced achievement in art, culture and technology. The project aims to revive and fulfill this promise of the modern within today’s contemporary technological and economical conditions.

With support by Dutch Stimuleringsfonds, A Mies for All served as a platform to research the cultural, social, technological, and economic implications of a Farnsworth House copy that is open and accessible to all. Filson and Rohrbacher performed a thorough audit of the existing Farnsworth House, to understand its parts, systems, and construction methods. From this analysis, we endeavored to fulfill Mies’ ambitions, and resolve many of the Farnsworth’s paradoxes, and developed a simple, affordable, mass customizable plywood version of the house. The project went on to explore the implications of the design of a modern architecture consumer experience, and was exhibited at Hôtel Droog Gallery in 2015.

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A Mies for All’s super structure is made entirely of locally CNC cut plywood parts and assembled with standard hardware. 1500 pieces based on 71 unique parts comprise a basic house. Mies’ original structural steel frame was proportioned to maximize lightness within a value engineered budget. Similarly, the AMfA plywood house superstructure module is the resultant of CNC machinery, material dimensions and efficiency. The floor and roof planes are torsion boxes comprised of two-way frame and diaphragm faces. The frame connects to twelve columns, and accommodates integrated post-tensioning cables, where excess snow or lateral loads require it.

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