November 5, 2010

Mies van der Rohe McCormick House

This is the best kept secret around.  Really.


Have you heard of the McCormick House?

The McCormick house at the Elmhurst Art Museum is a mid-century modern masterpiece. It is one of only three residences in the United States by Architect Mies van der Rohe. The Farnsworth House in Plano Illinois, and the Morris Greenwald House in Weston Connecticut, are fairly well known, but the McCormick House
A stroll through the home offers a rare opportunity to personally experience Meis' design philosophy of “Less Is More”. Visually confronted with post war American culture and transformative changes in design of the 1950’s, these elements are reflected in the clarity and simplicity of the architecture, and the technical innovation of material use in both the structure and furniture of the period.
During 1951-1952, Mies' designed the steel, glass and brick McCormick House located in Elmhurst, Illinois (15 miles west of the Chicago Loop)  for real-estate developer Robert Hall McCormick, Jr. A one story adaptation of the exterior curtain wall of his famous 860-880 Lake Shore Drive towers, it served as a prototype for an unbuilt series of speculative houses to be constructed in Melrose Park, Illinois. 
The home was moved on August 16, 1994 from its original property at 299 Prospect Avenue in Elmhurst IL, to its present location as part of the Elmhurst Art Museum
The house was de-constructed, separated into units, with each loaded onto a flat bed truck, and began its journey though the streets of Elmhurst to it’s new location at the Museum’s current site in Wilder Park. 
The McCormick house is open for viewing as part of the permanent collection.  Although some on the house is currently used by the museum for office space, long-range plans are now being developed to restore the house to it's original splendor.  It is an important part of the collection providing connection to the past, a vessel for education, and inspiration for art, design and architecture for years to come. 
If you are in the Chicago area, it's worth the visit!

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