Hydraulic Stilts Considered to Protect Farnsworth House

In recent years, Mies van der Rohe's famous glass-walled Farnsworth House has been under a grave threat from flooding by the Fox River which runs right past it. In the past 18 years, the house has been flooded three times, causing thousands of dollars worth of damage, and now its owners the National Trust for Historic Preservation are considering plans for a permanent solution - among which is a plan to install hydraulic stilts which would lift the entire house out of harm's way in the event of a flood.

Read more about the plans after the break

Despite being designed with stilts to protect it from floods, the increased severity of floods in recent years is placing the house at risk

As reported by the Chicago Tribune, the plan would involve temporarily moving the house, in order to create a pit containing the hydraulic mechanism. The mechanism itself would use a series of trusses, which ordinarily lie flat on their side, but are raised to a vertical position by hydraulic rams when a flood is detected. The cost of installing the system is estimated at $2.5 million - $3 million.

The Trust is considering this option alongside two other other possibilities: firstly, permanently raising the ground on which the house sits with a 9-foot high sloping mound, estimated at a cost of $2.9 million; or at the much lower cost of $400,000, simply moving the house 400 feet further away from the river.

However, the Trust has previously expressed a desire to preserve Mies' original design intentions and keep the Farnsworth House in its present location. They also convened an independent panel which included Mies' grandson Dirk Lohan, which concluded that the hydraulic stilts were the "most promising" option - meaning that the ambitious technical solution seems most likely.

Story via the Chicago Tribune

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Cite: Rory Stott. "Hydraulic Stilts Considered to Protect Farnsworth House" 01 May 2014. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/502332/hydraulic-stilts-considered-to-protect-farnsworth-house> ISSN 0719-8884

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