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See this iconic Mies van der Rohe home in a new light.


Plano, Ill.

Water has not always been a friend to the iconic Farnsworth House, a 1951 Ludwig Mies van der Rohe project. Built on a floodplain—hence the stilts—the house museum was always meant to rise above the fray, but in recent years flooding from the nearby Fox River has caused damage and plenty of controversy about how to keep the place safe. But in this just-before-sunrise shot by Jeff A. Goldberg, taken in collaboration with the museum, a rainy day only enhances the structure’s luminous tranquility. “Since it was dark, my camera was on a tripod. I was managing the settings and composing in one hand while I held an umbrella in the other,” he says. “Certainly not ideal conditions for human comfort, but it made for a unique image with full cloud cover in the sky and the highly reflective surface of the wet marble on the terrace.” Taken from the home’s terrace, the wide-angled shot required a 5:30am arrival and 15 seconds of exposure. “I wanted to capture both the pre-dawn colors and the reflection of the lights in the house,” Goldberg says. And, indeed, we might reflect that, even there, a little rain can also be a beautiful thing.