A Mies van der Rohe Tiny House?

I have always thought that for modern tiny house design a good place to start is looking at the famous, incredible works of the mid-century masters. Even though one may pay a fortune for a Philip Johnson or a Mies van der Rohe designed home today, the use of post and lintel framing, simple open designs, little to no extraneous decoration, makes for an inexpensive construction.

Andy Warhol and Philip Johnson´s Glass House. The Glass House or Johnson House, built in 1949 in New Canaan, Connecticut, was designed by Philip Johnson as his own residence.





We can see the simplicity of the design of the Glass House by Philip Johnson. The unique feature of this house is the circular form seen on the right of the above picture that functions as a bathroom on one side and a fireplace on the other. This house scales easily into a tiny aspect:



Metal posts are not necessarily essential. A tiny house with so few supports is possible with wood since the small, flat roof does not require extensive bracing. Here is a tiny house model of a retake of the Glass House:

Philip Johnson Tiny House Floor Plan
Philip Johnson Tiny House Floor Plan
Tiny version of Philip Johnson's Glass House
Tiny version of Philip Johnson’s Glass House

With this house, standard windows and doors could be utilized as long as they fit the overall artistic aesthetic. Since the plan is entirely open, very little detailed carpentry is necessary. A lot of flexibility exists with the foundation as well. The house could sit on a platform above the ground and retain the mid-century modern adherence to the International Style. The total square footage of this tiny “Glass House” is only 224.



Back of the house showing the bedroom on the left and the kitchen on the right with the bathroom in the middle.



Looking in the direction of the kitchen and dining area.



Kitchen and dining area.



At the corner with the front of the dwelling.



The front of the house with the kitchen on the left and the bedroom on the right.



The corner of the house exposing the bedroom.



View directly into the bedroom.



A view of the back of the house.



An aerial view.



A view of the house at night.



Looking into the house with the roof off.


Now let’s look at Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s the Farnsworth House.


Farnsworth House, Plano, Illinois, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1951
Farnsworth House, Plano, Illinois, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, 1951

This International Style house shares a similarity with the Glass House in that an open space surrounds a core.


Handmade floor plan drawing of Farnsworth House by Mies Van der Rohe.











A model showing the core bathrooms and kitchen.



Here is an example of translating Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House into a tiny version of 279 square feet:

Mies van der Rohe Tiny House Floor Plan
Mies van der Rohe Tiny House Floor Plan


This is a side view without the addition of the flat roof.



A side view with a bar area on the left and the living area on the right.



A side view at night.



An oblique view showing the center media and storage wall.



The end of the building with a view of the bathroom with the light off.


Corner view of the bathroom.



The other side view showing the kitchen with the bathroom on the left and the dining area on the right.


Angled view with a look at the kitchen.



Looking directly through the house from the front porch.



Back again to the side view.




Interior view of bar area.



Kitchen view.




Looking through the living room.



Looking through the living room from the opposite direction.




The dining area.


Here we have taken two famous, modern buildings and translated them to tiny versions. Many more can be done. Some maybe very tough to shrink to tiny, such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water. Yet we have only just begun. Due to the lengthy nature of this first attempt, the next effort will have to wait when we can take another couple of famous buildings and reduce them to a useable tiny home.










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