Monday, September 15, 2008

The Day After the Flood

Staff of Landmarks Illinois went out early this morning to assess the damage from the flood for the first time. By 8 a.m. the water had gone just below the floor level of the house. Traveling by boat, we rowed out to the house, opened the door and were able to get our first glimpse at the damage.

Water rose within the house by 18 inches. All the furniture was spared since we had put it all on milk crates the day before. Unfortunately, the wardrobe and panels along either end of the core were damaged by the water.

We will spend the next few days contacting experts and having them come give their opinions on how we should proceed with restoration of the interior of the house. We will also continue conversations with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the owners of the house. Water will continue to go down at which point we'll also be able to assess damage to our property.

Whitney French
Site Manager for the Farnsworth House operator - Landmarks Illinois
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David said...

The last time we visited, the docents emphasized the re-engineering of the primavera panels to be removable under these all-too-familiar circumstances, so as to avoid damaging them in the future.

What happened to the removable clip system that was supposed to prevent such catastrophic flood loss?

I am therefore reluctant to contribute to restoration of something that I thought was preventable.

David said...

One more point on seeing the photos... why the effort in saving the curtains instead of the primavera?!?

Kelby said...

I believe that that the primavera panels were removed from off of the structure, and were thus preserved. However, there is the wood substructure that the panels fasten to. They are not able to remove the entire wall and lift it out of the way of the flood; just the panels that hang on the walls. If you recall from your last visit, the wall is comprised of the raised panels alternating with recessed reveals between each panel. The primavera wood that is in between each removable raised panel, and at the ends of the walls, is what got damaged in the flood. I don't have the exact numbers, but I would estimate that at least 90% of the wall surface is in the removable raised panels, so the amount of damage that was done to the primavera is minimal compared to what would have been done if the panels weren't removed. However, it is impossible to actually remove the entire wall. I hope this answers your questions, although Whitney French would probably be able to give a more detailed, precise description. P.S. I am glad that they were able to save the curtains with minimal effort, while also saving the vast majority of the primavera wood.

Andrea Borráez said...

It's a real shame what's happened to the masterpiece...
Please, keep up the good work!
I'm a Chilean architect and had the opportunity to visit it in May 2006.
I know that sometimes thigs like these are unavoidable inspite of all efforts...

Good Luck! It deserves to be visited by many more!