Apr 3rd 2018

Professor Scott Mehaffey Named Executive Director of Farnsworth House

The National Trust for Historic Preservation announced on April 6 that Scott Mehaffey has been selected as Executive Director of the Farnsworth House. 

In a statement to press, Mehaffey noted, “I am looking forward to guiding this internationally renowned historic site into its next phase of development, as we work to protect and maintain Farnsworth House and its setting for the coming generations.” 

Mehaffey holds a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from the University of Illinois College of Fine and Applied Arts and a Master of Science in Organizational Leadership from Dominican University. He has been active in the fields of cultural landscape preservation and architectural history, and is a frequent speaker, writer and tour guide on these subjects. He has also held leadership positions with the American Public Gardens Association and the American Society of Landscape Architects. His impressive 30-year career history of public- and private-sector leadership has been focused in the Chicago area. Former positions with The Morton Arboretum and the City of Chicago have included historic site management, strategic planning and development, and community outreach and programming. He is an Adjunct Professor in the College of Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology, where he teaches graduate level courses in Modernism and the Prairie School. Most recently, Prof. Mehaffey headed his own landscape architecture firm based in Flossmoor, Ill., and led efforts to revitalize the historic commercial district in Princeton, Ill.

Image Courtesy of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

The Farnsworth House is an icon of modern architecture by Mies van der Rohe, completed in 1951. Built as a country retreat for Dr. Edith Farnsworth, the house is a building of white-painted steel and glass, which stands in striking contrast to its naturalistic setting. Located in a floodplain landscape along the Fox river, the setting is integral to Mies van der Rohe’s aesthetic conception and continues to be managed and developed as the house is restored and interpreted. Farnsworth House has been owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation since 2003 and operated by the organization since 2010, and is one of 27 historic sites in the organization’s national portfolio of historic sites that are open to the public. The National Trust continues to work closely with Landmarks Illinois, which holds an easement on the property, on flood mitigation due to the rising Fox river while maintaining the integrity of Mies van der Rohe’s design and its essential relationship to the river.