The Story

Legacy
  • 1943

    Minerals and Metals Building

    Formerly the Armour Research Foundation (ARF) Metals Building, the opening of what is now called the Minerals and Metals Building marked the first step toward the realization of Mies' master plan for the Illinois Institute of Technology's Main Campus. Not only was it the first building Mies designed for IIT, ... › View Project

  • 1956

    S.R. Crown Hall

    S.R. Crown Hall is, by all accounts, a masterpiece. Since its completion over 50 years ago, Mies van der Rohe’s “home for ideas and adventures” has inspired students, architects, and admirers. The project to build a new home for the School of Architecture and Institute of Design came about more ... › View Project

  • 1952

    Robert F. Carr Memorial Chapel of St. Savior

    “Too often we think about architecture in terms of the spectacular. There is nothing spectacular about this chapel; it was not meant to be spectacular. It was meant to be simple; and, in fact, it is simple. But in its simplicity it is not primitive, but noble, and in its ... › View Project

  • 1951

    860-880 Lake Shore Apartments

    About the buildings. The materials are common: steel, aluminum, glass. Yet these buildings are renowned for their structural clarity and composition. Using steel straight from the mill, Mies built with the eye and intent of an artist, striking the perfect balance between rational structure and irrational spirit. The vertical windows ... › View Project

  • 1946

    Wishnick Hall

    “We’ve got to expand our idea of what constitutes beauty from a technical point of view.” —Peter Land, IIT Professor of Architecture, in regard to the importance of restoring Wishnick Hall Wishnick Hall, originally called Chemistry Building, was Mies' fifth structure on the IIT campus. According to Franz Schulze, Mies' ... › View Project

  • 1958

    Illinois Institute of Technology Master Plan

    Mies arrived in Chicago in 1938 to become the Director of Architecture at the Armour Institute (now Illinois Institute of Technology) with the understanding that he would redevelop the curriculum. Soon after, he was awarded the commission to redesign the campus and its buildings, an unexpected opportunity to shape a ... › View Project

  • 1970

    One IBM Plaza

    It’s hard to resist the sublime and symbolic liaison between the iconic 20th-century American corporation and the iconic modern architect. The resulting building—the structure formerly known as One IBM Plaza—has became synonymous with corporate power. In September 2013, the building will reflect the changing face of capitalism with a new ... › View Project

  • 1951

    Farnsworth House

    It—two parallel planes held in suspension between the earth and sky by only eight steel columns—seems simple, but Mies worked through 167 drawings to come to his final, fearless design. Like Einstein’s equation, its simplicity exudes an elegance through a thorough attention to detail. However, Mies did not create the ... › View Project

  • 1965

    School of Social Service Administration

    This low-rise, wholly symmetrical building sits on a raised plinth of travertine similar to Crown Hall. Built a decade after the completion of Crown, the Social Services Administration building merges many of the architectural solutions accomplished in both Crown and the Commons. However, the SSA is appreciably heavier, almost seeming ... › View Project

  • 1946

    Alumni Hall

    Alumni Hall was Mies’ first academic building on the IIT campus. As such, it framed the architectural language that guided the majority of other academic buildings. To align with the campus grid, Mies established a modular bay 24’ long, 24’ wide, and 12’ tall, which proved ideal for flexibility and ... › View Project

  • 1927

    Weissenhofsiedlung

    Set on a hill overlooking Stuttgart, Germany, these twenty-one houses and apartment buildings comprise one of the most celebrated communal endeavors in the history of modern architecture. The ultimate success of the Weissenhofsiedlung owes much to the artistic director, Mies van der Rohe, whose strategy was to invite a group ... › View Project

  • 1907

    Riehl House

    The Riehl House was Mies' first building. He was twenty-one at the time and was working for Bruno Paul. Here, Mies reiterates much of Paul's classical German style with an austere stucco exterior and a pronounced roof that emphasizes the idea of shelter and home. The interior space pulled inspiration ... › View Project

  • 1931

    MR Chair

    Marcel Breuer, Mies' peer at the Bauhaus, constructed the first tubular chair in 1925. It became known as the "Wassily," for another Bauhaus member, Wassily Kandinsky, and marked a shift in modern furniture design. Soon after, Mies created the MR Chair. By reducing the chair to its main parts and ... › View Project

  • 1929

    Barcelona Chair

    Perhaps the most iconic work from Mies' oeuvre, the Barcelona Chair at once gives life to and is born from its materials. Like the MR and Brno Chairs, it is composed of steel and leather. The steel bar legs ease up and over to support the seat and back of ... › View Project

  • 1930

    Tugendhat House

    The Tugendhat House occupies a graded site overlooking a broad valley, with a magnificent view of the city of Brno and the old Spielberg Castle. The house was designed as a large and luxurious villa for Grete and Fritz Tugendhat. This was the last major home Mies built in Europe. ... › View Project

  • 1929

    The Barcelona Pavilion

    Mies built the German (or Barcelona) Pavilion for the Barcelona International Exposition of 1929. It housed the ceremonial reception space for German industrial exhibits commissioned by the German government. Mies united sophisticated materials with a fluid open plan, which together endowed the space with an unprecedented modern elegance. The architecture's ... › View Project

  • 1968

    Neue Nationalgalerie

    The National Gallery is located on a sloping site along the north bank of the Landwehr Canal in Berlin, Germany. The second and final museum of Mies' career (the first being Houston's Museum of Fine Arts), the Gallery was his only commission from the government of West Germany. This provided ... › View Project

  • 1932

    Lemke House

    Unique to the Lemke House is its courtyard. No other house by Mies would feature this relation to green space. It's also the last house built by Mies in Germany, and he emigrated to the United States soon after. Like the Lange and Esters Houses, the Lemke House exists today ... › View Project

  • 1930

    Brno Chair

    Made of steel and leather, the Brno Chair expresses Mies' regard for simplicity. The chair is named after Brno, Czechoslovakia, where it debuted in the Tugendhat House. › View Project

  • 1930

    Lange and Esters Houses

    These two houses sit side by side on the Wilhelmshofallee in the artistocratic quarter of Krefeld, Germany. They were commissioned at or about the same time by Josef Esters and Hermann Lange, two executives of the silk weaving mills, or the Vereingte Seidenweberein A-G, which make Krefeld famous. Mies worked ... › View Project

  • 1974

    Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

    The Museum of Fine Arts in Houston is the first museum Mies ever built, and his only one in the U.S (his second and final being Berlin's Neue Nationalgalerie). He was hired to design two additions to the Caroline Weiss Law Building. This existing structure was built by William Ward ... › View Project

  • 1949

    The Promontory Apartments

    The Promontory Apartments mark Mies' foray into high-rise buildings. Notably, it was the first tall building to exhibit its construction materials. Concrete, beams, and columns were left in plain sight, winning the praise of critics. The design of the building gave the most units possible a view of Lake Michigan, ... › View Project

  • 1958

    The Seagram Building

    This 39-story, 516-foot tall office building was commissioned by Joseph E. Seagram & Sons Corporation, purveyors of Seagram liquors. Noted for it's amber toned windows and public plaza, the Seagram is Mies' largest work. The architect worked around New York City's zoning codes mandating that skyscrapers recess or "set back" ... › View Project

  • 1972

    Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library

    The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library evokes the solemnity of public institutions. This is the only library and the only building in Washington D.C. designed by Mies. Inside, stacks of books echo the rows of fluorescent lights. Outside, the sheer mass of the structure is felt as it stretches ... › View Project

  • 1965

    Lafayette Park

    Lafayette Park, just northeast of downtown Detroit, is a 78-acre housing development designed and realized by Mies van der Rohe. The first urban renewal project in the United States, it was founded by developer Herb Greenwald to help keep the middle class in the city. Alfred Caldwell, Mies’ longtime collaborator, ... › View Project

  • 1969

    Île-des-Soeurs

    Located in Montreal, Quebec Île-des-Soeurs, or Nuns' Island, is home to three apartment buildings and an Esso gas station designed by Mies. › View Project

  • 1952

    50 x 50 House

    One of Mies' most famous unbuilt projects, the 50 x 50 house was conceived as a solution to the problem of mass housing, a genre of architecture he had never paid serious attention to in the past. In 2009, the artist Iñigo Manglano-Ovallé constructed a half-scale version of the house ... › View Project

  • 1964

    Chicago Federal Center

    This 42-story office building is located on Dearborn Street in the Chicago Loop. The project was commissioned by the General Services Administration of the US government as part of a plan initiated in the 1950s to update federal administrative and judiciary facilities nationwide. Begun in 1959, it was designed in ... › View Project

  • 1969

    Toronto-Dominion Center

    This urban planning project covers a 5.5 acre area in downtown Toronto, Ontario. Like the Chicago Federal Center, this complex is composed of two office towers along with a single one-story structure that houses the Toronto-Dominion Bank. › View Project

  • 1952

    McCormick House

    The McCormick House is one instance of Mies' "Steel Frame Row Houses." It is reported that its steel-framed walls were brought from the factory to the site only under special allowance by the police for the transport vehicles. In 1994, the house was moved several blocks from its original location ... › View Project

  • 1956

    Esplanade Apartment Buildings

    Following the success of the 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments, Mies and Greenwald conceived five major project proposals for Chicago's North Side. Esplanade was one of them. The first buildings ever built with an uninterrupted aluminum and glass curtain wall, the Esplanade also features colonnades and a private sun deck. › View Project

  • 1935

    Verseidag Factory

    Commissioned by Verseidag, the large silk-weaving company in Krefeld, Germany, this factory appears to set the precedent for Mies' work at IIT. › View Project

  • 1947

    Perlstein Hall

    In many ways, Perlstein is a culmination and amalgamation of many ideas Mies was developing on the IIT campus—in particular the expression of structure, modular organization, construction detailing. This building conforms to the structural bay of 24’ square and 12’ high, which provides an easy measure of comparison for building ... › View Project

  • 1954

    The Commons

    The Commons was intended to be an "amenities center" for the IIT campus with a dining hall, grocery store, barbershop, and laundry. By that time, Mies was uninterested in designing a building for specific program needs, so he delegated the project to Gene Summers, a 23-year old architect who had ... › View Project

  • 1965
  • 1930

    X Table

    Also known as the Barcelona Table, the X Table made its first appearance in the Tugendhat House.

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  • 1917

    Urbig House

    Impressed by the work he did for the Riehls, the Urbig family commissioned a home from Mies in 1915. Mies' first design called for a modern flat roof, but this was rejected. The new plan offered a more traditional hipped roof with five dormer windows. Such revisions were common, and ... › View Project

  • 1956

    Commonwealth Promenade Apartments

    Mies worked with developer Herbert Greenwald on these two mid-rise apartment buildings after the success of their collaboration on 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments the year before. The original design and development plan accounted for four, but this was eventually scaled back. The project bears many similarities to the Esplanade ... › View Project

  • 1927

    Afrikanischestrasse Apartments

    With their highly geometric structure and restricted windows, the form of these apartments appears to affect their function. Such lenience to practicality would never be seen in Mies' work following this low-cost housing project. › View Project

  • 1931

    MR Lounge Chair

    Like the MR Chair, the MR Lounge Chair features tubular stainless steel and a cantilever frame. Mies began with the iron rocking chairs that were the standard in 19th century Europe. He then injected them with modern materials and a minimalist aesthetic. This was another instance in which the architect ... › View Project

  • 1963

    2400 Lakeview

    The 2400 Lakeview Apartments consist of a single building made of reinforced concrete, aluminum, and grey-tinted glass. As with all Mies' work, this building derives beauty not from ornamentation, but instead from the essentials of architecture: materials and construction. In the ground floor lobby the elevator core appears as a ... › View Project

  • 1929

    Tugendhat Chair

    Seeking to make a comfortable lounge chair that maintained the restraint of his minimalist aesthetic, Mies arrived at the Tugendhat. Here, the cushions of the Barcelona meet the cantilever frame of the MR, arriving at an elegant solution to the overstuffed club chair. › View Project

  • 1921

    Friedrichstrasse Office Building

    Although it was never built, Mies' design for the Friedrichstrasse Office Building remains one of the most important structures in 20th century architecture. For the Friedrichstrasse architecture competition, Mies ignored several rules dictated in the guidelines and presented a radical concept to the committee: a skyscraper made entirely of glass ... › View Project

  • 1962

    American Federal Building

    This two story steel and glass structure was built by Mies in 1962. The American Federal Building, along with Meredith Hall at Drake University, are the only works designed by the architect in Des Moines, Iowa. › View Project

  • 1929

    Barcelona Couch

    The Barcelona Couch was first used in the New York apartment of Architect Phillip Johnson in 1930. Scholars cite Lilly Reich as a co-designer. Reich also designed the interiors for the Johnson project. › View Project

  • 1886

    On March 27th, 1886 Ludwig Mies was born in Aachen, Germany. He would later incorporate his mother's maiden name ("Rohe") into his own as he rose to prominence in the architectural community.

  • 1905

    Leaving his home of Aachen, Germany on the advice of a fellow architect, 19 year old Mies moved to the city seeking great architecture and a place in a notable firm. His family remained forever in Aachen and ran their masonry business while Mies was making a name for himself in the cultural capital of the time.

  • 1908

    Bookbinder, visual artist, graphic designer and architect, Peter Behrens was as innovative as he was multi-talented. His first building - a home for himself, the contents of which he also designed- is a prime example of Gesamtkunstwerk. As a "total work of art" Haus Behrens utilized every artistic medium to create a complete aesthetic experience. Following success of his home he designed the AEG Turbine Factory, once again designing the structure as well as its contents. He was one of the first designers to embrace industrialization as a way to provide well designed, useful objects to the masses. In 1907 he founded his own architecture firm in Berlin which included three architects who would later write the history of modern architecture: Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe.

  • 1926

    At different points in time both Mies and Le Corbusier worked at Peter Behrens' atelier. Nearly two decades after their training with Behrens the two had their first meeting at the Weissenhofsiedlung, which featured houses by both architects and the artistic directorship of Mies.

  • 1930

    Following the resignation of Hannes Meyer who had taken over for Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe became the director of the Bauhaus. Though he had turned down the position when Gropius left he accepted it the second time around, sensing that the school needed a greater emphasis on form and function rather than politics. Such lenience to beauty won him the animosity of the radical members of the student body. Mies focused the curriculum on architecture and interior design with greater intensity such that all other subjects, like fine arts, fell by the wayside. When the Bauhaus closed in 1932 Mies promptly revived it, if only for a few months, as his own school.

  • 1938

    Mies left Germany in 1938 to head the Armour Institute, which later became the Illinois Institute of Technology. Many members of the Bauhaus, including Joseph Albers, Walter Gropius and László Moholy-Nagy, also moved to the United States at this time.

  • 1932

    After 15 years of operation the Bauhaus is shut down by the Nazi regime. The modern aesthetic and "un-German" flavor of the school did not suit the nationalistic, neoclassical taste of German leaders. Many of the artists involved with the Bauhaus were exhibited in the Entartete Kunst exhibition, curated by Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. The show hoped to ridicule the featured styles and artists, including Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy.

  • 1969

    In the summer of 1969 Mies was rushed to Wesley Memorial Hospital where he was diagnosed with pneumonia. Two weeks later the combined force this pneumonia and cancer of the esophagus, which Mies had been living with for three years, overcame the architect. On August 19th, at the age of 83, Mies died.

  • 1932

    It was at this exhibition that the term "International Style" was born. Rather than emphasizing the social, art historical and technological aspects of architecture the curators, Philip Johnson (who later collaborated with Mies on the Seagram Building) and Henry-Russel Hitchcock, emphasized pure appearance. The exhibition was critiqued by architects and writers for clumping everyone from Frank Lloyd Wright to Walter Gropius under the same genre and overlooking crucial differences, and even crucial similarities, for the sake of categorization. The show ultimately proved to be an important moment in architecture's history, if only because of this controversy.

  • 1958

    As his commissions increased Mies had less and less time to run the architecture program at Illinois Institute of Technology. At the age of 72, Mies left IIT and began focusing on his own projects. Skidmore, Owings and Merril took over the on-campus projects he did not complete.

  • 1937

    The meeting between these two great architects, both living legends in their time, was momentous—particularly for the men themselves. Mies had long admired Wright's work and infused his own buildings with Wright's sense of spatial relationships. And although Wright turned away calls from Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius, he warmly welcomed Mies to his summer home at Taliesin. The German architect, unlike his peers at the Bauhaus, did not overemphasize functionality, instead tempering usefulness with elegant materials, fluid space, and an original aesthetic. This won the respect of Wright. Mies' afternoon visit to Spring Green, Wisconsin turned into a four day stay, ending with a personal tour of Unity Temple, Coonley House, and Robie House in Illinois.