Crown Hall Dedication Speech

Dr. Rettaliata,

As the architect of the building I have been asked to present to you the key of the building as it is often done at a dedication.

Working here for so long, I could not help thinking that you, as the President of this Institute must have a master key for all the buildings of the campus. So to give you a second key would be a nice but somewhat empty gesture.

In the days of old it was different.
People took a ceremony like this quite seriously.
It was not so much a formality as a symbolic act.
I thought I should take up this old and wise tradition.
For this reason I ordered a golden key of the building.

Let the brightness of the gold be a symbol of our high appreciation for your great personal efforts to make this building a reality.

But gold is not only bright.
It has other more hidden qualities.
I am thinking of its purity and its durability.
Properties which very well could symbolize the character of the work which we hope will be performed in this building.

Let this building be the home of ideas and adventures.
Real ideas.
Ideas based on reason.
Ideas about facts.

Then the building will be of great service to our students and in the end a real contribution to our civilization.

We know that will not be easy.
Noble things are never easy.
Experience teaches us that they are as difficult as they are rare.

Mies van der Rohe
Dedication Ceremonies
S. R. Crown Hall
Illinois Institute of Technology
April 30, 1956