Rethinking Mies: Positions on Modernity in the 21st Century Symposium

Rethinking Mies: Positions on Modernity in the 21st Century Symposium
Courtesy of RWTH Aachen University

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was born in Aachen in 1886. On the occasion of the 125th anniversary of his birthday, Aachen Fenster e.V. and the Department of Theory of Architecture at RWTH Aachen University, will jointly host an international conference.

By determining new, yet sustainable ties between technology and aesthetics, as well as between ideas and artifacts, Mies van der Rohe defined a path leading to architectural modernity. The works of Mies have been documented, published, and displayed in countless exhibitions. As major references they stand apart from the rapid change of attitudes and stylistic preferences.

The Aachen symposium on Mies is not meant to be a hagiographical laudation on the person, the work or its reception. ‘Rethinking Mies’ will rather provide opportunities to understand the essence of Miesian thought and its relation to the modern movement as well as to contemporary practices of architecture. More information on the event after the break.

In dialogue with eminent personalities who are contributing to the promotion of contemporary architecture and its theories, we want to re-examine Miesian key principles. Are these principles ‘classical’ and of timeless validity? Are they still a stimulating source for new visions and interpretations? How does Mies’ legacy relate to different cultural contexts? Does his memorable œuvre still engender current debates, attitudes and building activities?

As a trans-disciplinary discourse, the symposium’s lectures and panels will be divided into five thematic sessions:

- Ingenious Architecture – On Technical and Aesthetic Standards - Mies Mimesis – Models and Imitations in Modern Contexts - Beyond the Border – Architecture and other Arts - Iconic Architecture – Mies and the Images of Modernity - Open Spaces – On Modern Landscapes

The symposium will be the prelude to an ongoing investigation on Mies van der Rohe’s work and thought. The contributions to the symposium will be published and displayed in an exhibition.

The symposium is initiated und organized by: aachen_fenster : raum für bauen + kultur, Prof. Klaus Klever, Projektmanager Mies 2011 and RWTH Aachen University – Faculty for Architecture, Prof. Axel Sowa, Dept. Theory of Architecture Partners: Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst, Aachen, Dr. Brigitte Franzen and M:AI Museum für Architektur und Ingenieurkunst, Gelsenkirchen Ursula Kleefisch – Jobst



Wiel Arets, Wiel Arets Architects, Maastricht Chair at UdK Berlin University

Cecil Balmond BALMOND/STUDIO Art + Structure, London, Penn Design, University of Pennsylvania

Alberto Campo Baeza, Architect Chair of Architectural Design,Technical University Madrid (to be confirmed)

Junya Ishigami Junya Ishigami + Associates, Tokyo

Christian Kerez Zürich, ETH Zürich Professor Architektur + Entwurf

Dominique Perrault DPA Dominique Perrault Architecture, Paris

Werner Sobek Mies Chair, IIT Chicago ILEK Institut für Leichtbau Entwerfen + Konstruktion Stuttgart

Eduardo Souto de Moura Souto Moura arquitectos, Porto Pritzker Price Laureate 2011

Bernard Tschumi Bernard Tschumi Architects, New York / Paris

Kjetil Thorsen Snøhetta Architects Oslo / New York, (to be confirmed)

Arnold Walz designtoproduction, Stuttgart

Cultural Studies

Christoph Asendorf Europa – Universität Viadrina, Frankfurt (Oder), Faculty for Art and Cultural Sciences

Barry Bergdoll Columbia University New York, Philipp Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design MoMA, New York

Beatriz Colomina Princeton University, School of architecture, Director Media and Modernity Program

Susanne Hauser Universität der Künste, Berlin, History of Arts and Cultures

Wilfried Kuehn Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe, Exhibition Design and Curatorial Practice Kühn Malvezzi Architekten, Berlin

Phyllis Lambert Founder of the Canadian Centre for Architecture

Michael Mönninger University of Fine Arts, Braunschweig, History and Theory of Art

Lutz Robbers IKKM Weimar, Research-Fellow Programm Werkzeuge des Entwerfens

Brett Steele Architectural Association School of Architecture, Director


Rudolf zur Lippe Professor for Philosophy, Aesthetics and Theory of Art, Universität Oldenburg


Christopher Dell Hafenuniversität Hamburg, Urban Design, Theorist, Percussionist und Curator for architecture, art and philosophy

Thomas Saraceno Artist, Frankfurt

For more information on the event, visit here.

About this author
Cite: Alison Furuto. "Rethinking Mies: Positions on Modernity in the 21st Century Symposium" 04 Sep 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed . <> ISSN 0719-8884

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