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Rediscovered Mies van der Rohe Design Is Being Built on the Campus of Indiana University

Rediscovered Mies van der Rohe Design Is Being Built on the Campus of Indiana University

A new shared facility for Indiana University's Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design, materialises a recently rediscovered design by Mies van der Rohe. The 1952 project was intended for a fraternity house on the same IU Bloomington campus where it is currently being built, and the design incorporated the same white steel frame and expansive glass panes aesthetic as the Farnsworth House, created around the same time. After being forgotten for six decades, the design resurfaced in 2013, and the two-storey building will open its doors this fall.

In 1950, Mies van der Rohe received the commission for Indiana University's fraternity house, at a time when the famous architect was also given the opportunity to design Crown Hall for the Illinois Institute of Technology, which would end up becoming one of his masterpieces. The fraternity house project was abandoned due to a lack of funds, and decades later, the blueprints were eventually donated to the Mies archive at The Museum of Modern Art. In 2013, plans were set in motion for the construction of the design, and subsequent research discovered significant documentation among the papers of one of Mies' associates. The University of Indiana contacted architect Dirk Lohan, grandson of Mies, who agreed that the University could use the design and attribute it to Mies.

Rediscovered Mies van der Rohe Design Is Being Built on the Campus of Indiana University - Image 2 of 3
Exterior view of the northwest corner of the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design, a Mies van der Rohe Design, on the campus of Indiana University Bloomington. Image © Hadley Fruits

Bearing close connections with both the Farnsworth house and the Illinois Institute of Technology concepts, Mies's design for the UI building is a rectangular glass and steel structure elevated from the ground. The main space measuring 930square meters features a central square atrium that further enhances the building's openness.


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Mies van der Rohe's design was entrusted to New York-based firm Thomas Phifer and Partners to be adapted to current building codes and its current academic function while preserving the intended architectural aesthetic. The building will contain lecture spaces, workshops and offices, with the second-floor layout remaining unaltered, while the ground floor had to be reconfigured. To comply with building codes, a new stair was added, original single-pane glass was replaced with an insulating one, and the project was equipped with MEP systems according to contemporary standards.

Rediscovered Mies van der Rohe Design Is Being Built on the Campus of Indiana University - Image 3 of 3
Interior view of the southeast corner of the exterior atrium courtyard of the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design, a Mies van der Rohe Design, on the campus of Indiana University Bloomington. Image © Hadley Fruits

  • Project Team: Thomas Phifer, Principal; Stephen Dayton, Project Director; Katie Bennett, Director; Matthew Zuckerman, Jessica Luscher
  • Structural Engineer: Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, Chicago
  • Mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection: Cosentini Associates, Chicago
  • Lighting: Cosentini Associates, New York

News via Indiana University

About this author
Cite: Andreea Cutieru. "Rediscovered Mies van der Rohe Design Is Being Built on the Campus of Indiana University" 21 Jun 2021. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/963685/rediscovered-mies-van-der-rohe-design-is-being-built-on-the-campus-of-indiana-university> ISSN 0719-8884
Exterior view of the northwest corner of the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design, a Mies van der Rohe Design, on the campus of Indiana University Bloomington. Image © Hadley Fruits

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