Mies Van Der Rohe: The Latest Architecture and News
Built in a flood plain along the Fox River, the Farnsworth House, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is endangered again. Floodwaters are threatening the modernist house once more, as water levels are rising to reach the top of the house’s steel columns, covering its lower terrace.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (27 March 1886 – 17 August 1969) is one of the most influential architects of the 20th century, known for his role in the development of the most enduring architectural style of the era: modernism. Born in Aachen, Germany, Mies' career began in the influential studio of Peter Behrens, where Mies worked alongside other two other titans of modernism, Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier. For almost a century, Mies' minimalist style has proved very popular; his famous aphorism "less is more" is still widely used, even by those who are unaware of its origins.
In time for Women’s Day, the artistic outcome of the first call of the Lilly Reich Grant for Equality in Architecture opened at the Mies van der Rohe Pavilion in Barcelona. Running till the 22nd March 2020, the exhibition entitled Re-enactment, carried out by Laura Martínez de Guereñu, aims to put the spotlight on Reich’s overlooked work.
PHANTOM. Mies as Rendered Society is a provocative site-specific intervention developed by Andrés Jaque for the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe–designed Barcelona Pavilion in 2012 and recently reconceived and acquired by the Art Institute of Chicago.
This installation aims to unravel the myth of Mies van der Rohe as a solitary genius. Fundació Mies commissioned Andrés Jaque in 2012 to create a site-specific intervention in Mies’s most famous building, the Barcelona Pavilion. The original Pavilion of 1929 was reconstructed in 1986 with the fundamental addition of a basement. Jaque’s installation focused on this lower level, which was an overlooked yet significant part of the building, introducing new questions for contemporary scholarship about Mies.
Geometry of light, is a multimedia intervention by Luftwerk in collaboration with Iker Gil, exhibited in October, during the third edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, at the Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois.
On August 12, 1833, the Town of Chicago had roughly 200 inhabitants. Four years later, in 1837, it was upgraded to The City of Chicago – an interesting fact given that there are still 19 incorporated towns in Illinois. The Great Chicago Fire of 1871 killed 300 people, destroyed about 3.3 square miles (9 km2), and left more than 100,000 residents homeless. However, by that time Chicago had become the world’s fastest-growing city and its population had risen over 300,000 inhabitants. The fire meant these ambitious citizens had to start again.
With admirable strength, the city was reborn from the ashes and some of Chicago’s best architecture was constructed immediately after. Structures like the Rookery Building (1888, Frank Lloyd Wright), the Auditorium Building (1889, Louis Sullivan) and the Monadnock Building (1893, Burnham & Root, Holabird & Roche) are a few examples of the high standards the city was aiming for.
Since then, Chicago has only continued adding value to its urban grid and new buildings have been progressively enhancing the city’s beautiful skyline. This year Chicago celebrates the 2019-2020 Biennial and the city has plenty to offer. But, where to start?
If you love architecture, here is a list of buildings – old and new – that will help you understand, internalize and love Chicago’s built environment.
Shall we begin?
The Architectural realm has always been torn between artistic and rational cosmos. During our architectural studies, we are rarely given one specific methodology with which we can approach a project, resulting in diverse outcomes and methods of designing. However, in order for us to discover our personal stand, we must look back at the logic and philosophy of the great pioneers who influenced architecture before us.
Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Louis Kahn are four of the most notable architects to date. Read on to find out more on the creative process of these four leaders of the modern era, and why their projects and practices are still influential to our modern times.
The Mies van der Rohe residential building, the Bailey Hall built in 1955, at Illinois Institute of Technology will be subject to renovation works by Dirk Denison Architects. The Chicago-based firm will modernize the mechanical, structural, and interior works, modifying its original function, and introducing a new configuration to host up to 330 first- and second-year students, while the exterior will remain faithful to the original design and the ground floor lobby will still hold on to the Mies’ iconic recessed glass lobby.
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is presenting an exhibition devoted to the work of the ultra-modern, genre-bending artist and designer Virgil Abloh. Titled “Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech” the immersive space has been curated by the Museum's Chief Curator Michael Darling, and Samir Bantal, a director at OMA’s research wing, focusing on the creative process and collaborative work of Abloh who is redefining fashion, art, and design.
The Elmhurst Art Museum has unveiled details of a new installation taking place in the Mies van der Rohe-designed McCormick House in Chicago. Designed by Luftwerk, a Chicago-based artistic collaborative of Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero, the “Parallel Perspectives” installation is a site-specific exhibition that uses color and light interventions to activate and interpret the house, celebrating the use of geometry in the mid-Century prefab prototype.
UPDATE: In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Bauhaus, we’re re-publishing this popular infographic, which was originally published April 16th, 2012.
From the “starchitect” to “architecture for the 99%,” we are witnessing a shift of focus in the field of architecture. However, it’s in the education system where these ideas really take root and grow. This sea change inspired us to explore past movements, influenced by economic shifts, war and the introduction of new technologies, and take a closer look at the bauhaus movement.
Often associated with being anti-industrial, the Arts and Crafts Movement had dominated the field before the start of the Bauhaus in 1919. The Bauhaus’ focus was to merge design with industry, providing well-designed products for the many.
The Bauhaus not only impacted design and architecture on an international level, but also revolutionized the way design schools conceptualize education as a means of imparting an integrated design approach where form follows function.
Agustín Ferrer Casas has published an illustrated comic book charting the life and work of the renowned architect Mies van der Rohe. Featuring texts by Anatxu Zabalbeascoa and Norman Foster, MIES is a biopic inspired by Ferrer Casas’ reading of Mies van der Rohe: Menos es más by Anatxu Zabalbeascoa.
The presentation of the graphic novel is part of the Fundacio Mies van der Rohe's efforts to support new languages for the dissemination of knowledge of architecture that will be of interest to both professionals and those who want to learn about modern architecture through a rich, visual medium.
Architectural education has always been fundamentally influenced by whichever styles are popular at a given time, but that relationship flows in the opposite direction as well. All styles must originate somewhere, after all, and revolutionary schools throughout centuries past have functioned as the influencers and generators of their own architectural movements. These schools, progressive in their times, are often founded by discontented experimental minds, looking for something not previously nor currently offered in architectural output or education. Instead, they forge their own way and bring their students along with them. As those students graduate and continue on to practice or become teachers themselves, the school’s influence spreads and a new movement is born.
Italian artist Federico Babina has published the latest in his impressive portfolio of architectural illustrations. “Archivoid” seeks to “sculpt invisible masses of space” through the reading of negatives – using the architectural language of famous designers past and present, from Frank Lloyd Wright to Bjarke Ingels.
Babina’s images create an inverse point of view, a reversal of perception for an alternative reading of space, and reality itself. Making negative space his protagonist, Babina traces the “Architectural footprints” of famous architects, coupling mysterious geometries with a vibrant color scheme.
It would be hard to associate zen philosophy with Mies van der Rohe, even harder to associate it with the German Pavilion in Barcelona. Nevertheless, the latest work by American artist Spencer Finch, Fifteen stones (Ryōan-ji), precisely establishes that connection with the iconic pavilion.
Spencer Finch was the latest artist invited to intervene the Fundació's pavilion. With the aim of "provok[ing] new looks and reflections through [his] intervention in the Pavilion, [he] enhanced it as a space for inspiration and experimentation for the most innovative artistic and architectural creation." Finch joined a prominent team of artists and architects, including SANAA, Jeff Wall, Ai Wei Wei, Enric Miralles, Andrés Jaque, and Anna & Eugeni Bach, among others.