Wednesday, March 27, 2013
March 27 - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
German-American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was born on March 27, 1886, in Aachen, Germany. Known simply as “Mies,” he started his own architectural firm in Berlin in 1912. His admiration for the Dutch De Stijl and Russian Constructivism movements, which demanded simplicity in architecture that benefits society, led to his minimalist concepts, expressed in his famous motto, "less is more." He fled Nazi Germany in 1937 and joined what is now the Illinois Institute of Technology, whose campus he overhauled. Mies’ mature buildings, which he called "skin and bones" architecture, include New York’s Seagram Building, the Farnsworth House (Plano, IL), and Chicago’s Federal Center and residential towers at 860-880 Lake Shore Drive (all pictured). These monuments of industrial steel and plate glass, balancing structural order with the freedom of open space, deeply influenced 20th-century architecture and helped define the modern age.