Ludwig Mies van der Rohe : architect biography

famous architect : Ludwig Mies van der Rohe [page1] [page2]

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Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe architect Ludwig Mies was born in Aachen, Germany, to the wife of a stonemason in 1886. He attended the Cathedral School there between 1897 and 1900. In 1905 he moved to Berlin and, without formal architectural training, became an apprentice in the office of furniture designer (famous interior designer) Bruno Paul. In 1907, he built his first house as an independent architect, a wooden house in eighteenth-century style under the influence of English domestic architecture. Employed as a draftsman and designer in the office of Peter Behrens at the same time as Gropius was a senior assistant, Mies remained there until 1911. Among projects he worked on in Behrens's office were the German Embassy in St Petersburg (1911-1912) and an early study of a house (1911) for the art collectors Anton and Hélene Kröller at the Hague in the Netherlands.

When Mies van der Rohe left the office of Peter Behrens, be was commissioned by Mrs. Kröller to prepare a new design for a house for the Hague, Netherlands. Mies van der Rohe worked for a year in Holland. A full-scale wood and canvas model was erected on the site, but the building was not built (A house was eventually built to the design of H. P. Beriage.)

Mies 's design for the house was derived from his study of the work of Kari Friedrich Schinkel (1781-1840). The project is known from drawings and photographs of the model and the mock-up. It was about that time that Mies, added his mother's family name, van der Rohe, to his surname for reason of its "sonorous" sound.

Reestablishing his practice as an independent architect in Berlin in 1912, Mies van der Rohe remained there until 1914, when he entered military service. After demobilization, he practiced architecture in Berlin until 1937. In 1918 he joined the Novembergruppe and served as its director of architectural exhibits until 1925. Mies van der Rohe became a member of the Zehner Ring. From 1926 to 1932, Mies van der Rohe served as first vicepresident of the Deutscher Werkbund.

In 1921, a competition was held for the design of a skyscraper on the Friedrichstrasse in Berlin. Mies 's scheme was forward looking, of great simplicity, in the form of three prismatic towers around a central core. The exterior was sheathed with glass. However, this project was not acceptable because the conditions of the competition could not be met with this solution.

related links

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe - at vitruvio.ch
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe - Villa Tugendhat - official site

There was no client for Mies 's proposal for a glass skyscraper (1922) in the form of a thirty-story tower designed for an irregular site located near the crossing of two broad avenues. The remarkable free-form plan sheathed in glass remained a strictly aesthetic study, without a solution for its structure. The project is known from photographs of a model, drawings, and sketches.

Dating of the proposal for a concrete country house is based on evidence that it was displayed in Berlin in May 1923 and at the Weimar Bauhaus in the autumn of that year. The proposal is known from photographs of a model and a few drawings. As this project shows Mies van der Rohe moving to a true "modem" style, it has always been of great interest. He undertook a number of studies of concrete buildings, including office structures at this time.

The plan for a brick country house in 1924 has a remarkable resemblance to the de Stiji paintings of Theo Van Doesburg. Mies van der Rohe was interested in brick as a traditional material and used it in the design for this proposed country house. Walls were free standing, sliding out from beneath the roof into the landscape. The walls connected to glass enclosures produced an entirely new effect, with radical implications for living style. Mies van der Rohe used these concepts to good effect in the Barcelona Pavilion of 1929.

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The brick monument to Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg (1926) in Berlin commemorated the ill-fated Spartacist 1919 uprising. Mies 's design was an abstract brick structure 6 m high, 12 m long, and at the widest, 4 m wide. Related to constructivist sculpture, it has also been compared to Frank Lloyd Wright's design for the Kaufmann house, "Falling Water." The five-pointed star and hammer and sickle completed the design. The Nazis ordered it destroyed in 1933. It was an exception for Mies van der Rohe to design a political monument, for he was normally nonpolitical. The commission came from Eduard Fuchs, president of the German Communist Party at that time. Mies van der Rohe was later attacked as a Communist because of this commission.

In 1927 Mies van der Rohe was director and designer of the Werkbund Exposition, "The Weissenhofsiedlung," overlooking Stuttgart. Sixteen architects of world renown, including Le Corbusier, Peter Behrens, Richard Docker, Hans Pelzig, Hans Scharoun, and Walter Gropius were commissioned to design and build 320 white houses. The houses were of the very latest design, using the most recently developed materials. This was the first housing project to be built in Europe using designs that were the last word in modernity - flat roofs and cubic forms. Glass and concrete were the main construction materials. The houses were built taking into consideration the latest ideas in communal living that psychologists and sociologists had devised.

This success was followed by Mies 's appointment as Director of the German Section of the International Exposition in Barcelona, Spain. The pavilion was awarded to Mies van der Rohe in the summer of 1928 because the Weimar Republic wished to present itself as progressive. It was used as an information and reception center and was opened in the presence of the Spanish King Alfonso XIII and the royal family. Demolished in 1930, the building is known from photographs. Reconstructed in Barcelona in the 1980s, this icon of modem architecture may now be experienced in facsimile on its original site. Many feel that Mies 's fame would have endured on the basis of this one building. The Barcelona chairs designed for the pavilion, originally in white leather, remain in production and have been widely used in the United States.

Mies van der Rohe became well known for the glass and steel, "skin and bones" clarity that the Barcelona Pavilion expressed as well as the planar inner walls that are an outgrowth of the belief that space must be made universal and flexible.

The luxurious Tugendhat house in Brno, Czechoslovakia (1930) was the largest designed by Mies van der Rohe. On a sloping site, the building is a compact two-story plan, entered from the street at the upper level. The free flowing spaces of the living and dining areas give this house much of its quality. Its use of exterior terraces on both levels is omparable to Le Corbusier's Villa Stein in Garches, France, of 1927. Programmatically, the house is similar in function to large, late nineteenth-century country houses. Individual spaces could be shut off using draperies on ceiling tracks. The curved wall denning the dining room is Macassar wood, with an onyx freestanding wall denning space between living area and study. The Brno chairs designed for this house are still produced. The house suffered damage and is now owned by the city of Bmo. Restoration of the house was begun in 1986.

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