Chicago Studies: Mies

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is the father of Modernism in Chicago Architecture.

Take a look at this quick video to see how influential he was, and continues to be, in our city and suburbs.

I spent 5 years on the campus of IIT. I took classes in several building and completed my Architecture degree in Crown Hall. I was impressed with the building from day one.
There is an affection for the details of his buildings, as the video clip demonstrates. For Mies, God was in the detail of the design, and it was all about how the materials came together to create simple forms. He was all about the reduction, or minimalism, of architecture to create elegant structures.

The First Chicago School of Architecture gave the city the steel cage and covered it with stone, or brick, or terra cotta. This had everything to do with the horrors of the Great Chicago Fire and the desire to avoid it again at all costs.
Mies, appropriately identified as the architect of the Second Chicago School of Architecture, removed these materials and glorified the steel cage; literally giving rise to the modern architecture movement in Chicago.

I write this so you have an opportunity to appreciate the video and don’t assume, like some critics, that he only built ugly black boxes. Look at it this way, what Burnham and his White City was to our past, is what Mies and his black beauties are to our present.

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