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Home About Designers Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe PDF Print E-mail
* 27th of March1886 in Aachen
† 17th of August 1969 in Chicago
At age of 27 years, Ludwig Mies added-on his mother’s maiden name, calling himself henceforward Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Very early in the age, between 11 and fourteen, Ludwig’s journey through life becomes apparent. Under his father’s instruction at the Aachen Dombauschule, he starts his education as stonemason. He is employed as a draftsman in an architecture practice at his hometown at age 17; then, at 19 years-old, he goes to Berlin, where he works for Bruno Paul.
Bruno Paul, 12 years older than Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, becomes at the time teacher and director of the Kunstgewerbe Museum in Berlin. In 1907, he is one of the founder members of the German Work Federation (Deutscher Werkbund). The Werkbund is to become an important event in the development of modern architecture and industrial design, particularly in the later creation of the Bauhaus School of Design.
Between 1908 and 1911, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is employed in Peter Behrens’ architecture bureau. Behrens, in his early 40’s, is also a founder of the German Work Federation and an outrider of the objective architecture and modern industrial design. At the same time Walter Gropius, the founder of Bauhaus, and Le Corbusier are working there.
During this phase of his career, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe collaborates in designing the German Embassy in St. Petersburg. In 1912, Mies van der Rohe opens his own architecture practice in Berlin and designs of high-rise buildings with glass façades attract a great deal of attention in the 1920s. From him, we get the proverb: “Less can be more”.
In 1922, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe joins the November group of important German expressionist artists and architects.
In 1926-1927, Mies van der Rohe is entrusted with organizing the Werkbund exhibition “Die Wohnung“ in Stuttgart, which gives rise to the Weißenhof Settlement. One housing unit of that settlement is designed by him.
In 1929, at the age of 43, Mies van der Rohe builds the German Pavilion for the World Exposition in Barcelona; therefore, he designs for it the famous Barcelona Chair, Barcelona Ottoman, Barcelona Daybed, Barcelona Bench, Barcelona Table, Coffee Table and Wooden Table. During this time, he cooperates with Lilly Reich, a German modernist designer. The Barcelona chair is one of the most photographed furniture pieces of the Bauhaus era.
In 1930, Mies von der Rohe builds Villa Tugendhat in Brünn (Brno, Czech Republic) and designs the famous chair “Brno“ and the “Brno Tubular Chair”. That same year in 1930, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe becomes head of the Bauhaus in Dessau. He is able to prevent it from being shut down by the NSDAP by moving it to Berlin in 1932; but in 1933, the Bauhaus is forced to close permanently.
In 1931, he designs the Chaiselounge,the Relax Chair and the Chair with Footrest. Concerning the designs of his Cantilever Chair and the Cantilever Armchair, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer go to court against Mart Stam in order to nominate the initiator of this revolutionary chair design and the court awards finally the authorship to Mart Stam.
In 1938, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe emigrates to the US and opens an architecture office in Chicago. At the same time, he becomes head of the architecture department at the Illinois Institute of Technology and in the following years many masterpieces of the International Modern style are built following plans by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, to inlcude the Fox River House (1945-1950), Farnsworth House (1946-1951) at Plano, Illinois, the Lake Shore Drive apartments in Chicago (1948-1951), and the Lafayette Towers in Detroit (1955-1963).
In 1958, the Seagram Building is finished in New York; and in 1962, Mies van der Rohe designs the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is a leading exponent of the International Modern style of 20th-century in architecture and design.