Remembering Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

“Our built environment is meant to be lived in. Mies’ buildings, beyond merely affecting our lives, endow them with greater significance and beauty. His buildings radiate the confidence, rationality, and elegance of their creator and, free of ornamentation and excess, confess the essential elements of our lives. In our time, where there is no limit to excess, Mies’ reductionist approach is as pertinent as ever. As we reduce the distractions and focus on the essential elements of our environment and ourselves, we find they are great, intricate, and beautiful. Less is more.”

-          Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Society

Today, Contempo Space honors the life and work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the brilliant German architect who, along with Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier, pioneered modern architecture.  Our design philosophy owes an inestimable debt to the clarity, simplicity, freedom and rationality of Mies Van Der Rohe designs.

Below please find a small collection of photographs of Mies van der Rohe designs accompanied by a brief commentary. Hopefully, these may help illustrate his insurmountable influence on modern architecture and design.

 Barcelona Pavilion

Barcelona Pavilion“Artistic expression is a manifestation of the unity of design and material. This once again underlines the necessity of incorporating works of sculpture (or painting) creatively into the interior setting from the outset. In the great epochs of cultural history this was done by architects as a matter of course and, no doubt, without conscious reflection.”

-          Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Photo Credit: Hans Peter Schaefer

 Neue Natoinalgalerie Berlin

Neue Nationalgalerie Berlin

“Of all Mies’s buildings, [the New National Gallery] is his most classical in feeling. It is a temple to art on a man-made acropolis.  The museum is, however, a product of its own time…. As in Mies’s other buildings, the New National Gallery’s qualities as a space are the product of the technology and materials of the twentieth century working in conjunction with his idea of an architecturally defined spatial continuum.”

-          David Spaeth

Photo Credit: Harald Kliems

 The Seagram Building, New York

Seagram Building

“Skyscrapers reveal their bold structural pattern during construction. Only then does the gigantic steel web seem impressive. When the outer walls are put in place, the structural system, which is the basis of all artistic design, is hidden by a chaos of meaningless and trivial forms…Instead of trying to solve old problems with these old forms we should develop new forms from the very nature of the new problems. We can see the new structural principles most clearly when we use glass in place of the outer walls, which is feasible today since in a skeleton building these outer walls do not carry weight. The use of glass imposes new solutions.

-          Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

 Farnsworth House, Plano, IL

Farnsworth House

“The Farnsworth house is Mies’s summary statement of those spatial and architectural concerns he first realized in the Barcelona Pavilion, and which he further developed in the Tugendhat house…. However, contained in what is a pure expression of its age is another vision, that of a transparent house in a verdant landscape.”

-          David Spaeth

 Crown Hall, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago IL

Crown Hall

“The essence of space is not determined by the mere presence of limiting surfaces but by the spiritual principle of this limitation. The true task of architecture is to let the structure articulate the space; it is not the building that is the work of art but space.”

-          Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Photo Credit: Joe Ravi

Remembering Ludwig Mies van der Rohe via Contempo

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