Less Is More: 10 Buildings by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Add to
Like
Comment
Share
By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo / Published by Dwell
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's "International Style" was the impetus for the midcentury modernism we know today. Thus, he's widely acknowledged as one of the 20th century's greatest architects.

With his glass-and-metal creations and his iconic Barcelona chair, Mies sought to establish a new architectural ethos that would represent modern times. His work was the cornerstone for the Museum of Modern Art's 1932 exhibition, "The International Style"—curated by Philip Johnson and Henry-Russell Hitchcock—which brought the modernist movement to a wider audience and solidified his role as a leader. His legacy lives on through his influential ideology, which proves that—as the architect once stated—"less is more."

Farnsworth House 

Less Is More: 10 Buildings by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe - Photo 1 of 10 - One of the most significant of Mies' works, the Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois, was built between 1945 and 1951 for Dr. Edith Farnsworth as a weekend retreat. The home embraces his concept of a strong connection between structure and nature, and may be the fullest expression of his modernist ideals. 

One of the most significant of Mies' works, the Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois, was built between 1945 and 1951 for Dr. Edith Farnsworth as a weekend retreat. The home embraces his concept of a strong connection between structure and nature, and may be the fullest expression of his modernist ideals. 

Less Is More: 10 Buildings by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe - Photo 2 of 10 - Designed by Mies van der Rohe as part of the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona, Spain, The Barcelona Pavilion showcased his iconic Barcelona chair for Knoll and introduced architecture's new modern movement to the world.  

Designed by Mies van der Rohe as part of the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona, Spain, The Barcelona Pavilion showcased his iconic Barcelona chair for Knoll and introduced architecture's new modern movement to the world.  

Less Is More: 10 Buildings by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe - Photo 3 of 10 - The Chicago Federal Center is another example of the incredible architectural legacy that Mies van der Rohe left the city of Chicago. In his book Chicago: In and Around the Loop, Walking Tours of Architecture and History, Gerard Wolfe refers to the Federal Center as "the ultimate expression of the second Chicago school of architecture." Alexander Calder’s striking ‘Flamingo’ sculpture complements the linear complex. 

The Chicago Federal Center is another example of the incredible architectural legacy that Mies van der Rohe left the city of Chicago. In his book Chicago: In and Around the Loop, Walking Tours of Architecture and History, Gerard Wolfe refers to the Federal Center as "the ultimate expression of the second Chicago school of architecture." Alexander Calder’s striking ‘Flamingo’ sculpture complements the linear complex. 

Less Is More: 10 Buildings by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe - Photo 4 of 10 - Completed in 1956, Crown Hall is the home of the College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois. Widely regarded as one of Mies van der Rohe's masterpieces, Crown Hall beautifully illustrates his basic steel-and-glass construction technique.  Mies considered the building to be the embodiment of his famous statement, "less is more."

Completed in 1956, Crown Hall is the home of the College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois. Widely regarded as one of Mies van der Rohe's masterpieces, Crown Hall beautifully illustrates his basic steel-and-glass construction technique. Mies considered the building to be the embodiment of his famous statement, "less is more."

Less Is More: 10 Buildings by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe - Photo 5 of 10 - As his last building and his only library, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (MLKML) is the central facility of the District of Columbia Public Library System. The 400,000-square-foot steel, brick, and glass structure was completed in 1972 and is a rare example of modern architecture in Washington, D.C. Currently closed for updates, the building is scheduled to reopen in 2020. 

As his last building and his only library, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library (MLKML) is the central facility of the District of Columbia Public Library System. The 400,000-square-foot steel, brick, and glass structure was completed in 1972 and is a rare example of modern architecture in Washington, D.C. Currently closed for updates, the building is scheduled to reopen in 2020. 

Less Is More: 10 Buildings by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe - Photo 6 of 10 - Setting the standard for the modern skyscraper, the 38-story Seagram Building is located in the heart of New York City on Park Avenue. The elegant structure was Mies' first tall office building construction and embodies the principles of modernism. 

Setting the standard for the modern skyscraper, the 38-story Seagram Building is located in the heart of New York City on Park Avenue. The elegant structure was Mies' first tall office building construction and embodies the principles of modernism. 

Less Is More: 10 Buildings by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe - Photo 7 of 10 - Built between 1949 and 1951, the iconic 860-880 Lake Shore Drive towers redefined high-rise living for the post-war generation. An integral part of the Chicago skyline, the 26-story towers overlook Lake Michigan and offer residents a stunning waterfront view. 

Built between 1949 and 1951, the iconic 860-880 Lake Shore Drive towers redefined high-rise living for the post-war generation. An integral part of the Chicago skyline, the 26-story towers overlook Lake Michigan and offer residents a stunning waterfront view. 

Less Is More: 10 Buildings by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe - Photo 8 of 10 - Detroit's Lafayette Park—the first urban-renewal project in the United States—constitutes the world's largest collection of buildings designed by Mies van der Rohe. Completed in 1959, the 78-acre complex is not as well known as some of Mies' other projects. However, it deserves recognition as it still remains a vibrant neighborhood, even being more than 50 years old.

Detroit's Lafayette Park—the first urban-renewal project in the United States—constitutes the world's largest collection of buildings designed by Mies van der Rohe. Completed in 1959, the 78-acre complex is not as well known as some of Mies' other projects. However, it deserves recognition as it still remains a vibrant neighborhood, even being more than 50 years old.

Less Is More: 10 Buildings by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe - Photo 9 of 10 - In 1953, Nina J. Cullinan gifted a building addition to Houston's Museum of Fine Arts as a memorial for her parents. Her only stipulation was that it had to be designed by an architect of "outstanding reputation and wide experience." After being selected for the commission, Mies arrived in Houston on a hot summer day and rejected the idea of a standard open museum courtyard by remarking, "But in this climate, you cannot want an open patio."

In 1953, Nina J. Cullinan gifted a building addition to Houston's Museum of Fine Arts as a memorial for her parents. Her only stipulation was that it had to be designed by an architect of "outstanding reputation and wide experience." After being selected for the commission, Mies arrived in Houston on a hot summer day and rejected the idea of a standard open museum courtyard by remarking, "But in this climate, you cannot want an open patio."

Less Is More: 10 Buildings by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe - Photo 10 of 10 - The Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) is a museum that Mies designed for modern art in Berlin. The museum building and its sculpture gardens opened in 1968.

The Neue Nationalgalerie (New National Gallery) is a museum that Mies designed for modern art in Berlin. The museum building and its sculpture gardens opened in 1968.