Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig

born Ludwig Mies (1886-1969)
   architect; deemed the best builder of his generation. Born to a master mason in Aachen, he added his mother's family name, van der Rohe," to his own when he began his career. Combining a rudimentary education with his father's train-ing in building materials, he assisted on construction projects and thereafter counseled that "education must begin with the practical side of life." At fifteen he attached himself to some architects in Aachen and in 1905 took an appren-ticeship with Berlin's* Bruno Paul, a furniture designer influenced by Jugendstil. When Peter Behrens* hired him in 1908, he polished his education under Ger-many's foremost modern architect. While Miles was lured by his employer's monumental, neoclassical style, he was especially inspired by Behren's ideas on industrial design. Although Behrens assigned him to supervise one of his better-known projects—the German embassy in St. Petersburg—Mies opened his own Berlin office in 1912. Before World War I he designed a palatial home near The Hague in Holland and several neoclassical villas around Berlin. As an en-listed man, he spent the war building bridges and roads in the Balkans.
   At war's end Mies returned to Berlin and joined the Novembergruppe.* Lead-ing its architectural section, he arranged exhibits of advanced architectural con-cepts that included his own skyscraper ideas. He discarded neoclassicism and was soon designing the glass, steel, and reinforced-concrete structures for which he became famous. His shift to towers of glass laid the basis for the skyscrapers built over the next several decades. What distinguished his work from that of contemporaries was an ability to produce giant architectural designs of over-whelming precision and simplicity. Long before it became a motto, he coined his saying less is more." Yet because of Germany's precarious economic sit-uation, he was unable to design a single important building by the mid-1920s.
   From 1925 Mies joined several well-publicized projects, including brick villas and low-cost housing projects. His 1926 monument to Karl Liebknecht* and Rosa Luxemburg* triggered appointment as vice president of the German Werk-bund, an organization devoted since 1907 to integrating art and industry. As director of the Werkbund's 1927 Stuttgart exhibition, he oversaw the Weissenhof development, a project that included several blocks of buildings by Mies, Beh-rens, Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius,* J.J.P. Oud (a leading Dutch architect), Bruno Taut,* and Victor Bourgeois (a Belgian modernist). In contrast to his colleagues, Mies was less focused on social questions than on aesthetic issues. His Stuttgart success led the Republic to hire him to design the German pavilion for the 1929 International Exposition at Barcelona. A glass-tower project, the pavilion was praised for its purity and perfection; many still esteem it the most beautiful modern building ever constructed. In 1930 he became director of the Bauhaus.* He found a school plagued by chaos; his iron-handed authority soon reestablished a respected Kunstgewerbeschule. Threatened in 1932 by a growing NSDAP presence, he moved the school from Dessau to Berlin. After Hitler's* seizure of power, Mies struggled to maintain the Bauhaus, but finally closed it in July 1933.
   Mies worked in Berlin until 1937, designing homes and projects that rarely went beyond his remarkable sketches; his flat-roofed buildings were anathema to the Nazis. In 1937 he went to Chicago to lead the Illinois Institute of Tech-nology's architecture school (then the Armour Institute). Remaining until his death, he trained many of America's best architects. Despite his time with the Novembergruppe, he was quite unpolitical. After World War II, when he was told that an architect of some repute had remained in Nazi Germany, Mies retorted that he could give a damn about the man's politics; what concerned him was the fact that he was a rotten architect!
   REFERENCES:Blake, Master Builders; Blaser, Mies van der Rohe; Drexler, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe; Schulze, Mies van der Rohe.

A Historical dictionary of Germany's Weimar Republic, 1918-1933. .

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  • Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig — orig. Maria Ludwig Michael Mies born March 27, 1886, Aachen, Ger. died Aug. 17, 1969, Chicago, Ill., U.S. German born U.S. architect and designer. Mies learned masonry from his father and later worked in the office of Peter Behrens. His first… …   Universalium

  • Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig — SUBJECT AREA: Architecture and building [br] b. 27 March 1886 Aachen, Germany d. 17 August 1969 Chicago, USA [br] German architect, third of the great trio of long lived, second generation modernists who established the international style in the …   Biographical history of technology

  • MIES VAN DER ROHE, Ludwig — (1886 1969)    Ludwig Mies van der Rohe s dictum less is more came to be understood as the underlying rationale for German modernism. Director of the Bauhaus School of Dessau from 1930 until the Nazis closed it in 1933, Mies van der Rohe worked… …   Historical Dictionary of Architecture

  • Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig — ► (1886 1969) Arquitecto alemán. En 1905 trabajó a las órdenes de un arquitecto especializado en la construcción de madera. En 1908 se asoció con Behrens; con él llevó la dirección de las obras de un gran edificio clasicista: la embajada alemana… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Mies Van Der Rohe,Ludwig — Mies Van Der Ro·he (mēzʹ văn dər rōʹə, rōʹ, fän, mēsʹ), Ludwig. 1886 1969. German born American architect considered a founder of the International Style. His steel frame and glass buildings include the Seagram Building in New York City (1956… …   Universalium

  • Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig —  (1886–1969) German born U.S. architect. mijnheer, mynheer. The first is the Dutch spelling, the second the English of the Dutch term for sir. Either should be capitalized when placed before a name …   Bryson’s dictionary for writers and editors

  • Mies van der Rohe — Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Ludwig Mies van der Rohe — Born Ludwig Mies March 27, 1886(1886 03 27) Aachen, Kingdom of Prussia, German Empire …   Wikipedia

  • Ludwig Mies van der Rohe — Timbre de la poste allemande pour les 100 ans de Mies van der Rohe en 1986 Présentation Nom de naissance Ludwig Mies Naissance …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe — Timbre de 1986 à son effigie. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (né le 27 mars 1886 à Aix la Chapelle, décédé le 17 août 1969 à Chicag …   Wikipédia en Français


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