Mies Van Der Rohe
Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), was a German-born architect and educator. He is widely known as one of the 20th century’s influential architects. His emphasis on open space and industrial materials used in construction helped define modern Architecture.
He spent the first half of his career in his native country, doing mainly residential work, and received his first independent commission, the Riehl House, when he was only 20 years old. Mies quickly became a leading figure in the avant-garde life of Berlin and was widely respected for his innovative structures, Including the Barcelona Pavilion. In 1930, he was named director of the Bauhaus, the renowned German school of experimental art and design, which he ,ed until 1933 when he closed the school under pressure from the Nazi Regime.
Mies went on to design some of the nation’s most recognizable skyscrapers, including the Lake Shore Drive Apartments, and the IBM Building in Chicago and the Seagram Building in New York City.
Whether or not you agree with Mies’ assertion that less is more, his contribution to the modern urban landscape cannot be overlooked. Mies’ architecture has been described as being expressive of the industrial age in the same way that Gothic was expressive of the age of ecclesiasticism. In 1956, famed architect Eero Saarinen spoke at the dedication of Mies’ masterwork, S.R. Crown Hall, and lauded him as Chicago’s third great artist, placing Mies in the prestigious lineage of Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright. “Great architecture is both universal and individual,” Saarinen said at the dedication, “The universality comes because there is an architecture expressive of its time. But the individuality comes as the expression of one man’s unique combination of faith and honesty and devotion and belief in architecture.” After 20 years as the director of architecture at IIT, Mies resigned in 1958 at the age of 72. In 1959, the Royal Institute of British Architects awarded Mies its Gold Medal and the following year he received the AIA Gold Medal, the highest award given by the American Association of Architects. President Lyndon Johnson presented Mies with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963.
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.
text from http://www.miessociety.org/legacy/