Believing that less is more, Mies van der Rohe designed rational, minimalist skyscrapers that set the standard for modernist design.
March 27, 1886 in Aachen, Germany
August 17, 1969
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Adopted his mother's maiden name, van der Rohe, when he opened his practice in 1912.
- Worked in the office of Bruno Paul in Berlin
- Spent four years in the studio of Peter Behrens
Buildings by Mies van der Rohe:
- 1928-29: Barcelona Pavilion
- 1950: Farnsworth House, Plano, Illinois
- 1951: Lake Shore Drive Apartments, Chicago
- 1956: Crown Hall, Chicago
- 1958: Seagram Building, New York (with Philip Johnson)
- 1959-74: Federal Center, Chicago
Furniture Designs by Mies van der Rohe:
Associated Styles and Movements:
About Mies van der Rohe:
The United States has a love-hate relationship with Mies van der Rohe. Some say that he stripped architecture of all humanity, creating cold, sterile and unlivable environments. Others praise his work, saying he created architecture in its most pure form.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe began his career in his family stone-carving business in Germany. He never received any formal architectural training, but when he was a teenager he worked as a draftsman for several architects. Moving to Berlin, he found work in the offices of architect and furniture designer Bruno Paul and industrial architect Peter Behrens.
Early in his life, Mies van der Rohe began experimenting with steel frames and glass walls. He was director of the Bauhaus School of Design from 1930 until it disbanded in 1933. He moved to the United States in 1937 and for twenty years (1938-1958) he was Director of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Mies van der Rohe taught his taught students at IIT to build first with wood, then stone, and then brick before progressing to concrete and steel. He believed that architects must completely understand their materials before they can design.
Mies van der Rohe was not the first architect to practice simplicity in design, but he carried the ideals of rationalism and minimalism to new levels. His glass-walled Farnsworth House near Chicago stirred controversy and legal battles. His bronze and glass Seagram Building in New York City (designed in collaboration with Philip Johnson) is considered America's first glass skyscraper. And, his philosophy that "less is more" became a guiding principle for architects in the mid-twentieth century.
Skyscrapers around the world are modeled after designs by Mies van der Rohe.