Thursday, August 04, 2005

He's Baaaaack! Mies's Masterpiece, Crown Hall, reopens on August 27th

Saturday, August 27th, IIT will host a day-long festival to mark the reopening of Mies van der Rohe's 1956 S.R. Crown Hall, closed this summer to undergo a complete restoration. A full day of family-friendly activities is being promised, including tours, a performance of "The Glass House," June Finfer's play on the creation of Mies's Farnsworth House, and "some of Chicago's top bands, all under a tent on Crown Hall's expansive lawn." Times are from 11 A.M. to 6 P.M. Location is 3360 S. State Street on the Illinois Institute of Technology campus designed by the master, himself. All events are free and open to the public. For more information, call 312/567.5014 or go to the website.


Randi Doeker said...

It will very interesting to see if the university and its architects made any effort at all to eliminate the features that regularly kill many birds.

I would guess nothing was done.

I often wonder if Mies would be happy to know that his legacy includes killing millions of birds.

Jake F said...

I imagine Mies would love the fact his design resulted in the killing of birds! After all, he hated animals didn't he.


What are you talking about?

Lynn Becker said...

I have an unpublished piece on bird collisions that I should probably put up on my web site. There's no evidence that Mies hated birds or other living things. The development of the glass wall was, in fact, a way of bringing nature back into buildings. As always, unintended consequences result. Especially in the case of Chicago, which is on a key migratory flight path, large numbers, perhaps millions, of birds die flying into glass, which has become a potently lethal, non-living predator. Thankfully, today architects like Jeanne Gang, with her Ford Calument Environmental Center, are coming up with new ways of preserving transparency without making it a deathtrap for flying birds.

Randi Doeker said...

I know nothing of Mies' feelings about animals and certainly did not mean to suggest his killer designs were deliberate. They are just terrible by accident.

We assume that of all architects - at least we did up until now. There are thousands who now should know better but appear to believe their design choices are exempt from basic science.

I've had a well-known Chicago 'green' architect tell me that birds would not be allowed near her new building -- like they won't get FAA clearance for landing or some such.

Jeanne's conversion to an architect who really gets it probably happened the morning she stood outside one of the Mies buildings in the IL Center complex watching a stream of birds bounce off the windows.

As long as we can identify by name the architects who 'get it' we are still on a downward trajectory.