Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Mies Resurrected


Mies van der Rohe's modernist masterpiece Crown Hall, on the Chicago IIT campus that he also designed, has just reopened after the most radical restoration in its 50 year history. Read all about it here. (This story originally appeared in the Chicago Reader in different and more manageable form under the title, Sweet Nothing, September 2nd, 2005.)

4 comments:

John said...

I really need to visit the school to see this in person before making any judgement, though it appears that the school has renovated its web page. And boy, it's annoying.

Lil'G said...

Just a couple of minor, or not so minor, corrections:

In response to Donna Robertson's comments on the "custom extrusion" versus the "off the shelf extrusion"... the stops are milled, not extruded. You extrude aluminum mullions, you make a special steel shape, like the stops, by milling it.

The second correction(minor)is that the term is "countersinking" the screws not "counter-synching".

Other than that the articles is great.

Lynn Becker said...

So little time, so much to learn. Thanks for the info; corrections made.

Anonymous said...

The statement in the article that captures the true meaning and the essence of Mies' architecture is: "communal space that eloquently expresses the idea of freedom within order."

Clearly stated with a minimum of words, almost nothing.

Mies recognized, through his post WWI experience of the "chaos of our times", that order is a neccessary part of our social existence. That is his accepted fact. But freedom "to fulfill oneself" is the more significant aspect of life, and therefore the existence of order is reduced to the minimum it can be. The flowing open space suggests we are free, and no ordering elements (columns) interfere with the freedom to use enclosed space as we wish. That is the meaning and significance of the clear span space.

There is no other modern architecture with as noble a mission and as powerful a metaphor of the individual in his society as that created by Mies van der Rohe. Crown Hall is one of his masterpieces, and it is truly wonderful that it is being restored.