The Barcelona Chair achieves the serenity of line and the refinement of proportions and materials characteristic of Mies van der Rohe's highly disciplined architecture. It is supported on each side by two chrome-plated, flat steel bars.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's mastery of spatial composition remains unequalled to this day. Influenced by Gropius and Le Corbusier, he found great inspiration in glass, steel, iron, and concrete.
In 1946, Mies would begin his work on the Farnsworth house, in which he was able, as in the Barcelona Pavilion, to pursue his ideas of structure and space, with minimal requirements of program. After World War II, Mies would become perhaps the most significant designers of American skyscrapers, transforming the common steel frames of such structures into subtle expressions of module, proportion and detail.
In 1940, Armour Institute and Lewis Institute merged to form Illinois Institute of Technology. Armour Insitute's original seven acres could not accommodate the combined schools' needs, and Mies was encouraged to develop plans for a newly expanded 120-acre campus.
Not since Thomas Jefferson's University of Virginia (1819) had an American campus been the work of a single architect.
After 1923, Mies's style shifted, and he came heavily under the influence of Dutch neo-plasticism and Russian suprematism. The former influence, along with the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, drove Mies to experiment with independent walls and ceilings arranged in an open, pin-wheeling manner.
During World War I Mies served as an enlisted man, building bridges and roads in the Balkans. When he returned to Berlin in 1918, the fall of the German monarchy and the birth of the democratic Weimar Republic helped inspire a prodigious burst of new creativity among modernist artists and architects. Architecture, painting, and sculpture, according to the manifesto of the Bauhaus—the avant-garde school of the arts just established in Weimar—were not only moving toward new forms of expression but were becoming internationalized in scope.
In 1905, at the age of 19, Mies went to work for an architect in Berlin, but he soon left his job to become an apprentice with Bruno Paul, a leading furniture designer who worked in the Art Nouveau style of the period. Two years later he received his first commission, a traditional suburban house.
Born in 1886 in Aachen, Germany, Mies van der Rohe had his most important early apprenticeship in the offices of Peter Behrens between 1908 and 1911. After World War I, Mies joined the utopian artists of the Novembergruppe and founded the avant-garde magazine G (Gestaltung).
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), a German-born architect and educator, is widely acknowledged as one of the 20th century's greatest architects. By emphasizing open space and revealing the industrial materials used in construction, he helped define modern architecture.
German architect, furniture designer and teacher, active also in the USA. With Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier, he was a leading figure in the development of modern architecture. His reputation rests not only on his buildings and projects but also on his rationally based method of architectural education.
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