Restoring Mies van der Rohe: 860-880 Lake Shore Drive

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Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was born in Aquisgran the 27th of Marz of 1886 and died in Chicago the 17th of August of 1969. He was active in Germany, from 1908 to 1938, when he moved to USA and where he was until his death. He was also considerate a “master” of the Modern Movement, since the 50s, and he was one of the fathers of this movement with Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright.

Mies van der Rohe, who in his childhood was guided by masters as Hendrik Petrus Berlage or Peter Behrens, he always kept tabs of the Villlet-Le-Duc’s rationalism or Karl Friedrich Schinkel eclectic classicism, having a strong connection with the architectural historicism. As he said in his manifesto “Baukunst und Zeiwille” about this: “it is not possible to move on looking back”.

In 1900 he began to work with his father in the stone workshop of the family and shortly afterward he move to Berlin to work with Bruno Paul in 1902, designing furniture. He planned his first house in 1907, the “Riehl House” in Neubabelsbers and worked from 1908 to 1911 in Peter Behrens’s studio. There he was influenced by structural technics and designs based on steel and glass, as the AEG project in Berlin. While he was in Behrens’s studio he designed the Perls House.

In 1912 he openned his own studio and projected a house in The Hague for Kröller-Müller marriage. The studio received few jobs in its first years, but Mies, contrary to architects as Le Corbusier, in his first years he already showed an architectural policy to follow, being an architect that changed little his architectural philosophy. To his epoch belonged the Heertrasse House and Urbig House as his principal projects.

In 1913 se move to the outskirts of Berlin with his wife Ada Bruhn with whom he would have three kids. The family broke up when Mies was posted to Romania during the World War I.

In 1920, Ludwig Mies changed his surname to Mies van der Rohe and in 1922 he joined as member to the “Novembergruppe”. One year later, in 1923, he published the magazine “G” with Doesburg Lisstzky and Rechter. During this period he worked in two houses, the Birck House and the Mosler House. In 1926, Mies van der Rohe held the post of chief commissioner of the German Werkbund exhibition, being his president this year. In this period he projected the Wolf House in Guden and the Hermann Lange House in Krefeld and in 1927, he met the designer Lilly Reich, in the house exhibition of Weissenhof, where he was director, and he planned a steel structure block for her.

In 1929, he received the project the German National Pavilion to the International Exhibition of Barcelona) rebuilt in 1986=, where he included the design of the famous Barcelona Chair.

In 1930, he planned in Brün – present Czech Republic -, the Tugendhat Villa. He managed the Dessau’s Bauhaus until his closure in 1933. The Nazism forced Mies to emigrate to the United States in 1937. He was designated chair of the Architecture department in Armour Institute in 1938, the one that later merged with the Lewis Institute, forming the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and where he took the responsibility to build a considerable extent of the foundations of the Intitute from 1939 and 1958. One of the buildings of this complex is the Crown Hall, IIT (1950-1956).

In 1940, he met the person who would be his partner until his death, Lora Marx. He became citizen of the USA in 1944 and, one year later, he began with the Farnsworth House’s project (1945-1950). During this stage, in 1948, he designed his first skyscraper: the two towers of the Lake Drive Apartments in Chicago, which were finished in 1951. Shortly after, he planned other building of this typology, the Commonwealth Promenade Apartments, from 1953 to 1956.

In 1958 he projected his most important work: the Segram Building in New York. This building has 37 storeys, covered with glass and bronze, which built and planned with Philip Johnson. He retired from the Illinois Institute of Technology the same year. He also built more towers and complexes as: the Toronto Dominion Centre (1963-1969) and the Westmount Square (1965-1968) and designed the New Square and Office Tower of The City of London (1967).

From 1962 to 1968, he built the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, which would be his last legacy to the architecture. The building that rose as exhibition hall is made of steel, glass and granite.

He died in Chicago the 17th of August if 1969 leaving behind a large legacy and influence to next generations.

The Mies van der Rohe’s most famous sentences are “Less is more” and “God is in the details”.
 

ARCHITECTS KRUECK + SEXTON

Krueck + Sexton Architects was founded by architects Ronald Krueck and Mark Sexton in 1991 and is a multi-disciplinary firm with a varied portfolio. In addition to its innovative Mid-Century restoration and renovation practice, it has completed numerous award-winning civic, commercial and residential projects. The firm’s Spertus Institute Building on Michigan Avenue in Chicago received three AIA awards in 2008, including a Distinguished Building Award. The firm currently is working on a 25 acre expansion of Grant Park in downtown Chicago, the highlight of which will be a new home – also designed by Krueck + Sexton – for the Chicago Children’s Museum.

RONALD KRUECK

Ronald Krueck, Founding Principal. As a founding partner of Krueck + Sexton, Ron is responsible for the firm’s architectural vision and body of work. Together with Mark Sexton, he approaches each design as a unique project, with its own set of problems and opportunities. His unparalleled ability to listen, rather than to be heard, is his unique strength, as he strives to interpret the client’s words.

Graduating from the College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1970, Ron went on to study painting at the Art Institute of Chicago. Ron was true to his belief in modern architecture with his first project, the Steel and Glass House (1981), which advanced modernism to its next chapter and, as noted by Progressive Architecture, “changed the subject matter from truth to understanding.”  In 1983 Ron was named an Emerging Voice by the Architectural League of New York. Three years later, he was named one of "40 Under 40" Top Architects in the United States, and in 1993 Ron was inducted into the Interior Design Hall of Fame. He was elevated to a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects in 1992.

Ron has been on the faculty of Harvard Graduate School of Design and the Illinois Institute of Technology, where Ron has taught design studio for 36 years, mentoring hundreds of aspiring young architects.

MARK P. SEXTON

Mark P. Sexton, Founding Principal. Mark Sexton is a founding partner of Krueck + Sexton Architects and, along with Ronald Krueck, designs and manages all of the firm’s work. He is responsible for the development and execution of design ideas, and for the coordination of project teams. His dedication to craftsmanship, material, and detail enables the firm’s built work to express the values of modern design with a timeless quality.

His portfolio includes the Herman Miller Showroom in Chicago, Phillips Plastics Corporation in Wisconsin, The Crown Fountain in Millennium Park, the Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies and the restoration of 3 landmarked Mies van der Rohe buildings in Chicago: S.R. Crown Hall, The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration, and 860-880 Lake Shore Drive. Mark is currently leading the design team for the new GSA Design Excellence Federal Office Building in Florida.

Mark is a member of the GSA Design Excellence Program National Registry of Peer Professionals and of the Glessner House Museum Board of Directors. He also serves on advisory committees for the School of the Art Institute and the Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture, and teaches a design studio at Northwestern University’s School of Engineering.

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