Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

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Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (March 27, 1886 – August 17, 1969) was a German-American architect.[1] He was commonly referred to and addressed by his surname, Mies, by his colleagues, students, writers, and others.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, along with Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier, is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of Modern architecture. Mies, like many of his post World War I contemporaries, sought to establish a new architectural style that could represent modern times just as Classical and Gothic did for their own eras. He created an influential 20th century architectural style, stated with extreme clarity and simplicity. His mature buildings made use of modern materials such as industrial steel and plate glass to define interior spaces. He strived towards an architecture with a minimal framework of structural order balanced against the implied freedom of free-flowing open space. He called his buildings "skin and bones" architecture. He sought a rational approach that would guide the creative process of architectural design. He is often associated with the aphorisms "less is more" and "God is in the details".


Early career

Mies worked in his father's stone-carving shop and at several local design firms before he moved to Berlin joining the office of interior designer Bruno Paul. He began his architectural career as an apprentice at the studio of Peter Behrens from 1908 to 1912, where he was exposed to the current design theories and to progressive German culture, working alongside Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier. Mies served as construction manager of the Embassy of the German Empire in Saint Petersburg under Behrens.[2] His talent was quickly recognized and he soon began independent commissions, despite his lack of a formal college-level education. A physically imposing, deliberative, and reticent man, Ludwig Mies renamed himself as part of his rapid transformation from a tradesman's son to an architect working with Berlin's cultural elite, adding his mother's more impressive surname "van der Rohe". He began his independent professional career designing upper class homes, joining the movement seeking a return to the purity of early Nineteenth Century Germanic domestic styles. He admired the broad proportions, regularity of rhythmic elements, attention to the relationship of the manmade to nature, and compositions using simple cubic volumes of the early 19th century Prussian Neo-Classical architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel. He dismissed the eclectic and cluttered classical styles so common at the turn of the century as irrelevant to the modern times.

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