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Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is one of the most famous architects of the 20th century. With his work he strove to develop his own style and to lead architecture into modernity. The expression of this is an unmistakable minimalism as well as the use of steel structures and glass facades.

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Biography of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was born in Aachen on March 27, 1886. His civil name was Maria Ludwig Michael Mies. From 1899 to 1901 he attended the trade school in his home town and then completed an apprenticeship as a bricklayer.

From 1904 on he worked in the field of architecture – at the beginning still in Aachen, from 1905 in Berlin. There Mies planned his first building in 1907: the Haus Riehl in Potsdam-Neubabelsberg. However, he was still employed by the architect Bruno Paul. In 1913, Mies founded his own architectural office and built, among other things, the Haus Seefried in Potsdam, which would later become known as the Churchill Villa.

The work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe during the Nazi period

In the period after the First World War, Mies positioned himself stylistically and wanted to create modern architecture. Therefore he joined the revolutionary artists’ association Novembergruppe in 1921. In 1922 he took his mother’s maiden name and from then on called himself Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. His first building in the new style was the Haus Ryder in Wiesbaden, built in 1923.

In 1930, Mies van der Rohe became director of the Bauhaus. Two years later, however, the National Socialists closed the art school. Mies van der Rohe thereupon founded the Bauhaus Berlin, which he also had to close in 1933 under pressure from the Nazis. Although Mies van der Rohe became a member of various Nazi organizations, he only did so for opportunistic reasons. In 1937, he traveled to the USA and moved to Chicago just one year later. He held US citizenship from 1944.

The time in the USA helped Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to world fame

Mies van der Rohe founded an architectural office in Chicago in 1939, with which he realized a total of 15 buildings on the Illinois Institute of Technology campus until 1958. He also created the two apartment buildings at 860-880 Lake Shore Drive, which are now among Chicago’s landmarks. The Farnsworth House in southern Plano and the Seagram Building in New York City are also among the buildings with which Mies van der Rohe made an international name for himself.

He returned to Germany in the mid-1960s to plan the New National Gallery in West Berlin. Although he was seriously ill with arthritis, he visited the construction site regularly. When the museum opened in 1968, however, he was no longer able to travel due to illness. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe died in Chicago on August 17, 1969. Among other honors, he was awarded the Grand Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and the Presidential Medal of Freedom of the USA.

Quotes of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Weniger ist mehr.

- Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Es ist schwerer, einen guten Stuhl zu bauen als einen Wolkenkratzer.

- Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Symmetrie ist die Ästhetik des Dummen.

- Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Ich designe keine Mode, ich kreiere Träume.

- Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Architektur beginnt, wenn zwei Backsteine sorgfältig zusammengesetzt werden.

- Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Schönheit ist der Glanz der Wahrheit.

- Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

I don't want to be interesting, I want to be good.

- Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space.

- Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

God is in the details.

- Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

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