You know how you have those teachers in your school years who continue to spur momentum long after they have patted you on the back, sent you out the school gates for the last time and exited your life?
In my final year of school i took Art, Design, Economics, Math and Art History. But for me it was my Art History teacher, Dougal Fraser, a consummate art historian, who planted my seed of passion for architecture, interior design and art.
Lesson three, 2005 - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe; an introduction to my favourite architect.
For those of you who have clicked on this link, i guarantee that you know who im writing about here. But here's a recap care of Wiki and the world wide web -
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, along with his avant-garde peers Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright (a post for another day), is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture, and in particular my favourite, the "International Style". He was a German-American designer born in 1886, and died at age 83 in 1969.
Mies set forth in establishing a new architectural style that was well ahead of its years. His style moved far away from the overly ornate designs seen in Classical and Gothic architecture. He instead designed with extreme clarity and simplicity. He striped back facades to their "skin and bones" of industrial steel, plate glass and stone to create mature and rational buildings. The simplicity gave way to free-flowing open interiors.
Here are four of my favourite pieces that heavily influence today's modern designs...and my dream house :) When looking through the images, think about the year of completion and how they so seamlessly fit in with today's modern builds.
The Barcelona Pavilion, completed 1929, re-constructed in 1983
I am lucky enough to have visited this beautiful building. Although not in its original position, it is truely breathtaking and oozes tranquility.
Designed by Mies, The Barcelona Pavilion was used for the official opening of the German section of the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona, Spain. It was only intended temporary for the event, so the building was torn down in early 1930. In 1983 to 1986 a group of Spanish architects reconstructed the pavilion permanently from black and white photos and original plans.
This building cements the history of modern architecture. Materials such as marble, red onyx and travertine surrounded by water and plate glass put this 1929 minimalist design well ahead of its time. Mies also designed the iconic Barcelona Chair especially for this building and the pending International Exposition.
The Farnworth House, completed 1951
"Mies was retained by Dr. Edith Farnsworth to design a weekend retreat during a dinner party in 1945. The wealthy client was highly intelligent, articulate, and intent on building a very special work of modern architecture. The program was to design the house as if it were for himself."
The total cost of the house was $74,000 in 1951 and the build was riddled with legal battles over unpaid fees. Edith used the house as her weekend retreat for 21 years, before selling it in 1972. In December 2003, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Landmarks Illinois purchased the house for US$7.5 million from British property magnate, art collector, and architectural aficionado Peter Palumbo. The Farnsworth House is now a house museum, open to the public, with tours conducted by the National Trust. The house is designated a National Historic Landmark by the United States Department of the Interior.
Built in the Czech Republic for the wealthy Fritz and Greta Tugendhat, the villa became an icon of modernism.
The three storey villa is built of reinforced concrete and iron framework creating a fine example of early functionalism architecture and open plan interior design.
The interior is minimalist but not austere due to the use of luxury materials such as a translucent onyx wall that catches the light of day and rare tropical woods. The Tugendhat chair and the Brno chair, designed especially for this house are still in production today.
S. R. Crown Hall, completed 1959
Regarded as Mies' masterpiece, Crown Hall, is one of the most architecturally significant buildings of 20th century modernism.
This Chicago, Illinois College of Architecture building is considered architecturally significant because Mies refined the basic steel and glass construction style, to capture simplicity and openness. Mies once described his creation as being "almost nothing" and in his role as an educator, Mies reconstructed the College's curriculum to appreciate minimalism and to focus on using only what was necessary; an approach that was yet favorable in most architecture schools of the time.
Mies, you were one badass, cigar smoking, designer.