Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe

3289 words 14 pages
ARCHITECTURAL BOUNDARIES: LUDWIG MIES VAN DER ROHE AND PHILIP JOHNSON Architecture has undergone a rapid and revolutionary transformation in the modern era. Through the work of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, this essay attempts to chart the transition in architecture from nineteenth century Romanticism and Neoclassicism to High Modernism. Mies van der Rohe redefined architectural boundaries and emphasised the beauty of simple forms, the importance of functionality and the versatility of new materials such as glass, steel and marble. An analysis of the work of Philip Johnson reveals the development from High Modernism to Postmodernism, where playful and ironic decoration and humanist theories were reintroduced into what had …show more content…

Mies van der Rohe’s attitude toward and his innovative use of new materials shaped Modernist boundaries. Steel, glass, bricks and marble achieved the simplicity and ‘clean’ aesthetics which Mies van der Rohe’s modernity required. As a result of his experiments, models and early buildings, these resources became the obligatory materials for all Modernist architects. Philip Johnson recorded that in 1925‐9, Mies van der Rohe was the only architect using brick to build houses.12 This was

W Blaser, Mies van der Rohe continuing the Chicago School of Architecture, Birkhauser Verlag, Basel, 1981, pp. 9‐10. 6 PC Johnson, Mies van der Rohe, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1978, p. 49. 7 ibid., p. 10. 8 DL Johnson & D Langmead, Makers of 20th Century modern architecture: A bio‐critical sourcebook, Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, Chicago, 1997, p. 213. 9 J Speyer, Mies van der Rohe, The Art Institute of Chicago, USW, 1968, p. 10. 10 Blaser, p. 23. 11 ibid., p. 101. 12 Johnson, p. 35.


Cross‐sections | Volume II 2006

quickly replaced by onyx, marble, coloured glass and velvet carpeting in the German Pavilion (1929, World Exhibition, Barcelona, Spain).13 The