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Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Biographies
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

*  1886 Aachen
† 1969 Chicago


The architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was a leading exponent of the International Modern style and one of the most influential architects and stylists of the 20th century. As a furniture designer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is known for numerous pieces that are design icons. Born Ludwig Mies in Aachen in 1886, he added van der Rohe, his mother's maiden name, to his own from 1913. Between 1887 and 1900 Ludwig Mies van der Rohe served an apprenticeship under his father at the Aachen Dombauschule. In 1903-1904 Ludwig Mies van der Rohe worked as a draftsman of stucco decoration in an Aachen architecture practice before going to Berlin, where he worked in Bruno Paul's practice from 1905 to 1907. Between 1908 and 1911 Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was employed in Peter Behrens' architecture practice along with Walter Gropius, Hannes Meyer, and Le Corbusier. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was one of the Behrens employees who worked on designing the German embassy in St. Petersburg (1911). In 1912 Ludwig Mies van der Rohe opened a practice of his own. In 1922 Ludwig Mies van der Rohe joined the November Group of artists. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's designs for highrise buildings with glass façades caused a sensation in the 1920s. Mies van der Rohe was in charge of organizing the Werkbund exhibition "Die Wohnung" in Stuttgart (Weißenhof Settlement) in 1926-1927. In 1929 Ludwig Mies van der Rohe designed the celebrated German Pavilion for the Barcelona World Exposition, also designing the equally famous "Barcelona" furniture for its interior. In 1930 Mies van der Rohe finished a private house, Villa Tugendhat, in Brünn (Brno, Czech Republic). That same year Ludwig Mies van der Rohe became head of the Bauhaus in Dessau as the last director before the Bauhaus was shut down in 1933. Afterwards Ludwig Mies van der Rohe worked as a self-employed architect in Berlin before emigrating in 1938 to the US, where he opened an architecture practice in Chicago. From 1938 until 1958 Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was also head of the architecture department at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Mies van der Rohe designed a great many masterpieces of the International Modern style, including the Fox River House (1945-1950), Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois (1946-1951), the Lake Shore Drive apartments in Chicago (1948-1951), and Lafayette Towers in Detroit (1955-1963). The Seagram Building in New York (1958) is generally regarded as Mies van der Rohe's masterpiece. One of his last buildings was the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin (1962).