Mies van der Rohe
Photo courtesy of the Chicago History Museum
In 1938 the Armour Institute of Technology, a modest technical training school on Chicago's near south side, engaged German- born architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886- 1969) as the director of the Department of Architecture. The school strove to transform its traditional architecture program into one of international stature and innovation; Mies was a logical choice for achieving this goal. He had achieved international recognition at the forefront of modern architecture and established a reputation in the field of architectural education while serving as director of the Bauhaus school of design in Germany from 1930 through 1933.
After relocating to Chicago in 1938, Mies reshaped the architectural education of the Armour Institute and developed a disciplined curriculum to be carried out in a cooperative environment. Interaction was encouraged between students and a faculty comprised of professionals from a wide range of design disciplines. The curriculum encompassed progressive, Bauhaus- inspired courses on the visual and tactile characteristics of materials as well as fundamental classes on drawing and construction techniques. Students began their education with the methods and materials of architecture to provide them a sound foundation for future studies. Only when students fully grasped the basic concepts were they gradually advanced to applying these principles to building design.
Mies viewed architecture as embodying multiple levels of value, extending from the entirely functional to the realm of pure art. He also believed, through his interpretation of history, that the aim of architecture is to truly represent its epoch, and that the architect must search out and articulate the significance of the time.
The Graham Resource Center has compiled a study collection of books, oral histories, television programs, and journal and newspaper articles on all things Mies. Below is a list of folder numbers and corresponding citations on a wider range of topics, including biographical works, architectural criticism, and IIT history.
An additional list of Mies works, built and unbuilt, is organized by alphabetically, chronologically and by location.