In honor of Mies’ 126th birthday week, we’re featuring some of his most culturally influential mentees. We’ll start with a pair of former Illinois Institute of Technology students who eventually became business partners: Phyllis Lambert and Gene Summers.
Summers and Lambert are responsible for revitalizing interest in downtown Los Angeles. They purchased and renovated the Beaux Arts-style Biltmore Hotel in the midcentury, saving it from certain ruin. Not only did they restore it, they added a modern flavor with a four-star restaurant that featured chairs designed by Mies.
Summers died this year, leaving a legacy of transformation for several U.S. cities, including Chicago. His design of the second-generation McCormick Place (the first burned down in the 1960’s) was a feat of daring construction with it’s 300,000 square-foot space shelters by a roof that had eight columns for support. It made Chicago a convention destination. He later became Dean of IIt’s College of Architecture and eventually pursued his passion for creating sculpture.
Phyllis Lambert, besides famously convincing her father to hire Mies to design the Seagrams building, has consulted for countless instiutions, including the International Confederation of Architectural Museums. She has also built the Canadian Centre for Architecture into an internationally significant cultural institution.› Read more