Sep, 14, 2011,
4:09 PM

Volunteers needed for a tour de force

The free weekend festival openhousechicago seeks volunteers! This Chicago Architecture Foundation event is October 15 and 16 and offers a backstage pass to 130 buildings in Chicago.

Sites include:

  • the original Sears Tower in North Lawndale
  • Louis Armstrong’s Sunset Cafe in Bronzeville
  • Uncommon Ground’s rooftop farm in Roger’s Park
  • backstage of the Pritzker Pavilion
  • rooftop garden of Lake Point Tower

Volunteers will welcome and assist visitors at all of the sites. Choose one four-hour shift on Saturday or Sunday (or both days). Then receive a commemorative shirt, discount at the CAF shop and a free walking tour pass plus priority access to all openhousechicago 2011 sites.

Interested? Contact volunteer coordinator Patrick Miner at


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Sep, 8, 2011,
2:28 PM

It’s a sign

Want a great dissection of what architects’ signatures (could) indicate about their self-perceptions? Bob Borson of the “Life of an Architect” blog offers up some convincing theories.

Apparently the “R” in “Rohe” means Mies takes great pride in his family.

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Sep, 7, 2011,
10:39 AM

Modern with Children

Caroline Moellering has three kids and an impeccably modern home in Mies’ 330/340 W. Diversey building. How she manages to balance these two opposing forces lies in the details.

It helps that Moellering, a realtor, redesigned the home shortly before she moved in. She gave a trusted contractor exactly 90 days to turn the condo around on a strict budget—using her own design. Out went mirror-covered walls, sculpted carpeting, blonde molded cabinets, and other hallmarks of unMiesian flair.

“I was trying to think, ‘What would Mies do today?’” Caroline says as she moves through a large, window-encased seating area on a sunny summer morning. “And I suspect he would have considered IKEA.”

She gestures toward her kitchen, which has long, gray cabinets and drawers below the counter and smooth, glass-like white horizontal cabinets above. It isn’t until she shows the recognizable “Ikea” brand stamped inside the drawers that one can be convinced her kitchen is made with the democratic and ubiquitous products. It looks high-end and—dare we say?—Miesian. It was installed by her contractor. “I can’t even tell you how inexpensive it was.”

To maximize the use of her limited timeframe, Moellering thought out the space and how she and her 12-, 9-, and 6-year-old children would use it. “I thought of every square foot and how we would move through the house.” She arranged the furniture accordingly—a seamless mix of newly made and original modern furniture. 

Thinking about how the space would be used helped Moellering identify places that would be more kid-friendly. Each child has his or her own bedroom, and there is a (modern) recreation room. “I do think it’s important for kids to appreciate their surroundings and be respectful—and have their own spaces.”

Particular palettes of color in each room tie the children’s things together, even if toys aren’t curated-looking or minimalistically hidden. She used BluDot furniture for the children’s storage, which accommodates her eclectic oldest daughter and her minimalist-minded son. The bedrooms are small and compel the children into the home’s public spaces. The result is a fluid space with several areas for them to socialize—fitting her idea of family as well as style.

Caroline Moellering stands next to the IKEA cabinets installed in her kitchen, which she designed.

The kitchen flows into the dining area, as well as two seating areas (one is not in the picture), creating a Miesian openness.

A specific color scheme and IKEA furniture effortlessly coordinate the youngest daughter’s bedroom.

Moellering’s oldest daughter’s eclectic aesthetic is supported by clean, spare lines and bright colors.

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