Aug, 29, 2011,
4:30 PM

Hey, Architectural Digest, we knew this all along…

Illinois Institute of Technology’s Main Campus is in Architectural Digest’s “The Ten College Campuses with the Best Architecture.”

It’s not just Mies’ design that won them over, but Rem Koolhaas’ 2003 McCormick Tribune Campus Center, which features a large glass portrait of Mies at its main entrance (in addition to other, far more subtle, references revealed in our Mies campus tour. Find out how you can take a tour here.)

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Aug, 25, 2011,
2:52 PM

A Brick Haus

If you find bricks tediously repetitious, you probably shouldn’t study architecture at IIT. Here, students spend a whole semester studying and drawing brickwork, as prescribed by the curriculum Mies developed when he was head of the department from 1938 to 1958. 

Mies didn’t see anything wrong with repetition. On IIT’s campus, he worked almost exclusively with the English cross bond arrangement, which consists of alternating rows of stretchers (full bricks) and headers (half bricks).

While here, he also perfected the famous Mies corner, made possible through a quoin, which is to say by ending each row of headers with a three-quarter length brick. The effect where the walls join is something like an unzippered zipper, revealing the Mies cornertwo I-beams joined by two flat panels of steelin between. This use of steel gestures at the internal structure of the building without actually revealing it. 

You can see Mies’ beautiful brickwork, over and over again, on one of our daily tours of IIT’s Main Campus. 

As a bonus, we couldn’t not link you to this.

Photos courtesy of bw3030 and faasdant, respectively. 

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Aug, 24, 2011,
3:15 PM

Stanley Tigerman in Chicago September 9

Stanley Tigerman, the heavily credentialed and acclaimed architect whose most famous Mies reference is likely his collage of Crown Hall sinking into the water (The Titanic, 1978), will be the inaugural speaker for “Thinking into the Future: The Robie House Series on Architecture, Design and Ideas.”

The Friday, September 9 talk begins with a cocktail hour at 6 p.m. It will be in the Glen A. Lloyd Auditorium at the University of Chicago Law School. For more information and tickets, visit the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust.

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Aug, 18, 2011,
2:25 PM

The Best Laid Plans of Mies and Men

Mies’ master plan of IIT’s Main Campus may have been a planning tool, but in many ways it’s more a work of art; the original is even held by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. It represents a perfect order, something to aspire to, even if it’s impossible to attain in a world of budget restraints and regime switches. Obviously, Mies couldn’t carry out his plan completely, and had to hand the project over to Skidmore, Owings & Merrill when he left IIT in 1958.

We’ve be asking ourselves: how much has changed between the planning stages and the final layout? We decided to sketch it out. Unlike Mies’ plan, these crayon drawings aren’t beautiful and perfectly proportioned, but they demonstrate a drastic difference.

Master Plan (1941): 

How it looks today (2011):

To get an even better sense of Mies’ main campus, take one of the Mies Society’s daily tours!

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