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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Aug, 16, 2011,
10:25 AM

Behind the 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments Tour

Imagine four similar interior spaces treated in four unique ways.

In an exclusive tour of 860-880 North Lake Shore Drive Apartments on September 20, 2011, the Mies Society will offer a sneak peek at contemporary design within a Mies context. Architect Robert Kleinschmidt has organized a tour of four homes within the building, each of which were renovated in the past two years and never before open to the public.

"Each one has been designed by a talented architect," Kleinschmidt says. "All of their design solutions are in the modern idiom. Each take the Miesian philosophy and interpret it in a different way."

The four homes feature the latest technologies and newest materials. Tickets for this events are $250 for members and $300 for nonmembers. Proceeds go toward the restoration of Carr Memorial Chapel, Mies’s only religious building, at Illinois Institute of Technology. The current phase of the Chapel’s restoration will be completed September 1, 2011 with Mies Society members’ funding. A final phase is yet to be completed.

Reservations are required by Monday, September 12, 2011. R.S.V.P. with credit card payment to 312.567.5042 or at www.miessociety.org/happenings. Meet in the 880 lobby.

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