Jul, 27, 2011,
9:53 AM

The Rise and Fall of LEGO City

Rome may not have been built in a day, but they had to worry about things like “structural stability” and “providing shelter for real people.” Luckily for us, building with LEGOs requires no such considerations, and on Saturday, around 500 LEGO enthusiasts of all ages filed into Crown Hall and built a whole city in seven hours (although you’d be impressed by the stability and size of many of the structuresthere were a lot of architecture-savvy IIT alumni present). 

Monday, IIT staff undertook the daunting task of dismantling the city—unlike Rome, we didn’t have any Visigoths to do it for us. We started out orderly, breaking apart the pieces with our hands and sorting them by color. By mid-morning, we were throwing them on Mies’ sturdy concrete floor, and by the afternoon, we were aping Godzilla

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Jul, 22, 2011,
9:10 AM

LEGO Master Builder in Crown Hall Saturday

This Saturday, our LEGO event attendees can witness the reconstruction of Farnsworth House—in LEGO form!


Adam Reed Tucker will re-create a scale version of the Plano, Illinois home designed by Mies. Tucker works in collaboration with The LEGO Group to design and distribute the LEGO Architecture line. Throughout his professional career, Adam has worked to develop programs to foster understanding and appreciation of architecture, engineering and design. Through his work Adam strives to promote the brick as a medium and not just as a traditional toy.

As a LEGO Certified Professional (LCP), Adam focuses specifically on the design & construction of skyscrapers and other architectural structures reaching out to the public via events and school programs.

For more information on Adam and his company Brickstructures visit www.brickstructures.com.

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Jul, 21, 2011,
12:01 PM

Restoration Investigation

E-Tour Thursdays

In the ongoing restoration of Carr Chapel, a couple of mysteries have been uncovered—quite literally. When investigating water damage on the south wall, workers found this pipe leading nowhere:

You’ll notice the blue tape on the bricks surrounding it. This was put up by contractors to mark the chipped ones. Besides the tape (and a few little chips), the bricks look exactly the same—except for one:

This single brick, also on the south wall, is stamped with an “M.” Could it be M for Mies? Certainly M for mystery.

Do your own investigation of Mies’ IIT Campus by joining us on our daily tour, leaving at 10am from the Campus Information Center in the McCormick Tribune Campus Center. 

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Jul, 20, 2011,
10:47 AM

Edward Lifson on Mies van der Rohe

Edward Lifson, a Chicago-based architecture critic and journalist, indulged us by filling out our survey on Mies. Check out his responses to our playful questions:

1. Describe Mies in a nutshell (remember, less is more)

Beyond is and is not.

(With thanks to the c. 4th century B.C. Chinese philosopher Lao Tze, whose work Mies appreciated.)

2.    Does Mies help you or haunt you?

What do you think? Such perfection drives me mad!  The physical world is not supposed to be so perfect! Life would be easier had I never encountered his beautiful works.  And I’m haunted by the angels in his angles. 

3. Why do Mies’s simplicity and clarity generate such controversy?

They deny the purchased pleasures with which some seek fulfillment. They subtly and powerfully ask the viewer to fully participate. They erase distraction, and represent ideals. Visually, we may find them “ugly” in a shocking and terrifying way; so you confront being, emptiness, ruin,mortality, what is no longer or never was, and nothingness. Their truthful, ideal beauty awakens a place inside of us that must be shut down to get through daily life. Yes, his architecture dignifies us, but it also asks us to improve our selves. His works make you physically realize your existence and ponder it, with difficulty. In the end, if you’re lucky, you understand yourself in new ways; but those ways carry greater responsibilities, for your self, and society. You internalize these messages, and they gnaw at you. Mies said, “I don’t want to be ‘interesting,’ I want to be good.” His work asks those who know it, to be good.

4. If Mies could come to dinner at your house, what would you serve? And what would you want to discuss?

I’d serve martinis, to get him talking, philosophy, I would hope. If appropriate, I’d ask about the political aims in his work. I’d like to ask him about the role of nature in architecture, and why the Federal Center in Chicago isn’t designed to let more sun into the plaza. Where does he feel most comfortable, and why? As a young man from Aachen, with little formal education, did he always feel like an outsider among the intelligentsia of Berlin? Then for dinner, it’d be fun to take this
Übermensch (Nietzsche’s super-man) to Superdawgs 

or to the Wiener’s Circle, for a square meal. But why do I think Mies might like waffles?


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