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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Jul, 14, 2011,
9:30 AM

E-Tour Thursdays

If you’re reading this blog, you might have an interest in getting inside Mies’ head. Online, you can only go so far, but if you come to the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Main Campus, you can actually walk inside his mouth.

We’re talking about the portrait of Mies van der Rohe featured on the McCormick Tribune Campus Center’s State Street entrance. 2x4 Graphics fashioned this re-creation of the famous Hedrich Blessing photograph of Mies standing behind his model of Crown Hall. In a nod to Mies’ policy of revealing a building’s structure through its ornamentation, the pixels are actually small icons of student activitiesindicating that the MTCC is a student center. The building itself, which opened in 2003, was designed by Rem Koolhaas.

See all this and more on our daily tour of IIT, offered at 10 a.m. (or by appointment for groups of 10 or more people). 

photo courtesy of Irena Hynes

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