Last week was a good one for Mies’ legacy. Berlin’s Neues Museum, designed by the British architect David Chipperfield, received the biennial Mies van der Rohe Award in a ceremony on June 20. The Museum is a mix of old and new—originally built in the mid 1800s, it was damaged during World War II and rebuilt from 1997-2009 under Chipperfield’s direction (part of the remodeled interior is featured in this photograph). Lluis Hortet, the director of the Barcelona-based Mies van der Rohe Foundation, which organizes this award granted by the European Union, explained that the Museum “is a very important statement of how a contemporary architectural intervention contributes to the re-use of our heritage by improving its functional qualities.” See a video of Chipperfield accepting the award here.
The following day, AIA New York bestowed the Medal of Honor, the organization’s highest tribute, on Daniel Libeskind, fifty-three years after Mies won the same. Libeskind was recognized for designing the World Trade Center, to be completed in 2014, along with other projects worldwide. While Libeskind isn’t a known disciple of Mies, his philosophic approach to architecture is that it is reliant upon one’s cultural context—not unlike Mies’ assertion that architecture is the expression of one’s civilization.
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