Jul, 7, 2011,
3:51 PM

E-Tour Thursdays

This is the first edition of “E-Tour Thursdays,” a look at fascinating finds from our daily tour of IIT’s campus. Tours are offered at 10 am (or by appointment for groups of 10+ people) and leave from the Campus Information Center in the McCormick Tribune Campus Center, 3201 S. State Street. 

The rock upon which we will build this series is “Yarn van der Rock,” pictured to the left. This is exactly what it sounds like: a yarn-covered boulder on our Mies-designed campus. Included in the picture is a group from the other architecture tour conducted on campus: Mies & Modernism, offered twice a month by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. We recommend it just as much as our own tour!

You can stumble upon Yarn van der Rock on State Street just outside of Crown Hall. The crafters responsible remain unknown, but we can only hope they’ll reach for even loftier architect name puns. Gem Spoolhaas? Shellmut Yarn? Share your own ideas—or your impassioned plea for the puns to stop—in the comments section below.


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Jul, 7, 2011,
12:11 PM

Desperately seeking organ donee!

One of the next big steps in the ongoing restoration of Carr Chapel is removing its organ—which is by all means a vestigial one. Not part of the original design, the instrument appeared a few years after Mies’ only religious building was finished in 1952. Legend has it that the organ was installed by students. Currently nonfunctional (perhaps the students forgot to include the keyboard and stop console?), it now only serves to block the natural light Mies intended to come in from the west. However, this Kilgen-brand contraption is definitely restorable, and at the very least valuable for its component parts. 

The organ needs to be removed as soon as possible to meet restoration deadlines, but we haven’t found a new home for it yet. We’d hate to throw it in the trash, so we’re offering it to anyone who’s willing to uninstall and transport the organ on their own, at no additional cost. If you’re the organ donee we’ve been hoping for, please contact the Mies Society! 

Photo credit to Noah Cahan. 

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Jul, 1, 2011,
11:21 AM

Architects honored, Mies remembered

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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Jun, 30, 2011,
8:00 AM

Build a LEGO City in Crown Hall

Saturday, July 23, 2011
Free of charge, registration required for each session:
11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. online registration: BOOKED
1:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. online registration here

Help build a city of LEGOs within S. R. Crown Hall. We’ll provide the building blocks, you provide the imagination. Projects created by pint-sized architects and their adult helpers will be displayed in Crown Hall on Sunday, July 24.

Adam Tucker, architect of the recently released Farnsworth House LEGO set, will spend the day building a large-scale version of Mies’ Plano, Illinois-based masterpiece while engaging the public in conversation.

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