Nov, 8, 2012,
2:52 PM

Carr Chapel: Not your average Mies building

This morning a group of Germans in charge of the restoration of Mies Neue National Galerie visited Carr Chapel in Chicago after seeing Mies buildings in Toronto, New York City, and Houston.

One visitor told Mies Society Director Justine Jentes he was delighted to see a new form of Mies’ work since they’ had only seen high rises, houses, museums and classroom buildings.

Carr Chapel is unique, in part because it is the only ecclesiastical building Mies realized. Its utter simplicity of form positions it to serve students of all religions at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago (where it sits among other Mies buildings).

Work is underway to make it even more inclusive as the Mies Society raises funds to meet ADA-accessibility standards and provide air conditioning. Finishing these two projects will complete a painstaking rehabilitation effort that has left the Chapel looking as good as new on the inside and the outside. 

You can find out more about touring the Chapel and other Mies’ IIT buildings here.

And if you want to be part of the effort to make this space truly inclusive, become a Mies van der Rohe Society member here.

German tourists stand at the Chapel’s entrance. 

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Oct, 2, 2012,
10:16 AM

Meet the authors of Mies’ authoritative new biography

CHICAGO—There’s more to know and love about the legendary architect, and Franz Schulze and Ed Windhorst have captured it in “Mies van der Rohe: A Critical Biography, New and Revised Edition.” The books builds on Mies’ first biography, written by Franz Schulze and published in 1985.

Meet the authors and get a signed copy at the Mies’ Society’s book launch, held in the architect’s only ecclesiastical space, Carr Chapel.  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Robert F. Carr Memorial Chapel on the Illinois Institute of Technology Main Campus

65 East 32nd Street, Chicago, Illinois, United States

Complimentary parking is available in lot A4, located north of The McCormick Tribune Campus Center.

RSVP at 312.567.5030, email, or register here.

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Sep, 20, 2012,
11:57 AM

A new rendering of what MLK Library could be

The potential for Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in downtown Washington, D.C. has been further articulated with a new rendering.

The 40-year-old building is Mies’ only library and needs restoration. So last fall The Urban Land Institute gathered a final report with recommendations.

The Freelon Group’s rendering (above) was gleaned from and presented to the library’s Board of Trustees on Wednesday, September 19. With floors and landscaping added to the top, it becomes a bit of a tiered building cake. 

It’s more renovation than restoration. And sometimes more is just more.

One thing is for sure: space for additional books is not part of the plan. And while midcentury modes of reading seem to be losing favor, this midcentury building is timeless as-is. Mies’ designs incorporate plenty of open space meant to accommodate different uses over the building’s life—they are certainly not meant to remain preciously frozen in time.

This rendering has us asking, “What would Mies do?”

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Sep, 11, 2012,
9:56 AM

Inside today’s Lafayette Park Home

Mies Society Director Justine Jentes recently visited Noah Resnick’s Lafayette Park, Detroit home. The IIT College of Architecture alumnus showed her some of the innovative tricks both Resnick and Mies incorporated in the historic housing complex.

Here is where Noah and his family receive their mail.

Here is something brilliant but rarely mentioned: the LP townhouses are connected by a basement corridor where trash and recycling is stored, then collected. No unsightly outdoor waste bins needed, and children can visit neighbors without venturing outdoors in bad weather. Plus, workmen can gain access to units if residents aren’t home.

To give an extra sense of spaciousness in a fairly small area, all doors stretch to the ceiling. Light pours in from both sides through floor-to-ceiling windows, and only a slight wall panel delineates the dining area from the hall on this side and the kitchen on the opposite side of the core.

Here’s an example of blurring the boundary between indoor and outdoor. The window wall extends beyond the ceiling height and adds a sense of spaciousness while hiding the window shades.

Here are the stairs of this two-story townhouse. I loved the spaciousness created by the open-tread stairs. And the childproofing solution is a simple and effective use of materials; the panels can be removed without damaging the rails.

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