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Design and Architecture

Synopsis of Mies van der Rohe’s Theoretical Position

He coined the term “skin-and-bones architecture” in reference to his’ skin-and-bones architecture’s limited industrial materials, spatial delineation, structural rigidity, and transparency. Rather than isolating the r, his designs generate a sense of mobility between the interior and outside. Mies aimed for maximum flexibility in the spatial layouts of his buildings to enhance their function (Watson., 2021)

Mies van der Rohe made a point of emphasizing citizen engagement in his public spaces. Mies constructed the interiors of his buildings to insulate their occupants from the city’s bustle. Mies considered it a form of action. The 1924 essay “Baukunst und Zeitwille!” in Der Querschnitt contended that it was a product of Zeitwille. This post discusses his well-known phrase, “Architecture is the will of time manifested in space.” The original German aphorism “Baukunst is Raumgefaßter Zeitwille” makes use of the term Zeitwille to refer to Schopenhauer’s “age will” and “time will.” Perhaps it would be beneficial to compare the words Zeitwille, Kunstwolle, and Zeitgeist. According to Maike Oergel’s new study, “the birth of modern politics” may be traced back to Zeitgeist. According to others, the phrase “captures the essence of how ideas flow across groups and across boundaries, providing for a technique of horizontally analyzing history.” Mies’s concept of universality may come into play when people’s zeitgeist and desire to spread ideas widely become intertwined (Guereñu., 2021).

His obsession with the human capacity to convert spiritual energy into a concrete item, like as a structure, enables us to better comprehend Mies’ concept of Baukunst as Zeitwille. Additionally, he was intrigued by the social implications of human-created artifacts. According to Georg Simmel’s book On the Concept and the Tragedy of Culture, the “subjective life’s content” and “subjective life’s content” appear to be in “radical conflict.”

German Exposition Pavilion, Barcelona, ES, 1929

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich created the Barcelona Pavilion for the 1929 World’s Fair in Barcelona, Spain. This building hosted the show’s opening German segment. This notable contemporary structure is known for its use of high-end “materials like marble, red onyx, and travertine” in its fundamental design. The Barcelona chair, like the architecture, mixes simplicity and spectacle. It influenced many famous modernist buildings (Guereñu., 2021).

The Barcelona pavilion was worthless. No program decided or altered its appearance. The “show” required spectators to enter an architectural world unlike any other. Walls and columns framed the construction’s vertical and horizontal planes on a modest marble platform. Each pedestal includes clamp-like obstacles to keep the area restricted. The Barcelona Pavilion was really bland. The eight cruciform columns could only hold the roof with the help of the marble screens, so Mies had to build more columns to elevate the Dom-pavilion inos. The strategy’s usefulness made it impregnable. It was shown in motion during the Berlin Building Exhibition in 1931. His love of magnificent buildings inspires his creations. A few modern architects have dared to go beyond the utilitarian formula and into the world of imagery. Choosing the right materials and organizing the room effectively is the first step. His art is notable for its use of materials and textures.

Farnsworth House, Plano, IL, 1950

The Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois, was constructed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe using steel and glass. There are times when less is more, according to Mies’ philosophy Esteban (Maluenda, & Martínez., 2019). To our knowledge, this is the only other Mies van der Rohe home in the country. Incorporated into the Elmhurst Art Museum are Robert McCormick’s Illinois home and Morris Greenwald’s Connecticut house. A sequence of glass barriers makes the residence appear to float above the ground. Among the sea of mid-century Modernism, this Mies edifice stood out for its clarity, correctness, and material choices. By designing an all-glass façade, Mies aimed to maximize tenants’ access to nature As a result of the architect’s fixation on perfection, the home was never intended to be a primary residence (Gahtan, & Pegazzano., 2018).

Eight white vertical I-beams with floor-to-ceiling plate glass support the rectangular roof and floor slabs of this apartment. Within walking distance of the Fox River, which rises to a height of 8 feet (2.5 meters). To bring in the fresh air, Farnsworth screened in the porch after construction (which is hinged at the bottom). It’s an uneven travertine patio, only a few steps down.

New National Gallery, Berlin, DE, 1963

This was Mies van der Rohe’s finest architectural achievement. The gallery’s translucent upper pavilion reflects the architect’s desire to create open areas. The architect died soon after the building was blessed. The Neue Nationalgalerie pays homage to one of the twentieth century’s most significant designers. It used to be on the outskirts of West Berlin. Hans Scharoun established the foundation for one of the Kulturforum’s most important pillar (Gahtan, & Pegazzano., 2018). Berlin and Germany’s reunification are no longer hidden behind a dismal wasteland. After WWII, Germany and Berlin were separated, and so was the Neue Nationalgalerie’s history. During WWII, the Nationalgalerie’s collection was held on Museuminsel Berlin and the Kronprinzen-Palais on Unter den Linden. There hasn’t been a unified collection since 1949, when two nations emerged, each with its own political framework and views on art’s role in society. Two years after the building’s foundation was built, he saw hydraulics raise and lower the massive steel roof. The Neue Nationalgalerie opened in 1968. The rebranding of West Berlin at the National Gallery of Art’s New Wing was a cultural milestone. The structure’s architectural design has remained mostly untouched since construction. Despite this, the city has changed dramatically. Directly across Potsdamer Strasse, the Staatsbibliothek and Kammermusiksaal are also from the same century. After German unification, the Kulturforum and Potsdamer Platz were rebuilt. This helped to slowly connect buildings that had been split up.


Venturi (1966) claimed in his book “Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture” that because sites fulfill several functions, the architecture they include must be complex. He believes that the multitude of interpretations and uses may amplify the underlying feeling of positive ambiguity in architectural space, thus extending its life. His critique of modernist architecture was motivated by his notion that form follows function, and so by the belief in a single meaning. Mies thought that structures constructed by humans had a longer life than the purposes for which they were made. This indicates that the design’s flexibility and versatility are appropriate for its intended function. According to him, we should not let our approach be dictated by functions. If a function can be used in an appropriate context, it should be utilized. Regardless of the theme or scale of the project, Mies believed that architecture should be adaptable, flexible, and versatile. This is diametrically opposed to Venturi’s reading of the phrase.


Esteban Maluenda, A., & Navarro Martínez, H. (2019). Casas de vidrio–1950: análisis de cuatro ejemplos coetáneos= Glass Houses–1950: Analysis of Four Contemporary Examples.

Gahtan, M. W., & Pegazzano, D. (Eds.). (2018). Monographic Exhibitions and the History of Art. New York: Routledge.

Guereñu, L. M. (2021). German Pavilion/German Exhibits: An Almost Forgotten Episode in the History of Modern Architecture. Grey Room, (84), 38-63.

Watson, V. A. (2021). Restoration, Expansion and the Building Art: Contemporary Issues in the Life of Mies van der Rohe’s Museum of Modern Art (New National Gallery) in Berlin. Journal of Historic Buildings and Places.


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