Mies Van Der Rohe Case Study

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Mies van der Rohe's Theatre Project of 19471 Introduction Many publications exist on the work of the renowned architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (Aachen, 1886 – Chicago, 1969). However, little attention has been given to the Theatre project that Mies designed and exhibited in 1947 (Figure 1).2 In fact, publications have described this project through a few sentences or even omitted it all together.3 The present article addresses this research gap by exploring the context and design theme, the significance, remnant documentation, relationship to teaching, and the influence of Mies's Theatre project. Figure 1 – Schematic sectional elevation, Theatre Project, 1947, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Drawing and photographs by Luciana Fornari Colombo.…show more content…
Yet, Mies's project explored more specifically the architectural possibilities of the large steel and glass hall completely free of interior columns. This modern clear-span building interested Mies because it reduced the number of constructional elements and maximised flexibility of internal arrangement, emerging as the most practical and economical way to build in a dynamic, rapidly changing modern society.7 Besides such pragmatic advantages, this modern building type also interested Mies for its expressive and symbolic qualities. Mies regarded the large clear-span buildings as being representatives of the 20th century in the same way that Gothic cathedrals had represented the Middle Ages. This view was particularly reinforced by the industrial buildings that the architect Albert Kahn was designing at that time because of their impersonal, precise, and efficient character as well as their impressively large spans. For example, Kahn's Glenn Martin Assembly Building (1937, Middle River, Maryland, US) contained a 90-meter (300-foot) clear-span that was by then the largest flat span ever…show more content…
In this manner, Mies replaced the original use of the building, a bomber plant, with a performance venue. This experiment culminated in the Concert Hall (1940-1) (Figure 3), which was followed by other architectural projects developed as a research through design independent of a building commission. These projects aimed at expanding the use of the clear-span building beyond factories, exposition halls, and railway stations, that is, beyond the utilitarian purposes to which this building type had been restricted by convention. Besides the Concert Hall (1940-1) and the Theatre (1947), among these projects were the Museum for a Small City (1940-3), the Convention Hall (1953-4), and the Core House (1951-2) (Figure

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