Mies van der Rohe
Even regarding sacred monsters like Mies van der Rohe, not all has been said. The centennial of the architect of German origin, in 1986, freed a lot of energies that can still be felt today. One continues to discover buildings he designed (in particular in Potsdam) and when one goes through his writings one discovers a person who was more cultivated than a simple «architect of the great capitalism». From his youth in Aix-la-Chapelle where his father was a stone cutter, from his first steps in the agency of Peter Behrens, on the influences that marked him – Schinkel or Berlage – up to is second American career, the author updates a work that appeared in 1994 and reviews the key moments and monuments. Among the latter there is the famous German pavilion at the Exposition de Barcelona in 1929, the end of the Bauhaus school, of which he was then the director, the Tugendhat house at Brno, the project for the Reichsbank. It was in Chicago, where he settled in 1938, that Mies van der Rohe finally gave free rein to his concept of the sky-scraper and of the «free plan». He was a collector of Klee and Schwitters, a Don Juan, a professional who was not easily swayed (the episode of the Farnworth House order): Mies’ rich psychology is seen throughout the book.
• Mies van der Rohe by Jean-Louis Cohen, Hazan publishing house, 2007, ISBN : 978-2-8502-5992-0, 240 p., 39 €
Review published in the newsletter #43 - from 19 April 2007 to 25 April 2007