Mies Van Der Rohe and SketchUp


The German architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, is considered to be one of the greatest architects of the 20th century. Us, here at SketchupLab, we will try to connect the architect with SketchUp, and present to you some of his greatest projects, with the assistance of SketchUp’s 3D Warehouse. After all, it is known that you can find almost anything in 3D form in the SketchUp Warehouse, ready to use in your models.

He was born in Aachen, Germany, on March 27th 1886. In 1905, he leaves Aachen in order to move to Berlin, where he started working as a furniture designer, next to Bruno Paul, and in 1908 he began his career in architecture, working as an intern in the office of Peter Berens. During 1911-1912, he was the project manager for the construction of the German embassy in St. Petersburg, Russia, and in late 1912 he opens his own architectural office.

Model in Warehouse by Marià

The term Bauhaus, refers to the art and architecture school founded by Walter Gropius, and developed during the period 1919-1933 in Germany. The Bauhaus style, had a great effect on the evolution of modern art, especially on architecture and industrial design. Mies van der Rohe, was the director of Bauhaus from 1930 until 1933.
Mies van der Rohe pursued a more reasonable approach, that would guide the creative process of an architectural design. He created an influential architectural style of the 20th century, that was characterized from its extreme clarity and simplicity. He was well known for the phrase “Less is More”.

1927 MR Lounge Chair

Model in Warehouse by Darrell Smith

It is believed that Mart Stam described his idea—a continuous loop of steel (he used a thinner gauge gas pipe in the earliest versions) with a cantilevered seat—at a meeting of the Werkbund in 1926. In attendance were Marcel Breuer and Mies van der Rohe, both of whom were inspired to design cantilever chairs of their own in the coming months. Mies replaced the right angles on the front legs with a graceful curve which had the advantage of increasing elasticity while preventing material fatigue.

1929 German Pavilion, Exposicio Internacional, Barcelona, Spain

Model in Warehouse by Cruz T.

Mies and Lilly Reich together designed the German Pavilion for the 1929 World’s Fair in Barcelona – a structure which now ranks among the most significant temporary structures ever built, particularly for an international exposition.

the cruciform-plan steel columns are chrome-plated, and the interior is ornamented solely with a red curtain, while the colored onyx walls are cut to expose the diamond pattern, all of which recalls an attention to refinement and craftsmanship that is balanced with the building’s clear machine-made qualities. It therefore exemplifies the visual form of Mies’ famous dictum, “Less is more.”

The construction of the Pavilion marked the apex of Mies’ European career. It was, for sure, the most progressive building constructed at the exposition.

1929 Barcelona Chair

Model in Warehouse by Rolando F.

Appropriately named for its premiere in the German Pavilion at the 1929 World’s Fair, this chair is largely considered the most famous furniture design of the 20th century. The writer Tom Wolfe later highlighted its preeminence by noting how it had achieved “holy grail”, cult-like status amongst aesthetes as a piece of furniture that someone might trade all of his belongings in order to afford.

Mies and Reich saved the chairs first produced for the Pavilion and reused them for later projects, most notably the Tugendhat House, which was the first structure in which the chairs were used after the fair. Barcelona chair made by welded steel, leather and produced by Knoll.

1928-30 Tugendhat House, Brno, Czech Republic

Model in Warehouse by ARQMEM

The Tugendhat House is a superb example of how he used the possibilities of modern construction to blend a building with its landscape. The Tugendhats, a wealthy German Jewish couple who owned several factories in Czechoslovakia.

Mies’ structure, which is sited on the brow of the hill, is unusually large – much larger than the Tugendhats intended originally – and uses a very open interior plan, so much so that there are few interior walls to hang items. Its reinforced-concrete construction, supported on the interior with only a few chromed columns, allows for the entire back façade to be a floor-to-ceiling curtain wall that looks out over the landscape.

1945-51Farnsworth House, Plano, Illinois

Model in Warehouse by ali M.

Mies’ signature postwar residence, the Farnsworth House arguably represents the ultimate in minimalist residential architecture using industrial materials. Yet its design and history are far richer than the finished product initially suggests. The house was designed as a weekend retreat for Edith Farnsworth, a physician who owned nine acres of land along the Fox River 50 miles outside Chicago near Plano.

For her part, Farnsworth never completely felt comfortable in the house, as Mies designed it to afford virtually no privacy; in effect she was almost completely on display to the natural surroundings without fully drawing the curtains, eventually installing a bronze screen on the porch.

1950-56 S.R. Crown Hall, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago

Model in Warehouse by Karen C.

Mies van der Rohe already had a distinguished career before emigrating to the United States in 1937. When he accepted an appointment to head IIT’s College of Architecture (at the time the Armour Institute of Technology) he also agreed to design a master plan for the school’s campus. Mies sought to create a style that reflected the mechanical spirit of the age, and this drive permeated both the curriculum and the buildings he created at IIT. Crown Hall was not among the first buildings Mies built at IIT, but it is widely regarded as the clearest expression of his ideas:

1954-58 Seagram Building, Manhattan, New York

Model in Warehouse by WTComplete

The Seagram Building constitutes Mies’ definitive, realized statement on the form of the skyscraper. Though he had been working with the type since the early 1920s, the Seagram was the first office tower commission that he was able to build, and his first in New York, which in the 1950s was becoming the hub of skyscrapers-as-symbol of American corporate modernism.

Mies chose to enclose the fireproof concrete-clad steel frame in a metal casing, and then emphasize each vertical spandrel with an ornamental I-beam rising the entire height of the building and reinforcing the sense of verticality.

1968 Neue National Gallery in Berlin

Model in Warehouse by bakbek

Mies’s last work was the Neue Nationalgalerie art museum, the New National Gallery for the Berlin National Gallery. Considered one of the most perfect statements of his architectural approach, the upper pavilion is a precise composition of monumental steel columns and a cantilevered (overhanging) roof plane with a glass enclosure. The simple square glass pavilion is a powerful expression of his ideas about flexible interior space, defined by transparent walls and supported by an external structural frame.









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