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Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

The German architect and designer, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was one of the most important Bauhaus personalities. 

1896. Mies attends a local Catholic school in Aahen, Germany.

1899-1901. He receives vocational training at the Gewerbeschule in Aachen.

1901-1905. Mies attends evening and weekend courses on design and drawing in Aahen. He works as draftsman of architectural ornaments. He is also employed in several architectural studios in Aahen.

1907-1908. Mies becomes an apprentice with Bruno Paul, director of the Educational Institution of the royal museum of applied arts (Unterrichtsanstalt des königlichen Kunstgewerbe-Museums).

1908. The first independent architectural project, Riehl House in Potsdam. 

1908-1912. Mies becomes an apprentice at the studio of Peter Behrens. Since 1912 Ludwig Mies works at independent architectural projects including several villas. 

1921,1922. First attempts at avant-garde architecture. It is a competition proposal for the faceted all-glass Friedrichstraße skyscraper, which was never built. Another bold project is a country house made of armor-clad concrete. Around this time, Mies added “van der Rohe” to his name, an adaptation of his mother’s maiden name.

1925-1927. Die Wohnung exhibition organized by the Deutsche Werkbund (German Association of Craftsmen). Mies van der Rohe is appointed art director of the Weissenhof Estate (a housing estate for the workers in Stuttgart) project.

1926-32. Mies van der Rohe is the architectural director of the Werkbund.

1926. Monument dedicated to Karl Liebknecht and Rosa Luxemburg, Berlin.

1927. Mies van der Rohe patents the model of a flexible cantilevered chair made of tubular steel.He creates the MR10 and MR20 chairs. Along with Lilly Reich (modernist designer and Mis van der Rohe’s partner for a decade) he develops architectural solutions for Café Samt und Seide cafe for the Women’s Fashion Exhibition.

1928. Villa Tugendhat in Brno, Czech Republic, one of the most famous works of Mies van der Rohem is built. It is considered an important modernist landmark in Europe. The villa was built for Fritz Tugendhat and his wife Greta. Mies van der Rohe designed furniture as well: the Brno chairs and the Tugendhat lounge chairs. The renovation of Villa Tugendhat including wooden elements, doors and furniture took place in 2010-2012. 

1929. The temporary German Pavilion for the Barcelona exposition (often called the Barcelona Pavilion). The Barcelona chair.

1930-1932. Mies van der Rohe  is appointed Head of the Bauhaus School in Dessau, and since 1932 in Berlin. 

1931. Mies van der Rohe begins a collaboration with Thonet and designs tubular steel furniture for the company.

1938. Emigration to the USA. Mies van der Rohe settles in Chicago, Illinois, where he is appointed head of the architecture school at Chicago’s Armour Institute of Technology (later renamed Illinois Institute of Technology). He is commissioned to design the new buildings and master plan for the campus.

1945-1951. The famous glass Farnsworth House in Illinois.

1947. Retrospective exhibition in MoMA, New York.

1948-1951. The residential towers of 860–880 Lake Shore Dr., Chicago. Krueck and Sexton Architects of Chicago were commissioned to renovate the historical towers in 2010. The restoration was careful: it included re-coating the steel frame facade and cleaning the aluminum windows, as well as adding sand-blasted glass to the lobby.

1954-1958. The Seagram Building in New York, constructed together with Philip Johnson.

1962-1968. The New National Gallery in Berlin. The building is considered a modernist icon.

The Palisander gallery holds the legendary Barcelona chair by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in its collection.