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History of Architecture 47 Week 04 Late Le Corbusier Truth is the Significance of Fact (from text)

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History of architecture 47 week 04 late le corbusier l.jpg
History of Architecture 47Week 04 Late Le Corbusier


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Truth is the Significance of Fact

(from text)

Mies wants to know “what is the task of architecture”? He knew it was a question of truth, so he tried to find out what truth is. Very satisfied with the definition by St. Thomas Aquinas. “Adequatio intellectus et rei” “Truth is the Significance of Fact”.

“In Europe we call a shack a shack and not a structure.

By structure we have a philosophical idea. The structure is the whole from top to bottom, to the last detail – with the same ideas. That is what we call structure.”


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Truth is the Significance of Fact

(from text)

Mies wants to know “what is the task of architecture”? He knew it was a question of truth, so he tried to find out what truth is. Very satisfied with the definition by St. Thomas Aquinas. “Adequatio intellectus et rei” “Truth is the Significance of Fact”.

“In Europe we call a chack a shack and not a structure.

By structure we have a philosophical idea. The structure is the whole from top to bottom, to the last detail – with the same ideas. That is what we call structure.”


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Early Years

Entered father’s stonemason business at age of 14.

In 1905 left native town of Aachen for Berlin where he worked for a minor architect specializing in timber construction. Ventured briefly on his own in 1907, built his first house in restrained “english” manner.

1908 joins Peter Behrens in his newly established Berlin office doing work for AEG.

1911 leaves Behrens.

1912. Project for Monument to Bismarck.



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Novembergruppe 1919

In 1919 Mies began to direct the architectural section of the radical Novembergruppe, named after the month of the Republican revolution and dedicated to the revitalization of the arts throughout Germany.

He met with the ideas of Taut’s Glass Chain and this influenced his first skyscraper project of 1920 which was made in response to Paul Scheerbart’s Glasarchitektur of 1914





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Influences on Mies’ Work after 1923

The Berlage brick tradition and the dictum that ‘nothing should be built that is not clearly constructed. (Wolf House)

The pre-1910 work of Frank Lloyd Wright, as filtered through the De Stijl group – an influence acknowledged in the horizontal profiles extending into the landscape of Mies’ brick country house of 1923.

Kasimir Malevich’s Suprematism, as interpreted through the work of Lissitzsky. Suprematism had the effect of encouraging Mies to develop the free plan. (Barcelona Pavilion)







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3 Projects – Climax of Mies’ Early Career

Barcelona Pavilion 1929

Tugendhat House 1930

Model House – Berlin Building Exhibition 1931




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Van Doesburg Rhythms of a Russian Dance. 1917










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Mies van der Rohe

“architecture is the will of the epoch translated into space.”



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Mies on Technology

“Technology is rooted in the past. It dominates the present and tends into the future. It is a real historical movement – one of the great movements which shape and represent their epoch.

It can be compared only with the classic discovery of man as a person, the Roman will to power, and the religious movement of the Middle Ages.

Technology is far more than a method. It is a world in itself. As a method it is superior in almost every respect. But only where it is left to itself, as in gigantic structures of engineering, there technology reveals its true nature… Whenever technology reaches its real fulfilment, it transcends into architecture. It is true that architecture depends on facts, but its real field of activity is in the realm of significance.


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Contradiction of Mies

Mies van der Rohe’s development after the mid 1930’s concerned itself with the conciliation of two opposed systems.

One was the heritage of Romantic Classicism which when translated into the skeleton steel frame, pointed towards the dematerialization of architecture, to the mutation of built form into shifting planes suspended in diaphanous space – the image of SUPREMATISM.

The other was the AUTHORITY of trabeated architecture as it had been inherited from the ancient world, the implacable elements of roof, beam, column, and wall.

Caught as it were, between SPACE and STRUCTURE, Mies constantly sought to express simultaneously both transparency and corporeality.



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