LESSON FOUR: Exploring the Design Process

17 L E S S O

IMAGE TWELVE: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. IMAGE THIRTEEN: Ludwig Mies van der N American, born . 1886–1969. Rohe. American, born Germany. 1886–1969. S Building, New York. 1954–58. , New York. 1954–58. Site View of north side. Photo: Hedrich Blessing. and floor plans. Ink on illustration board, 1 The of , New York 27 ⁄2 x 20" (69.9 x 50.8 cm). The Mies van der Rohe Archive

IMAGE FOURTEEN: Ludwig Mies van der IMAGE FIFTEEN: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Rohe. American, born Germany. 1886–1969. American, born Germany. 1886–1969. Seagram Building, New York. 1954–58. Seagram Building, New York. 1954–58. North and west elevations. Pencil on ozalid, Model, aerial view of plaza and lower floors. 1 37 ⁄4" x 52" (94.6 x 132.1 cm). Revised Photo: Louis Checkman. The Museum of February 18, 1957. The Mies van der Rohe Modern Art, New York Archive

IMAGE SIXTEEN: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. IMAGE SEVENTEEN: Ludwig Mies van der American, born Germany. 1886–1969. Rohe. American, born Germany. 1886–1969. Seagram Building, New York. 1954–58. Seagram Building, New York. 1954–58. Construction photograph showing steel View, office interior. Photo: . frame. Photo: House of Patria. The Mies van Esto Photographics der Rohe Archive. Gift of the architect . scale , and ornamentation Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. van der Mies Ludwig , 23 x 24" (80 x 58.4 x 61 cm). 23 x 24" (80 x 2 ⁄ 1 f construction, modern setting the style for cantilever o , n o ift of International, Inc., USA he Museum ofhe Museum Art, Modern York. New eather, 31 MAGE EIGHTEEN: T G I American, born Germany. 1886–1969. Chair. 1929–30. and steel Chrome-plated l elevation , . came an ic e plan n) b w States, Canada, and Europe. of The youngest , in children five the design process through photographic documentation and photographic through the design process movement. d e kno ould build a corporate office building in to house its house City to York in New building office a corporate ould build e l w il nit y al plans and elevations rolific architect,rolific designing homes, buildings, office banks, , and school mpan o in the U s apers in New York for years to come. to years for York apers in New the c chitectur scr y

Students will compare and contrast works of and industrial design. and works of architecture and contrast Students will compare Students will become familiar with the work of Mies van der Rohe and the International Style Students will learn the terms Students will explor the history of a building. documentation to explore Students will use primary-source ar ies was a p odern Art, odern design the building, to commissioned were in 1958. which was completed The y uilding (as it is st

uilding INTRODUCTORY DISCUSSION INTRODUCTORY M b • • • headquarters. of the east side land on purchased The company 52nd between Avenue Park the building. for streets as the site and 53rd Philip and Rohe der van Mies Ludwig Architects Johnson, of who at the time was director the Department of of at The Museum Architecture M tall and has forty-two meters) floors,Seagram stands 525 feet (160 Building and the total was $45 million. the project budget for 1983, In Lehman to sold the building the company firm,Brothers, financial investment York New $375 million. a prominent for The Seagram B sk LESSON OBJECTIVES • • In 1954,In E. Joseph of Seagram that in celebration announced & Sons anniver- its hundreth sar INTRODUCTION Germany, Mies worked in his father’s stone-cutting shop until he was thirteen years old, until shop he was thirteen years stone-cutting Germany, in his father’s worked Mies gain- as an architect. on draw later that he would experience ing valuable he was nineteen, When Behrens, with work Peter to to he moved who specialized in the design an architect of and houses. factories his first commission, was during received this time It that Mies a in Berlin. at the university a professor for residence private 1933, to 1930 From was Mies

LESSONS 18 the director of the , a school for art, architecture, industrial design, and crafts that was founded in 1919 in Weimar, Germany, and moved in 1928 to Dessau. Mies’s position at the school coincided with the rise of Adolf Hitler, who severely restricted many freedoms and activities, including cultural and artistic production. Under political pressure from the Nazi regime, which was staunchly opposed to modern art and architecture, Mies was forced to close the school. In 1938, he came to the , where he became director of the architecture department at the Armour Institute of Technology (now the Institute of Technology). He died in , Illinois, in 1969.

• As a class, discuss what the term “modern” means.

“Modern” can mean “related to current times,”but it can also indicate a particular set of ideas 19 about form and structure that, at the time of their development, were new and experimental. L E

” is a term that refers to buildings designed in a style that first appeared S S in the early-twentieth century and continued through 1970. O N S

IMAGE-BASED DISCUSSION • Begin the lesson by showing your students the photograph of the Seagram Building, view of north side (Image 12).

• Have them describe the shape of the building.

Mies’s works are often referred to as belonging to the International Style of architecture. Some of the distinguishing features of the International Style are sleek, simple designs; flat surfaces and rectangular shapes; and the use of materials such as glass and steel. This term was coined for a 1932 exhibition at The called Modern Architecture: International Exhibition. It was an exhibition that ignited the public’s interest in modern architecture.

• Share with your students the definition of the International Style. Ask students if the design of the Seagram Building reflects the characteristics of the International Style. Discuss why or why not.

• Continue the exploration of the Seagram Building by showing your students the site and floor plans and the north and west elevations of the building (Images 13 and 14).

Before construction can begin, architects and engineers create two-dimensional plans and drawings of the design and build a three-dimensional model of the building to clarify their intention for it. This elevation is a side view of the north and west sides of the Seagram Building. Both of these sides are visible in the photograph. The plan is a two-dimensional drawing from a bird’s-eye view.

Plans and elevations serve as orientation tools for architects and engineers as the building is being constructed. Once they have refined their drawings and made all the necessary revisions, they will create a master (finished) set to serve as the official record of the project.

• Show your students the photograph of the model of the building (Image 15).

The three-dimensional model of the building was constructed to scale, according to the architect’s instructions.

• Ask students to describe what they see. aph. . visible in the construction photogr and is a familiar style today, at the but e cantilever es in the plans ar in 1930 for a house, for in 1930 Mies, also designed by in Brno, d ne ity environment. the structure between and the surrounding v i t esig c ram building, was designed Building primarily as an office which was the most ple and a eag hair was d o e design before it is built. it design before ave students think about how this practice informs the final construction of the building. informs the final construction how this practice ave students think about how your students the construction photograph that displays the steel frame of the building frame that displays the steel construction photograph how your students the of be designed mass-produced, to were the objects in the office the . including

p Ask them if they can locate the chair in the photograph of the office interior. Ask them if they can locate the chair in the photograph Have students make a list of all the objects they see in the photograph of the office interior. a list of all the objects they see in the photograph Have students make their findings with those of other students. to compare Have them gather in small groups Now show your students the Brno Chair (Image 18). Ask them what kinds of activities they think happen in this space Ask them what kinds of activities they think Show your students the photograph of the office interior (Image 17). Show your students the photograph Ask them whether all of the featur (west) side of the building and ask them what they see. Have them look at the front Have students compare the construction photograph to the plan and elevation drawings. the construction photograph Have students compare to those in the photograph. in the plan correspond Ask them which features H S (Image 16). Have them compare the plan and elevation to the photograph. the plan and elevation compare Have them to locate in the Ask them see in the photograph. shapes that they elevation the of versions three-dimensional two- and to create necessary why they think it’s Ask students a Discuss why or why not. l l he S he c

f (now the Czech Republic), the Czech (now use. and office both residential for it was intended but The tubu- framelar steel of a is based on the chair time it was considered avant-garde.time it was considered and can be purchased is still This chair in production dealers. furniture through • A T • • • T function ofcommon at the time, use by the building’s expanded Mies but restaurants and an two building.including Both architects, and Johnson, Mies all aspects to ofcontributed the design, of the development including signage and way- the building. finding throughout In Mies’s design, Mies’s In is set ninety the sidewalk, the building back feet from a plaza in creating offront the building. multiple viewpoints— from see the building people to This allows a flow for space right provides come up close—and it or they admire and stand back can o • • • • • • • being was built.the building as taken This photograph was photographs, Construction withalong the plans, elevations, and models, ofdocumentation serve as project the entire start finish. from to • •

LESSONS 20 LESSONS 21 and r e pap h ap r using g y b io at architecture.) Mies had wanted Mies architecture.) r sustainable . n io ntat name r o duce the concepts of concepts the duce scale and o r liography and Resources section of and Resources liography further for this guide information ib can int y io of foot. one to box one they begin Before draw, to decide, to ask students he at the B place ofplace applied T in in s. r e d by asking the students to map rooms in their homes. map rooms to asking the students by the information Consult o e o ur t n ning a r ud l uc out plans and elevations.out Ask students if they feel Mies accomplished his goal of creating an illusion of structure. his goal of creating Ask students if they feel Mies accomplished Ask your students if they can locate the I-beams in any of the images. they can locate the I-beams in any of the Ask your students if Have students itself. to the building the furniture compare common design Ask them what they see. characteristics elements or Style movement. the ideals of the International if the Brno Chair fits Ask students Discuss how. r inc as a group, what of kind in their maps. should be information included this can expand You lesso assig ACTIVITIES plan and elevation views create of students your Have the classroom. They can use simple various identify details, to (a map legend) a key develop shapes to as furniture, such windows, and d • • the outside, visibleThe beams are from of the very top running vertically from the building the bottom.to of look and see the illusion at the building hoped that people would Mies structure. ideal, with his less-is-more keeping In glass and the skeletal used colored Mies st Nonstructural glass walls were hung on the steel frame steel of the on glass hung Nonstructural walls were the SeagramBuilding. glass The stability; the building’s to contribute not does instead, a wrapping. like it is used to liked Mies use glass, light, provides which transparency, and reflection, plans for conceptual and made built. never glass skyscrapers that were many it at the time, know didn’t (He glass but is a be in developing used later that would material • • the skeleton ofthe skeleton be visible, to the building that structural dictated codes steel building but hazard. not be exposed because a fire it was could Instead, used nonstructural he bronze structure. imply I-beams to As a follow-up, Design,As You can participate students in activity on an interactive featured Studio (www.moma.org/redstudio), Red site Web the design a school in which students environment. ab