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architexts ISSN 1809-6298


O artigo reavalia a Casa Núcleo (1951-2) projetada por Mies van der Rohe, centrando-se nas intenções originais do arquiteto, bem como na repercussão do projeto e na sua natureza teórica. Com base nesse abordar os projetos teóricos de Mies

The article reassesses Mies van der Rohe’s Core House (1951-2) by focusing on the architect’s original intentions, as well as on the project’s repercussion and theoretical nature. Based on the example of the Core House

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COLOMBO, Luciana Fornari. Mies van der Rohe’s Core House, a Theoretical Project on the Essential Dwelling. Arquitextos, São Paulo, year 11, n. 130.03, Vitruvius, mar. 2011 <>.

Figure 1: Core House, perspective
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When industrialization expanded around the world, the need for housing to shelter the workers in the cities increased dramatically. The two World Wars made the house shortage even greater, strengthening the dream of an affordable house available for everyone. Several architects attempted to fulfill this dream by exploring the new industrial technologies, prefabrication and mass production. They believed that if these techniques were applied to housing like they had been applied to cars, housing would improve its quality and affordability. (2)

During and after the Second World War a new wave of experiments in prefabricated housing emerged especially in the United States (US). In 1946, the US government stimulated the prefabrication industry in order to guarantee housing for the veterans returning from the war. Thus, after the end of the conflict, factories that used to produce fighter airplanes started to produce prefabricated houses. Still around this period, developer William Levitt pioneered mass-produced construction techniques that helped housing industry meet the overwhelming demand. Meanwhile, architect Buckminster Fuller found the occasion very appropriate to reintroduce his compact and transportable Dymaxion House, which he had developed some years. (3)

In 1945, the magazine Arts and Architecture announced an extraordinary opportunity for experimentation in domestic architecture: the twenty year-long Case Study House Program. (4) The program’s aim was to give some direction to the thinking on the shape and form of post war living by adopting as far as practical war-born techniques and materials best suited to the expression of human’s life in the modern world. With this goal, several architects were invited to design houses in southern California within the limits of a specified budget and of ordinary building restrictions, but without compromising their principles. (5)

In this post-war context of intense experimentation with industrial technologies in housing, Mies van der Rohe (1886 – 1969) was commissioned to design the Robert H. McCormick House (1951-1952). This house was meant not only to shelter McCormick’s family, but also, eventually, to become a prototype for mass-production. The McCormick House was developed in Mies’s office with the collaboration of Joe Fujikawa. The project’s generative idea was to take one level of the 860 880 Lake Shore Drive tower, which had been recently designed and built by Mies, and transform it into a single family house. (6)

Even though the McCormick house was never mass-produced, its commission stimulated Mies’s interest in housing even more. (7) Soon he started to develop the Core House project (1951-2) (Figure 1-2) by his own, leisurely, as a personal research, and without the financial support of a client. (8) The Core House was developed not only in Mies’s office with the collaboration of Myron Goldsmith, but also with students at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT)’s school of architecture, where Mies worked as teacher and director. In spite of having a program similar to the McCormick House, the Core House represented a more artistic and architectural vision. (9)

Mies demonstrated to be very interested in the Core House project, for he dedicated time to it, while he also had to work on important commissioned projects, such as the Crown Hall (1950-6) and the IIT’s Carr Memorial Chapel (1949-52). In the Core House project, without the restrictions imposed by a specific site or client, Mies had great freedom to speculate on the essential modern dwelling. The freedom from the demands of a specific client was particularly relieving for Mies in that moment. Around 1950, the misunderstandings between the architect and his client Edith Farnsworth had increased to the point that they had to be presented to a judge at court. Mies sued Ms Farnsworth for lack of payment and she counter-sued the architect in response (10). According to Myron Goldsmith, who collaborated with Mies in the Farnsworth House project and who was in charge of communicating with the client, Mies felt very depressed by this situation. The situation was so disturbing that Goldsmith decided to leave the office in 1951 and travel to Europe for a break. However, soon he was called to return to Chicago in order to participate in the trials at court. Goldsmith remembered that it was during or after the trials that he started to work with Mies on the Core House. (11)

Figure 2: Core House project in the version selected for publication by Mies van der Rohe. Plans and elevations
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The Core House

Mies’s self-imposed Core House project consists of a square space enclosed with glass (Figure 1-2). Only four exterior columns sustain the flat roof. The interior is free to be arranged at will around a fixed service core, not with walls, but with furniture, curtains, or lightweight low partitions. Like this, the number, size, and position of rooms can be easily changed according to the circumstances. In fact, the Core House was intended to adapt to different families and sites. To accomplish that, the house could be built in 40, 50 or 60 feet square (12.19, 15.24 or 18.28 m) (12) (Figure 3) and receive different service core arrangements (Figure 4). Opened in all directions to the surrounding nature through large glass panels, the house has minimal visual obstructions, just a few mullions, besides the slender columns. These columns are dislocated from their usual position, the corners, emphasizing the sense of space continuity and creating the perception of the roof as a light floating plane (Figure 5).

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Figure 3: Core House, size variations based on Mies van der Rohe’s original drawings. The interior arrangement for the small and big versions are hypothetically suggested by the author. Mies’s remaining original drawings do not present a suggestion of interior arrangement

Figure 4: Core House, interior arrangement variations for 50 x 50 version based on Mies van der Rohe’s original drawings
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Figure 5: Core House, structural scheme
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Approximately ninety sketches and thirty technical drawings, the majority made with pencil on paper, constitute the remaining drawings of the Core House project. These drawings are now kept by the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA NY). (13) The project also contains a photomontage, whose image is held by the Chicago Historical Society. (14) This photomontage shows a picture of the model inserted in a generic natural background. The view is focused on the house, barely indicating its surrounding. In the same way, the drawings do not indicate a context besides the surrounding trees. Likewise, these documents present a generic environment, not specifically urban or country, for walls enclosing the lot still could exist at a relatively close distance. In fact, some sketches made by the architect suggest this alternative of a sub-urban house protected by surrounding walls.(15)

The Core House became renown through exhibition, teaching (16) and several publications. These publications, however, usually present the project very briefly, through few statements. (17) This situation indicates why some gaps on the understanding of this project remains, as it will be demonstrated. The longest historical review of the Core House identified is the one presented in the Mies van der Rohe Archive, which is accompanied by the most complete collection of images of the project. (18) Other important sources are the ones presenting Mies van der Rohe’s own discourse on the Core House, and Myron Goldsmith’s discourse as collaborator in this project.

The article ‘Dinner in Yesterday's Bedroom: It's Possible in This Flexible Plan’ by Anne Douglas, which was released in the Chicago Daily Tribune on the 24th of August, 1952, (19) is the only publication identified that presents an interview with Mies dealing specifically with the Core House project. Being the only publication based on such primary source, it should be considered the most reliable literature available on the Core House project that was identified so far. This article becomes even more important for it seems to be the first to publish this project, just after its completion. Besides the interview, Dougla’s article presented one version of the plan (Figure 2) and a photomontage. (20)

In this seminal article, the journalist named the house in two passages: ‘Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, internationally known architect, has designed this “core” house as a solution for families of many sizes and needs’; and ‘He is working on cost estimates for the “core house” and believes it will come close to the $30,000-$40,000 goal’. (21) In both occasions, the journalist applied quotation marks on the house’s name, suggesting that she did not propose it, but the architect himself. Indeed, other quotation marks applied to the text clearly indicate the architect’s own statements. The name Core House would emphasize the idea of a well-defined service core achieved through the minimal use of walls (Figure 6). As described by Douglas, ‘The heart of the house is the core…’.(22)

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Figure 6: Core House’s original version by Mies van der Rohe to the left. A hypothetical version of the house with conventional walls to the right. The name Core House would emphasize the idea of a well-defined service core achieved through the minimal use of walls.

Despite being launched with the name ‘Core House’, this project became popular later on as ‘50 x 50 House’. The first author to apply this name was Philip Johnson (23) in his seminal monograph on Mies van der Rohe’s work, which was published for the first time in 1947. This book became a very influential reference on the subject, in contrast to the newspaper article previously mentioned, which has been barely cited.(24) In fact, the remaining drawings of the project suggest that Mies developed in details only the 50 x 50 version of the Core House. Moreover, two original drawings showing the plan chosen for publication presents a caption saying ‘50 x 50 House’.

Nevertheless, among the remaining drawings of the project, there are two drawings presenting the house’s shell in different sizes, 40 x 40 and 60 x 60 feet square respectively. (25) Moreover, the Chicago Tribune article, which was based on Mies’s own discourse, confirms that the house could have these different sizes. Therefore, the rare authors that correctly present this house as a project that ‘could be built in 40, 50 or 60 feet square’ (26), have adopted an inconsistent name, ‘50 x 50 House’, which represents an obstacle to the project’s deeper understanding (also if considering that the project’s technical drawings indicate the dimensions 48 x 48 feet). Indeed, as suggested in the Chicago Tribune article, Mies applied a different name in order to express more clearly this project’s character. Other authors close to the architect, Hilberseimer (27) and Blaser (28) for example, also applied different names, Square House and Glass House with Four Columns respectively, although neither mentioned the project’s size variations. Thus, it can be concluded that, until the moment, historians’ literature has presented only one variation of a broader project that, in these terms, remains barely known. The name Core House, based in the evidence previously presented can be considered more appropriate and loyal to the architect’s original intentions.

In the interview of 1952 for the Chicago Tribune, Mies stated that the Core House project was motivated, not by a client request, but by a general need:

 A dozen people have come to us in the last few years and asked for a modern house in the range of $30,000 to $40,000. We told them it was difficult to work out individual houses, for the work has no relation to the cost of the house … Since there seems to be a real need for such homes, we have attempted to solve the problem …(29)

In response to this generic demand, Mies designed the Core House largely without the constraints of outside interference, including economical ones for, according to the architect, ‘… a dwelling cannot merely be made from an economic angle’ (30) and ‘… yet man also has the needs of his soul’. (31) Likewise, a broader view of Mies’s thinking indicates that the Core House derived, not primarily from the search for an affordable house, but for a house in harmony with the spiritual demands of the time, with a modern way of living.

According to Myron Goldsmith, who collaborated in the design of the Core House, this project emerged from Mies’s interest in a house adaptable to different families and places. Goldsmith stated that Mies designed this house as an independent challenge on the subject, without knowing how or if he would build it.(32) Goldsmith also pointed the main ideas that Mies van der Rohe speculated and tested in this project. They were: architecture as background for people, absolute minimum use of elements, how far one could go in a unified space (what had to be closed, what could be opened), how far one could go in simplifying the unconventional living idea and how to live within it. As an experiment rather than an architectural solution for a specific family, Goldsmith concluded that not all ideas presented in the Core House should be expected to work under any circumstances. (33)

Presented by Goldsmith as a self-imposed challenge independent from client, location and the necessity of directly building, this house can be understood as a theoretical project. Such theoretical nature is confirmed by Douglas’s article, which does not attach a specific client or site to the project. According to her, the house’s ‘note of individuality would depend on the specific site’, and that the house was flexible enough to serve ‘not only the changing needs of one family, but the different needs of different families’ (34). Finally, both sources confirm that there was no developer behind the project. Nevertheless, Goldsmith pointed that this project had its theoretical character frequently misunderstood, and that even the educated public had difficulties to identify the proposal as ideas for exploration rather than ultimate solutions. (35)

The Core House project was taken as far as appropriate considering it was not financially supported by a client and that it was not expected to be directly built. (36) The structure, for example, was never really calculated. The house’s structure is challenging, while the time dedicated to its development was not enough for the formulation of a definitive solution. The freedom for experimentation in this project allowed other unusual features such as great openness both to the exterior and to the interior, as well as minimal storage area.(37)

Considering the broader context of Mies’s career, the Core House represented an opportunity to test in family housing the concept of Clear Span Pavilion. (38) This was a major theme developed by Mies in his American phase, which had been previously applied only to institutional buildings, such as the Concert Hall, or in a program not so common, a reclusive holiday house for just one person, the Farnsworth House (1946-51). The Clear Span Pavilion’s minimal partitions really represented a challenge for a family house, as this program requires more privacy between activities and inhabitants. Therefore, in the Core House, Mies attempted to expand the applicability of the Clear Span Pavilion to housing in general by overcoming the unusual character of the Farnsworth House’s program.

The Core House became a seminal project in Mies van der Rohe’s career for introducing the clear span pavilion with square plan and minimal number of supports. Mies applied this pavilion type in several following institutional projects. They are the Chicago Convention Hall (1952-4), by far the largest space Mies ever designed, the Bacardi Office Building in Cuba (1957-60), Georg Schaefer Museum (1960-3), and the Berlin New National Gallery (1962-8), Mies’s mature masterpiece where the square pavilion was finally materialized (Figure 7). In this manner, all these commissioned projects find their initial expression in the theoretical design for the Core House.

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Figure 7: Core House and following commissioned projects by Mies van der Rohe: Chicago Convention Hall, Bacardi Office Building in Cuba, Georg Shaefer Museum in Schweinfurt, and Berlin New National Gallery respectively.

When applied in following commissioned projects, the Core House’s scheme was adapted to attend specific circumstances. For instance, to protect the interior of the Bacardi Building from the tropical sun of Cuba, Mies recessed the glass walls introducing an exterior gallery. The result proved to be even more universal, being reapplied later in temperate climates in the Georg Schaefer Museum and the New National Gallery. In the same way, the Core House’s structure proved to be excessively challenging to build for its extensive cantilevers. Thus, in these commissioned projects, Mies doubled the number of columns, while still keeping the corners and the interior free of supports.

The influence of the Core House is not limited to the work of Mies van der Rohe. A clear example able to evidence this statement is found in the work of Myron Goldsmith, Mies’s collaborator and former student. The Core House’s influence is explicit in his proposal for the Steel Exhibition Pavilion at the 1964 World’s Fair. This project basically adopts the Core House’s structure, but in a colossal size, 300 x 300 feet (approximately 90 x 90 meters), to demonstrate the possibilities of the steel in a spectacular way. (39) This project differs from the Core House for, besides being bigger, it has diagonal rather than orthogonal grid of beams to sustain the roof. The diagonal alternative was also tested during the design of the Core House, but it was abandoned in the final version. (40)

The Core House’s influence can also be perceived in the Ben Rose Automobile Pavilion (Figure 8) designed by David Haid, another former student of Mies van der Rohe. The pavilion was built in 1974 at the luxurious Highland Park neighbourhood in Chicago (IL) as the annex of the Ben Rose House (1952-4) designed by A. James Speyer, who had also studied with Mies at IIT. The pavilion was meant to shelter Rose’s collection of automobiles. This building became popular through its prominent appearance in the movie Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986). (41) Like the Core House, this car pavilion is supported by just four exterior columns located away from the corners. Haid’s pavilion, however, was elevated, in a way to adapt to the sloping site, and the columns were on two opposite facades, adapting the structure to the slightly rectangular plan and facilitating its construction. Such disposition of columns had also been tested during the Core House design, but it was abandoned in the final version. Nowadays, this pavilion is considered one of the most important exemplars of modern architecture in Chicago.(42)  

Figure 8: Ben Rose Automobile Pavilion by David Haid at Highland Park, IL, 1974 (Courtesy of Nikki A. Johnson
Cortesia de Nikki A. Johnson [Disponível em:]


Despite the extensive literature available on the work of Mies van der Rohe, it is still possible to identify significant gaps on the subject. As previously demonstrated, the Core House’s size variations have been generally overlooked, what becomes evident in the way the project has been commonly named. Still, the clear identification of the broader project from which the 50 x 50 House derived does not deny the latter’s autonomy, but improves the understanding of its origin and essence. For example, having the Core House as matrix, the 50 x 50 House’s specific size becomes clearly less relevant than qualities such as the great openness achieved with minimal use of walls and a compact service core. 

Despite the possibility of having different sizes, after many decades the Core House did not become a custom house produced, just like a piece of clothing, in small, medium and large sizes. To blame this destiny for a certain lack of privacy while praising the house’s transparency and fluidity, is to establish a paradox, for these qualities are associated. Still, it seems that Mies’s forms have been in general more workable with wealthy clients (43), imposing difficulties to its popularization. But most of all, as it was demonstrated, this project was not really expected to be directly built. Even if considering the possibility of mass-producing this house, (44) Mies developed it primarily as an experiment where, under ideal circumstances, the architect would be able to challenge certain architectural concepts and test their limits. Indeed, the Core House resulted unusual and radical, and several ideas proposed in this project had to be adapted to practical circumstances in later commissioned projects in order to be built. Nevertheless, as previously demonstrated, even if sometimes adapted, the concepts formulated in the Core House successfully inspired following designs. Thus, to consider the Core House as just a project too impractical to be built is to neglect its important achievements. Instead of a prototype that did not work, it is much more a source of alternatives to expand established boundaries.

Therefore, the Core House can be considered an outstanding example of a theoretical project, that is, of a project undertaken independently, as a self-imposed challenge. This type of project allows the architect to more freely test and develop generic architectural ideas for no one and nowhere in specific, which are able to inspire future designs. In this sense, theoretical projects are not only unbuilt projects. They provide an appropriate opportunity to put architecture in front of its disciplinary limits.

Other theoretical projects designed by Mies van der Rohe also had an important role in the architect’s career. In the early 1920s, his breakthrough to modernity was notably based in a series of highly theoretical projects. They are the Friedrichstrasse Skyscraper (1921), Glass Skyscraper (1922), Concrete Office Building (1922-3), Concrete Country House (1923), and Brick Country House (1923-4).(45) Indeed, during this period the revolution in Mies’s work was much more concentrated in his theoretical projects rather than in the projects commissioned by clients to be directly built. In the 1930s, after the Great Crash, building became difficult. While teaching, Mies introduced innovating house studies, again, through a series of theoretical projects: Row House (1931), Courtyard House with Garage (1934), House with Three Courts (1934-5), Mountain House (1934), and Glass House on Hill Side (1934). After immigrating to America, Mies continued to produce with students important theoretical projects, this time regarding the clear-span pavilion concept: Museum for a Small City (1940-3), Concert Hall (1941-2), Theatre (1947) and Core House (1951-2).

In his theoretical projects, Mies would develop new directions to his career. For example, the idea of a glass skyscraper was originally visualized in theoretical projects, and materialized only decades later, firstly in the 860-880 Lake Shore Drive (1948-51). Meanwhile, Mies’s unique approach to the open plan was introduced with great clarity in the Brick Country House, and later materialized in works such as the German Pavilion in Barcelona (1928-9). Similarly, it was in the Concert Hall (1942) that a major theme of his American phase, the Clear Span Pavilion, clearly emerged for the first time. Through publication, exhibition and teaching, Mies’s theoretical projects were able to influence the work of other architects.

In 1959, Mies was asked if he often designed buildings without being commissioned. He answered:

This is interesting because most of our designs are developed long before there is a practical possibility of carrying them out. I do that on purpose and have done it all my life. I do it when I am interested in something. I do it just to hope that one day the building will be lived in and liked. (46)

Besides innovating and influencing later designs as much as many built works, the Core House can also be considered a crystalline exemplar of modern architecture, expressing the historical and cultural context in which it was developed. Still, as it happens to outstanding works of art, this project transcends its own generation. After many decades, this house did not lose its innovating qualities, offering, still today, a modern appeal to the daily need of shelter. Besides all the influences and repercussions it had, the value of this work also lies in itself, in its purifying and resolving effect in the fundamental questions of architecture. This unique proposal represents the achievement of a beautiful vitreous apparition, almost immaterial and infinite.


Note (10) was included in this article per the author's instructions on March 26th, 2014. 

This article is an adapted and revised version of the conference paper: Luciana F. Colombo. The Core House by Mies van der Rohe: an Exercise of Imagination on the Essential Dwelling. In: Michael Chapman (Ed); Michael Ostwald (ed.) Imagining… Proceedings of the 27th International SAHANZ Conference. The University of Newcastle, Australia, June 2010, p139-44. The topic presented in this article has been developed by the author as part of her thesis ‘Theoretical Projects of Architecture: Nature and Significance through the Work of Mies van der Rohe’ that is supervised by Associate Professor Julie Willis at the University of Melbourne, Australia. This thesis has also received the support of the Norman Macgeorge Bequest Scholarship.
Alison Arieff. Pre fab. Layton: Gibbs Smith, 2002, 13.
Arieff. Pre fab, 21, 27.
Arieff. Pre fab, 27. And David Travers; About Arts & Architecture; Santa Monica, CA: January 2007; Available at:
John Estenza. Announcement: The Case Study House Program. Arts & Architecture, January 1945, 37-9; Available at
Joe Fujikawa interviewed by Kevin Harrington. Unpublished transcripts. Mies and American Colleagues Oral History Project – Joe Fujikawa. Canadian Centre for Architecture collection, Montreal, 1996, 123
Myron Goldsmith interviewed by Kevin Harrington. Unpublished transcripts. Mies and American Colleagues Oral History Project – Myron Goldsmith. Canadian Centre for Architecture collection, Montreal, 1996, 119
Goldsmith, Mies and American Colleagues Oral History Project – Myron Goldsmith, 117

Goldsmith, Mies and American Colleagues Oral History Project – Myron Goldsmith, 116-7

For more detailed information about this issue, please refer to: Franz Schulze; Edward Windhorst. Mies van der Rohe, a critical biography, new and revised edition. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 2012, 263

Goldsmith, Mies and American Colleagues Oral History Project – Myron Goldsmith, 73, 101

Anne Douglas. ‘Dinner in Yesterday's Bedroom: It's Possible in This Flexible Plan’. Chicago Daily Tribune Aug 24, 1952.
These drawings were published in Franz Schulze; Arthur Drexler. The Mies van der Rohe Archive, New York: Garland Pub., 1986, v15.
The Chicago Historical Society archives is available online at

The photomontage of the Core House is available in

See drawing 5016.111 from Franz Schulze.; Arthur Drexler. The Mies van der Rohe Archive, New York: Garland Pub., 1986, v15, 10.
See students’ work on the Core House problem in Rolf Achilles; Kevin Harrington, et al.  Mies van der Rohe, architect as educator. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986, 145.
For example, that is the case of the books written by Philip Johnson (Mies van der Rohe. 3. ed. New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1978 [1953, 1947]), Ludwig Hilberseimer (Mies van der Rohe. Chicago: Theobald, 1956), Arthur Drexler (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. New York: G. Braziller, 1960), Werner Blaser (Mies van der Rohe: the art of structure. London: Thames & Hudson, 1993 [1965]), Peter Carter (Mies van der Rohe at work. London: Phaidon, 1999 [1974]), Jean-Louis Cohen (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Basel: Birkhauser, 2007 [1996]), Fernandez-Galiano et al (Mies van der Rohe: Berlin/Chicago. Madrid, España: Arquitectura Viva, 2001 AV monografías, 92), among others. Still, some authors prefer to omit this project, such as Tegethoff (Mies van der Rohe: the villas and country houses. New York; Cambridge: Museum of Modern Art; MIT Press, 1985, 13). In spite of focusing his book on Mies’s residential projects, Tegethoff explained that the Core House and the McCormick House comprehended but variants on the theme of the Farnsworth house, and as such would have offered nothing essentially new toward the assertions he wished to make.
Franz Schulze; Arthur Drexel. The Mies van der Rohe Archive, New York: Garland Pub., 1986, v15, 2.
Douglas, ‘Dinner in yesterday's bedroom’.
This photomontage is available at
Douglas, ‘Dinner in yesterday's bedroom’.
Douglas, ‘Dinner in yesterday's bedroom’.
Philip Johnson. Mies van der Rohe, New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1978 [1953, 1947], 169.
Only Franz Schulze. Mies van der Rohe: a critical biography. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985, 261, and Franz Schulze.; Arthur Drexler. The Mies van der Rohe Archive, New York: Garland Pub., 1986, v15, 2.
See drawings 5016.87 and 5016.88 from Franz Schulze; Arthur Drexler. The Mies van der Rohe Archive, New York: Garland Pub., 1986, v15, 23.
Schulze; Drexler. The Mies van der Rohe Archive, 2.
Ludwig Hilberseimer. Mies van der Rohe, Chicago: Theobald, 1956, 62.
Werner Blaser. Mies van der Rohe: the art of structure. London: Thames & Hudson, 1993 [1965], 122.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in Douglas, ‘Dinner in Yesterday's Bedroom’.
Mies van der Rohe, 1927-8?, in Fritz Neumeyer. The artless word: Mies van der Rohe on the building art. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1991, 272
Mies van der Rohe, 1927-8? in Neumeyer, The artless word , 274
Myron Goldsmith. Betty J Blum. Oral History of Myron Goldsmith Interviewed by Betty J. Blum. Chicago Architects Oral History Project, 2001 [1986], 73-8. Available at:<,3934>
Goldsmith, ‘Oral History of Myron Goldsmith’, 73-77
Douglas, ‘Dinner in yesterday's bedroom’.
Goldsmith, ‘Oral History of Myron Goldsmith’, 73-77
Goldsmith, Mies and American Colleagues Oral History Project – Myron Goldsmith, 121
Goldsmith, Mies and American Colleagues Oral History Project – Myron Goldsmith, 117-8
The term ‘Clear Span Building’ was probably introduced by Peter Carter. Mies van der Rohe at work. London: Phaidon, 1999 [1974].
Myron Goldsmith. Werner Blaser Buildings and concepts: Myron Goldsmith. New York: Rizzoli, 1987, 70
Phyllis Lambert. ‘Mies Immersion’ in Lambert et al. Mies in America. New York: H.N. Abrams, 2001, 461; Schulze et al., The Mies van der Rohe Archive, v.15, 25, 52
Franz Schulze. Landmarks Illinois 2009-2010 Chicagoland Watch list: Rose House and Pavilion. Chicago: Landmarks Illinois, 2009. Available at:

Schulze. Landmarks Illinois 2009-2010 Chicagoland Watch list: Rose House and Pavilion.
William J R Curtis. Modern Architecture since 1900. Phaidon: London, 3 ed, 2009, 409
Such possibility was considered by Mies according to the last paragraph of the manuscript for the Anne Douglas’s article of 1952, which is among Mies van der Rohe’s office papers at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Nevertheless, this paragraph was omitted in the published article. Perhaps, Mies had already developed the opinion expressed in interview of 1959 (Shankland, The Listener, p622): “I think the value of prefabrication is the value of getting elements which we can use freely as we have doors and bath tubs…. To prefabricate a house or standardize a house from top to bottom is too complicated a process…. it would be terribly boring. And I do not think it will happen”.
Some of these projects are not purely theoretical, but they all have strong theoretical nature. The Friedrichstrasse project, for example, is not purely theoretical. Being a competition entry, it was constrained by a specific location and the competition guidelines, which implied, for example, a height limit. Such restrictions would be overcome on the purely theoretical Glass Skyscraper.
Mies van der Rohe 1959; in Mies van der Rohe, Moisés Puente; Iñaki Abalos. Conversations with Mies van der Rohe. English. ed. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, 2008, 17

about the author

Luciana Fornari Colombo graduated in Architecture and Urban Planning from Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil (2007). She is a PhD graduate from University of Melbourne, Australia (2012).



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