Mies Van Der Rohe and the Sense of Space

Intro From the mid 17th-century to the early 20th-century, after the renaissance and the enlightenment thought, the world again experienced a flourishing revolution throughout almost all the realm including architecture, culture etc. , initiating many different movements. As a response to the declining aristocracy and the rising bourgeoisie, the neo-classicism began to spring up to accommodate the new institutions of bourgeois society through the re-adoption of antique doctrines. Modern Architecture: A Critical History P12) Although it acts as an introspection of the over-elaboration of architectural language in Rococo interiors of Ancien Regime and the secularization of Enlightenment thought (Modern Architecture: A Critical History P12), architects cannot simply be sufficed with the fact a reverence for the classical past (Pragmatism and Modern Architecture, William G. Ramroth P31) They started to discover the fundamental morality of the building. (The artless word P96)
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, as one of the most “Zeigeist” architects in the biography of modern architecture, began his career under this ultimate paradox era. Now we scale our eyes down to the three projects successively done by Mies van der Rohe during the 1920s, that is the Brick Country House, the Wolf House, and the Barcelona Pavilion, through which, we can follow the penetration of Mies’ ideological transformation from the neoclassicism to the modernism, to trace the differences between them. Fan of skyscraper P2 Only skyscrapers under construction reveal the bold constructive thoughts. Mies van der Rohe, published in Fruhlicht, 1, no. 4(1922) 122-124 Mies Intro “The idealistic principle of order…with its over emphasis on the ideal and formal, satisfies neither our interest in simple reality nor our practical commonsense. ” –Philip Johnson, Mies van der Rohe, New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1947, p. 194 In a Hegelian sense, Mies conceived of the “Zeigeist” as a driving force in history infused in and identified with technology. – Mies_van_der_Rohe_The_Genealogy_of_Column_and_Wall P44 He claimed that “Technology is rooted in the past.
It dominates the present and tends into the future. ” Mies believed that the linear progression of technology would surpass its practical dimension to become “something that has a meaning and powerful form. ” – Conrads, Ulrich, Programs and Manifestoes on 20th Century Century Architecture MIT Press 1975 P154 This monism initiates an architectural discourse which rejects “all aesthetic, all doctrine and all formalism,” and restores architecture “to what it should exclusively be: building. ” -Mies van der Rohe, “Aphorisms on Architecture Form” uoted by Johnson, Philip C. , Mies van der Rohe(New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1947), P 188-189 “Essentially our task is to free the practice of building from the control of aesthetic speculators and restore it to what it should exclusively be: building. ” -Mies van der Rohe, “Aphorisms on Architecture Form” quoted by Johnson, Philip C. , Mies van der Rohe(New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1947), P 188-189 The renovation of the building art from its foundation up had to begin with the reestablishment of a fundamental morality of building.

As its apostle, Mies entered the debate. Part of his program was, first of all, the rejection of a past, that had, after World War I, experienced a total collapse, a “heroic finale”. The purging of the building art from this history of decline began with a rejection of all aesthetic and symbolic references and contents. The clenched fist spoke, as it were, in the rhythmically insistent verdict of Mies: “Any aesthetic speculation, any doctrine, and any formalism we reject. ” -the artless word P96-97

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