Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is undoubtedly one of the most influential architects of the 20th century, often credited with forging one of the most lasting architectural styles: Modernism. He was well known for his minimalist style, utilizing simple geometries and clean lines to create a brand of architecture that is now ubiquitous throughout metropolises around the globe. His famous mantra — “less is more” — became a motto for generations of architects to follow.
From homes and pavilions to institutional buildings and commercial high-rises, the different building typologies of Mies had one thing in common — a rigorous combination of functionalism and the rejection of traditional spatial systems. He often broke barriers with his uncompromising approach, minimizing structural supports and relying heavily on the use of glass for enclosure. This allowed him to create flexible, open-plan spaces that blurred the lines between a building’s interior and exterior.
Aside from iconic skyscrapers like the Seagram Building, the architect’s penchant for glass panes was perhaps most prominent in rectilinear, low-rise buildings like the Barcelona Pavilion and the Farnsworth House. This architectural style — characterized by the implementation of strong horizontal and vertical planes — continues to influence the aesthetic language of countless contemporary architects. The following seven buildings are projects that emanate the spirit of Mies van der Rohe and this timeless architectural style.
The different façades of this home vary in shape and glazing. The reflective glazing on one side provides privacy from the exterior while forming an immersive experience with the surrounding nature from the interior.
The enclosed natural wood and concrete façade creates an element of surprise at the back of this home, where walls of glass and continuous patio blur the line between outside and inside.
Shallow steps to the front porch emanate Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House. The wooden paneling on the roof and floor continues into the home, completing a natural look composed of simple planes.
The façades of the Makkinga House are dynamic, alternating from entirely exposed windows to closed planes.
Two horizontal planes form both outdoor and indoor space under one roof. The vertical plane of windows is unexpectedly broken with a curved segment that creates a new kind of experience.
Nestled in the hilly landscape, this glass home opens up to frame the mountains while concrete walls create private corridors.
Moveable screens dispersed throughout a ribbon of glass walls allow the user to control views and privacy.
Additional reporting by Paul Keskeys