Modernist architect and Bauhaus director
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is considered one of the pioneers of modern architecture. He held influential academic positions in Germany and the USA, and led an internationally successful architecture firm.
Mies van der Rohe was born in 1886 in Aachen, on the western border of Germany. He never studied architecture at a university but instead received his education in the architectural offices of Bruno Paul and Peter Behrens. In Behrens’s office in Berlin, where he stayed from 1908 until 1912, Mies van der Rohe worked alongside other pioneers of modern architecture such as Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier.
After World War I, Mies van der Rohe became a leading figure within the German architectural avant-garde. He was a central member of the Werkbund and organized the famous Weissenhof Estate exhibition in 1927, which showed model modern housing projects. His buildings, like the German Pavilion for the 1928 World Exhibition in Barcelona, were widely recognized as examples of a new and modern architectural style. In 1930, Mies van der Rohe became the last director of theBauhaus, the architecture and design school founded by Gropius in 1919. He remained in this position until the school was closed down by the Nazis in 1933.
Mies van der Rohe immigrated to the United States in 1937. He was offered a position at the Armour Institute of Technology, which later was renamed Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). Shortly after his arrival in the United States, he provided his former colleague Ludwig Hilberseimer, who had been teaching city planning at the Bauhaus, with an opportunity to leave Germany and teach in Chicago. In addition to his academic role, Mies van der Rohe was the head of an internationally successful architecture firm.