A biography of the pioneer architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and his contributions to modern architecture.

Essay by jlcucaUniversity, Master'sA, November 2002

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Ask anyone to name a great modern architect and a few names will come up repeatedly. One of these people is Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. As one of the brilliant architects of the twentieth century, he made huge strides in the field of architecture and opened many doors for future designers. Never meaning to draw publicity to his ideas or himself, his ability to produce architectural statements of such overwhelming precision and simplicity created a major revelation in society. Throughout his life, Mies encountered many circumstances that influenced his style and characteristics as a building designer. During the eighty-three years of his life, each event slowly culminated to his mastery of the world of modern architecture.

Ludwig Mies was born in Aachen, Germany in 1886. He lived there for twenty years with his parents. His father worked as a mason and gave Mies a sufficient knowledge of building materials.

Although he was only given rudimentary schooling as a child, at age nineteen Mies had acquired more valid knowledge than many architects would have after years of training and apprenticeship. He described his education as follows: "I had no conventional architectural education. I worked under a few good architects. I read a few good books. That's about it." Mies' early life was average in all aspects; however, the one trait that set him apart from all others and led him to historic prominence was his will of enormous proportions.

In 1905, Mies moved with his family to Berlin. There he worked for Bruno Paul, an art-nouveau architect and furniture designer. This earned Mies his first architectural commission at age twenty-one, the Riehl House. Two years later, he joined Peter Behren's design practice where he met master architects Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier. During his time with Behren, Mies assisted...