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Virtual Tour: Mies van der Rohe's Unbuilt 1930s Island Home

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The unrealized Hubbe House was an early experiment in court house design

The architecture of Mies van der Rohe doesn’t exactly scream island living. But a dig through his archive of unrealized work suggests he may have come closer to creating such a dwelling than you might have thought. Designed a few years before he would emigrate to the United States, the architect’s unbuilt 1935 Hubbe House would have graced a German island with one of the modern master’s sleek, steel-framed residences. The last house he designed for a specific client in Germany, it was initially meant for a secluded plot in the middle of the Elbe River, near a suburb of Magdeburg, Germany. The unlikely location, Elb-Insel, would prove to play a role in the development of Mies’s style.

While examining the site, an urbanized island with a number of other buildings, the architect found the view to the south to be "utterly without charm, almost a disturbance," and decided to block it from sight with a garden courtyard, which would at least let in sunlight. The addition and home were never constructed, since the client, Margarete Hubbe, who had inherited the roughly two-acre island plot and initially wanted to create a waterfront home, sold the land before it was built. Mies’s garden addition to his preliminary sketches marks one of his early experiments with incorporating a courtyard into his work, a feature found on many of his proposed homes in the ‘30s, as well as the landmarked Lemke House in Berlin (1933), and later utilized for one-story townhomes in Detroit’s Lafayette Park development.

This virtual tour was created by Archilogic, a firm that specializes in creating 3D models for architecture and real estate, and allows users to upload floorplans and create their own virtual tours. Check out their tours of unbuilt Frank Lloyd Wright projects, including the Ralph Jester House and the Dr. Hugh Pratt Home. Recently, Archilogic officially released spaces.archilogic.com, which allows users to create their own virtual tours by signing up here.

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