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Mies van der Rohe: A look back at the architect’s trailblazing career

A modernist icon

Modernist architect Mies van der Rohe is best known for his minimalist, clean-line architecture, summed up in his iconic catchphrase “Less is More.” That phrase would act as his guiding principle for all the buildings he designed, from the Farnsworth House to the Seagram building. Minimalism dominates his architecture.

Perhaps a surprising note to all Mies lovers: The architect never had any formal training. He had his start in the masonry business before becoming an architect’s apprentice. His first commission, at the age of 21, was the Riehl House.

Once his career started booming, he adopted the name we all know today, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, which is a combination of his father’s and mother’s surnames. Mies famously once said, “I don’t want to be interesting. I want to be good.”