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Mapping Mies van der Rohe's Most Important Buildings

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An influential early modernist, one time director of the Bauhaus, and developer of the International Style, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe would have turned 129 today, had he not passed away in 1969, of course. By way of celebration, there's a map of his seminal works below, but let's kick things off with a few fun facts. Did you know that the great master's first name was originally Maria? Or that he adopted the patrician-sounding "van der Rohe," but was forced to use the Dutch spelling, as "von" was restricted to true German aristocrats? Or that he is he rumored to have carried on an affair with Edith Farnsworth, the woman who commissioned one of Mies' great houses? Or that she later sued the architect for making the place so damn impractical? No? Well there's plenty more to learn about Mies—and his work, this time—on the map below.

—additional research by Alexandra Danna and Jenny Xie


· All Mies van der Rohe coverage [Curbed National]

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1. Urbig House

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Virchowstraße 23
14482 Potsdam, Germany

After apprenticing for renowned German architects Bruno Paul and Peter Behrens as a teenager, Mies drew commissions for several impressive, but traditionally styled, mansions. This one, the 1917 Urbig House, was slated to receive a flat roof before the client balked and demanded this traditional hip roof.

2. Afrikanische Straße

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Afrikanische Straße 39
13351 Berlin, Germany

When millionaires didn't approve of Mies' early moves toward minimalism, he turned to this public housing project. Designed in 1925 to fill Berlin's growing need for middle-class housing, these apartment blocks have been altered somewhat, but remain standing.

3. Weißenhofsiedlung

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Am Weißenhof 16
70191 Stuttgart, Germany

In 1927, Mies and 17 other architects designed more than 20 buildings for a vast housing estate in Stuttgart, part of the Deutscher Werklund exhibition. Due in part to Allied bombing during World War II, only eleven of the structures survive today, including houses 1-4, done by Mies.

4. Barcelona Pavillion

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Avenida Frances Ferrer i Guardia, 7
08038 Barcelona, Spain

Mies' big break came with the design for the German Pavilion at the 1929 World's Fair, held in Barcelona. Today commonly known as the Barcelona Pavilion, it was intended to be a temporary demonstration of Mies' architectural ideals, and thus was demolished in 1930. In the '80s, an exacting replica was rebuilt on the same site. (The famous Barcelona Chair was introduced as part of the original exposition.)

5. Lange and Esters Houses

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Wilhelmshofallee 91
47800 Krefeld, Germany

With his celebrity growing, Mies once again began to receive high-end residential commissions, like this pair of brick mansions, built for industrialists Hermann Lange and Josef Esters in 1930. A habitual line-stepper, Mies tried to create a completely open floorplan, but the clients demanded doors to separate the rooms.

6. Bauhaus Berlin

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Birkbuschstraße 49
12167 Berlin, Germany

In 1930, Mies agreed to take the directorship of the Bauhaus school and, facing pressure from Nazis in Dessau, moved the school to this derelict factory in Berlin. The students renovated the space at Mies' direction, but it survived only ten months before the Nazis were swept to national power.

7. Villa Tugendhat

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Černopolní 237/45
613 00 Brno-Brno-sever, Czech Republic

Completed in Czechoslovakia in 1930, the Villa Tugendhat is today listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and recently underwent an extensive two-year renovation. Mies designed the house as well as most of the furnishings, including the Tugendhat Chair, in production to this day.

8. Lemke House

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Oberseestraße 60
13053 Berlin, Germany

The last house Mies designed for Germany before emigrating to the United States in 1938, the Lemke House was completed in 1933 and the Lemke family lived there until forced out by the Soviets in 1945. It later served as a janitor's house for the East German secret police. Today, it has been renovated into gallery space.

9. Illinois Institute of Technology

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3300 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616

Soon after his arrival in the U.S., the Illinois Institute of Technology, then known as The Armour Institute, tapped Mies to design a new campus. The architect later built six buildings of his own design, before he was dismissed as architect. Several more buildings were added according to his master plan by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

10. Promontory Apartments

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5530 South Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637

Not short on ambition, Mies tackled his first residential high-rise building in 1949, while still in the thick of the IIT design. Known as the Promentory Apartments, the building is also the first example of an International Style tower in the U.S.

11. Farnsworth House

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14520 River Road
Plano, IL 60545

Designed for Dr. Edith Farnsworth in 1947, the now-legendary Farnsworth House would not be completed until 1951 and was mired in lawsuits and disputes between architect and owner for years. Nonetheless, it is one of the shining examples of American modernism.

12. Lakeshore Apartments

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880 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611

A pair of steel-fronted towers that serve as a preamble to Mies' iconic Seagram Building in New York, Chicago's Lakeshore Apartments have recently undergone an extensive facade restoration. Considered extremely minimalist upon completion, the towers have since served as the basis for a whole class of glass-and-steel skyscrapers.

13. S.R. Crown Hall

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3368 South State Street
Chicago, IL 60616

The capstone of Mies' tenure as director of IIT's Department of Architecture, Crown Hall is among the architect's masterpieces and was named a historic landmark in 2001. The construction of this monumental building was beset by fire and delays, and probably led to Mies' dismissal as director.

14. Seagram Building

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375 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10152

Completed in 1958 on Park Avenue in NYC, Mies' Seagram Building set the tone for skyscraper construction for years to come. A simple glass box set back from the street, the Seagram also featured interiors from fellow starchitect Philip Johnson.

15. Lafayette Park

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1301 Orleans Street
Detroit, MI 48207

Built on the site of a slum and intended to prevent middle-class flight to the suburbs, this 78-acre complex is today one of the cheapest places to score a Mies-designed pad. A mix of high-rises, townhouses, and coveted garden flats known as "court houses," units here start at $500 per month, while a three-bed townhome was recently listed for $130K.

16. Neue Nationalgalerie

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Potsdamer Straße 50
10785 Berlin, Germany

Opened in 1968, a year before Mies passed away, the New National Gallery cantilevers a primary exhibit hall over a glassy central pavilion. The characteristic open interior space defies the traditional, heavily-partitioned museum experience.

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1. Urbig House

Virchowstraße 23, 14482 Potsdam, Germany

After apprenticing for renowned German architects Bruno Paul and Peter Behrens as a teenager, Mies drew commissions for several impressive, but traditionally styled, mansions. This one, the 1917 Urbig House, was slated to receive a flat roof before the client balked and demanded this traditional hip roof.

Virchowstraße 23
14482 Potsdam, Germany

2. Afrikanische Straße

Afrikanische Straße 39, 13351 Berlin, Germany

When millionaires didn't approve of Mies' early moves toward minimalism, he turned to this public housing project. Designed in 1925 to fill Berlin's growing need for middle-class housing, these apartment blocks have been altered somewhat, but remain standing.

Afrikanische Straße 39
13351 Berlin, Germany

3. Weißenhofsiedlung

Am Weißenhof 16, 70191 Stuttgart, Germany

In 1927, Mies and 17 other architects designed more than 20 buildings for a vast housing estate in Stuttgart, part of the Deutscher Werklund exhibition. Due in part to Allied bombing during World War II, only eleven of the structures survive today, including houses 1-4, done by Mies.

Am Weißenhof 16
70191 Stuttgart, Germany

4. Barcelona Pavillion

Avenida Frances Ferrer i Guardia, 7, 08038 Barcelona, Spain

Mies' big break came with the design for the German Pavilion at the 1929 World's Fair, held in Barcelona. Today commonly known as the Barcelona Pavilion, it was intended to be a temporary demonstration of Mies' architectural ideals, and thus was demolished in 1930. In the '80s, an exacting replica was rebuilt on the same site. (The famous Barcelona Chair was introduced as part of the original exposition.)

Avenida Frances Ferrer i Guardia, 7
08038 Barcelona, Spain

5. Lange and Esters Houses

Wilhelmshofallee 91, 47800 Krefeld, Germany

With his celebrity growing, Mies once again began to receive high-end residential commissions, like this pair of brick mansions, built for industrialists Hermann Lange and Josef Esters in 1930. A habitual line-stepper, Mies tried to create a completely open floorplan, but the clients demanded doors to separate the rooms.

Wilhelmshofallee 91
47800 Krefeld, Germany

6. Bauhaus Berlin

Birkbuschstraße 49, 12167 Berlin, Germany

In 1930, Mies agreed to take the directorship of the Bauhaus school and, facing pressure from Nazis in Dessau, moved the school to this derelict factory in Berlin. The students renovated the space at Mies' direction, but it survived only ten months before the Nazis were swept to national power.

Birkbuschstraße 49
12167 Berlin, Germany

7. Villa Tugendhat

Černopolní 237/45, 613 00 Brno-Brno-sever, Czech Republic

Completed in Czechoslovakia in 1930, the Villa Tugendhat is today listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and recently underwent an extensive two-year renovation. Mies designed the house as well as most of the furnishings, including the Tugendhat Chair, in production to this day.

Černopolní 237/45
613 00 Brno-Brno-sever, Czech Republic

8. Lemke House

Oberseestraße 60, 13053 Berlin, Germany

The last house Mies designed for Germany before emigrating to the United States in 1938, the Lemke House was completed in 1933 and the Lemke family lived there until forced out by the Soviets in 1945. It later served as a janitor's house for the East German secret police. Today, it has been renovated into gallery space.

Oberseestraße 60
13053 Berlin, Germany

9. Illinois Institute of Technology

3300 South Federal Street, Chicago, IL 60616

Soon after his arrival in the U.S., the Illinois Institute of Technology, then known as The Armour Institute, tapped Mies to design a new campus. The architect later built six buildings of his own design, before he was dismissed as architect. Several more buildings were added according to his master plan by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.

3300 South Federal Street
Chicago, IL 60616

10. Promontory Apartments

5530 South Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60637

Not short on ambition, Mies tackled his first residential high-rise building in 1949, while still in the thick of the IIT design. Known as the Promentory Apartments, the building is also the first example of an International Style tower in the U.S.

5530 South Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60637

11. Farnsworth House

14520 River Road, Plano, IL 60545

Designed for Dr. Edith Farnsworth in 1947, the now-legendary Farnsworth House would not be completed until 1951 and was mired in lawsuits and disputes between architect and owner for years. Nonetheless, it is one of the shining examples of American modernism.

14520 River Road
Plano, IL 60545

12. Lakeshore Apartments

880 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60611

A pair of steel-fronted towers that serve as a preamble to Mies' iconic Seagram Building in New York, Chicago's Lakeshore Apartments have recently undergone an extensive facade restoration. Considered extremely minimalist upon completion, the towers have since served as the basis for a whole class of glass-and-steel skyscrapers.

880 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60611

13. S.R. Crown Hall

3368 South State Street, Chicago, IL 60616

The capstone of Mies' tenure as director of IIT's Department of Architecture, Crown Hall is among the architect's masterpieces and was named a historic landmark in 2001. The construction of this monumental building was beset by fire and delays, and probably led to Mies' dismissal as director.

3368 South State Street
Chicago, IL 60616

14. Seagram Building

375 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10152

Completed in 1958 on Park Avenue in NYC, Mies' Seagram Building set the tone for skyscraper construction for years to come. A simple glass box set back from the street, the Seagram also featured interiors from fellow starchitect Philip Johnson.

375 Park Avenue
New York, NY 10152

15. Lafayette Park

1301 Orleans Street, Detroit, MI 48207

Built on the site of a slum and intended to prevent middle-class flight to the suburbs, this 78-acre complex is today one of the cheapest places to score a Mies-designed pad. A mix of high-rises, townhouses, and coveted garden flats known as "court houses," units here start at $500 per month, while a three-bed townhome was recently listed for $130K.

1301 Orleans Street
Detroit, MI 48207

16. Neue Nationalgalerie

Potsdamer Straße 50, 10785 Berlin, Germany

Opened in 1968, a year before Mies passed away, the New National Gallery cantilevers a primary exhibit hall over a glassy central pavilion. The characteristic open interior space defies the traditional, heavily-partitioned museum experience.

Potsdamer Straße 50
10785 Berlin, Germany