If you search the web, you’ll find lots of articles telling you fun and interesting facts about Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. And yes, you can go to them and inform yourself. However, we’ve rounded down the 5 most important aspects of his character and his career.
The influential Bauhaus designer was born in the great kingdom of Prussia in 1886, in Aachen (present day Germany). He passed away in Chicago in 1969, at 83 years old. His love for America flourished after World War II.
- He didn’t have any formal studies in architecture
What makes Mies so interesting is the fact that he never formally studied architecture. Of course, it wasn’t like he didn’t know anything, the interesting thing is that he practiced everything he knew through design and work itself. He started as an apprentice and developed his own style through the years, one that would (in turn) be taught as basic knowledge in every architecture school around the globe.
- He put his abilities to use in World War I
Not many people see Mies as a fighter, though of course most people living at the time didn’t have any choice. He enlisted at the beginning of the war and helped to build bridges, roads, and other utilitarian structures. When seeing the German remnants of the war one can’t help but wonder if Mies helped build some of them.
- His name is made up
This is one of those things you definitely need to know about Mies. The kind of line that you throw at parties to make yourself seem more knowledgeable (because it works). Choosing weird monikers is an integral part of being an artist (look up Pablo Neruda’s real name, you’ll be surprised). He was born Maria Ludwig Michael Mies (a last name that means “lousy”). He added the honorific “van der” (son of) from the Netherlands, and Rohe, his mother’s maiden name.
- He made his first professional design in less than an hour
Mies got his first architecture job by famously drawing a building façade in under one hour. His boss at the time was trying to come up with an original design, and he had spent weeks working on possible ideas. When he asked Mies for help, he sketched a perfect prototype for the boss’ ideas. Needless to say, he was hired on the spot.
- He signed a motion supporting Hitler
A lot of artists and influential figures from complicated times in history usually try to stay in the gray areas of politics. We really don’t know if Mies was a nazi, though many would argue it doesn’t matter. However, he did sign a motion in support of Hitler’s nazi party in 1934. And that is a fact. The rest is optics.