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Mies van der Rohe and the Poetry of Purpose

by Ben Cosgrove
LIFE celebrates a visionary who said of his stark, gorgeous designs: "Romantics don't like my buildings. They say they are cold and rigid. But we do not build for fun. We build for a purpose."
  • Sarah Cook

    Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe peers between two large models of ultra-modern apartment buildings he designed for Chicagos Lake Shore Drive, 1956.

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Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe peers between two large models of ultra-modern apartment buildings he designed for Chicago's Lake Shore Drive, 1956.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, architect, 1956. | Architect Mies van der Rohe and the Poetry of Purpose | LIFE.com

The caption that originally accompanied this image when it ran in LIFE: "Reflections mirrored in glass wall of an apartment building on Lake Shore Drive building merge like a mirage with outside view of companion building and the lights of traffic."

I'm into this . . . the layout does it for me, and the content is, well, about Mies. win win.

Rebuilt Barcelona Pavilion in Barcelona, Spain. Originally for the World Fair of 1929. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Celebrating Mies van der Rohe

Happy Birthday Mies van der Rohe! The Farnsworth House is a little bit of Heaven on Earth - and you can rent it for parties...

Beautiful sober view of the back wall of the Barcelona Pavilion by Mies van der Rohe. Photo by 010lab.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) | Edith Farnsworth Residence | Plano, Illinois | 1946-1951 | CGI Architectural Visualization by Peter Guthrie – 2006