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By GGili

Francesco and Manuel Aires Mateus have a massive and welldeserved position this day at the modern Portoguese structure scene...

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8). Mies’s architectural project springs from, and leads to, the philosophical contemplation of life in modern times, the search for ideas informing and redeeming the specific historical experience of western civilization in the twentieth century. His 38 Mertins 02BMies 3/4/95 2:59 PM Page 39 curtain wall bespeaks neither a utopian projection, nor even the harmonious resolution of art and technology — both of which have often been ascribed to Mies’s work. Rather, it leads the observer to a melancholic contemplation of the “idea” of “the modern” arising from the acceptance of a condition resolutely divided from nature, a contemplation of black furnaces producing intense heat and light along with new artificial materials, of the infinite horizon of steel rails and telephone lines, of the elemental units produced by machines and for machines, of the rhythmic repetition of the assembly line and the extension of its rationality into every aspect of metropolitan life, including, as Siegfried Kracauer already observed in 1927, the realm of mass entertainment (fig.

15. Siegfried Kracauer, “The Mass Ornament,” (1927) New German Critique, no. 5, Spring 1975, pp. 67–76, translated by Barbara Cornell and Jack Zipes. 40 Mertins 02BMies 3/4/95 2:59 PM Page 41 1. Mies van der Rohe, Toronto-Dominion Centre. Night photograph of building under construction, 1965. Photo Metropolitan Photos. 41 Mertins 02BMies 3/4/95 2:59 PM Page 42 2. Mies van der Rohe, Glass Skyscraper, 1922, Berlin. Elevation (schematic). 3. Photograph of a grain silo in South America from the photo collection of Walter Gropius.

6 The Esters and Lange houses in Krefeld of 1927–29 make clear that the new spatial freedom in Mies’s architecture owed as much to technology and modern construction as to the reinterpretation of the Schinkel villa, to which Behrens had introduced Mies around 1910. These houses are brick buildings, which, in spite of their abstract modern formal language, appear extremely heavy, even monumental. The spatial organization, however, in which the individual rooms project outwards from the core like the open drawers of a cabinet, offered a degree of openness and complexity that would be characteristic of subsequent projects, such as the Tugendhat House and the Barcelona Pavilion.

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2G Aires Mateus by GGili


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