The Mies Memorial Library Architecture Competition for Students took place between October 2021 and February 2022, bringing together students from all around the world to imagine how the life and works of Mies van der Rohe could be honored at the IIT campus
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We would like to specially thank all those universities around the world who made this competition part of their curriculum
Becoming the director of the Bauhaus would have been the pick of a career for many architects, however, for Mies it was only the beginning. By the time the Nazis forced the Bauhaus to close, he had already designed such iconic buildings as the Barcelona Pavilion or the Tugendhat House, yet some of his best works were still to come.
Mies left Germany and emigrated to the US in 1937, looking for a more favorable environment to develop his ideas and push architecture forward to meet the standards of modern society and the modern world.
Mies believed his ideas could be translated into an architectural language that could objectively be taught and learned, and that this language could be applied, and give an appropriate solution, to any type of building.
Spoken languages have dictionaries, and in the case of Mies’s architectural language, we have thousands of drawings, sketches, models, letters, articles and more, each a small but crucial piece when it comes to fully understanding his life, his work, his vision, and his legacy.
Mies’s drawings, letters and articles are all well preserved. He made sure himself by donating over eighteen thousand pieces of his work to the Museun of Modern Art (MoMA). Other collections of his works also live at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Library of Congress in Washington D.C, at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in Montreal or inside de Crown Hall itself at the IIT.
All these pieces are safe and sound. However, there’s a difference between preservation and celebration, and we believe Mies’s work deserve to be celebrated.
For the sake of this challenge, we are going to consider that the IIT is planning to make a move to bring many of those pieces back to its campus to establish the new “Mies Memorial Library”. A building not only meant to preserve, but also to celebrate the life, works and contributions of one of the founding fathers of modern architecture. A building that will look into the future without forgetting the past. A building capable of encouraging young architects to be ambitious and remind the established ones to never settle. A building which this challenge, if you choose to do so, invites you to envision and design.