Nothing better expresses Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's philosophy than S. R. Crown Hall, home to the College of Architecture, and a modern masterpiece that Time magazine calls "one of the world's most influential, inspiring and astonishing structures."
Designed by Mies in 1956, Crown Hall cohesively represents his architectural concepts and theories in their most complete and mature form. A National Historic Landmark, Crown Hall is a straightforward expression of construction and materiality, which allows the structure to transcend into art. Its refinement and innovation place it among the most distinguished buildings of its age and define its importance in the history of architecture.
The column-free open plan of the main floor of Crown Hall demonstrates Mies' innovative concept of creating universal space that can be infinitely adapted to changing use. Its expansive size of 120' x 220' feet in floor area, with a ceiling height of 18 feet, allows individual classes to be held simultaneously without disruption while maintaining creative interaction between faculty and students.
The roof of the building is suspended from the underside of four steel plate girders. The girders are themselves supported by eight exterior steel columns, spaced at 60 foot intervals. The interior is divided by free-standing oak partitions that demark spaces for classes, lectures and exhibits.
Tour groups regularly come and go.
The recent restoration of Crown Hall's exterior received the 2006 Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award for Project of the Year from Landmark Illinois, a 2006 Citation of Merit from AIA Chicago, and a 2005 Honor Award from Chicago Landmarks Commission.