Photo: Hedrich Blessing

The discipline of architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology is as old as the school itself. In 1895, the Armour Institute (IIT’s predecessor institution) and the Art Institute merged their architecture offerings into the Chicago School of Architecture of Armour Institute. The program produced generations of influential architects who built Chicago, including Louis Millet, Daniel Burnham, John Root, and William Le Baron Jenney.

In the mid-twentieth century IIT became a global center of modernism under the leadership of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Mies—who had directed the renowned Bauhaus in Germany—became head of architecture at IIT in 1938. He developed a carefully thought-out curriculum that was to become standard pedagogy: students first learned to draw, then mastered the use of building materials, and finally learned the fundamental principles of construction before undertaking building design.

Within a year of Mies’s arrival, he was commissioned to design an innovative master plan for the IIT campus. The result was chosen as one of the top 200 architectural achievements in the United States. Mies conceived the showpiece of the campus, S. R. Crown Hall, as the ideal home for the study of architecture. The building became a National Historic Landmark in 2001. Because of IIT’s commitment to maintaining, renewing, and renovating its historic Main Campus, which houses the largest collection of Mies buildings anywhere, the university’s academic campus was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.


Mies van der Rohe Society
IIT Campus Architecture

In 2005, the entire academic campus of IIT was added to the National Register of Historic Places.