Jun 7th 2024

Two New Books Delve Into the World of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is the architect of Illinois Institute of Technology’s modern campus and a wave of iconic buildings in Chicago and beyond. College of Architecture Professor Michelangelo Sabatino’s latest publications focus on the legendary architect, from a standout project to an anthology that gathers Mies’ writings, speeches, and interviews.

The Edith Farnsworth House, completed in 1951 and a crowning achievement in Mies’ portfolio, is the focus of Sabatino’s recently released The Edith Farnsworth House: Architecture, Preservation, Culture. It highlights the extraordinary commission from Farnsworth on a site along the Fox River, located 60 miles south of Chicago in Plano, Illinois. The lavishly illustrated monograph charts the house’s original design, periods of neglect and flooding, and new ownership over the years. Opened to the general public in May 2004, the National Trust for Historic Preservation runs the site and ensures that the celebrated modern home is open to architecture enthusiasts.

Mies in His Own Words, Sabatino’s second recent publication, gathers writings, speeches, and interviews from 1922 to Mies’ death in 1969. By including both written and spoken words, Sabatino and co-editor Vittorio Pizzigoni reveal how Mies was able to extend his influence well beyond the classroom and profession to reach a general audience.

“Mies struggled to master the English language for years. His accent is noticeable in the audio from period recordings,” Sabatino says. “He would gradually discover the power of the spoken word and the power of silence—especially important for teaching his students. In many photos of Mies, attentive students and colleagues surround the famed architect while standing in his masterpiece, S. R. Crown Hall.”