MIES . L. Hilberseimer: MIES VAN DER ROHE. Chicago: Paul Theobald and Company, 1956.

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L. Hilberseimer

L[udwig Karl]. Hilberseimer: MIES VAN DER ROHE. Chicago: Paul Theobald and Company, 1956. First edition. Charcoal cloth decorated in gray. Photo illustrated dust jacket. 200 pp. 187 black-and-white illustrations. Book designed by William Fleming. Architectural historian’s bookplates to front endpapers. Edgeworn jacket with chipping to both edges. A very good or better copy in a good dust jacket.

"Form, by itself, does not exist. — Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

8.5 x 11 hard cover book with 200 pages and 187 black-and-white illustrations. From the first chapter: Mies van der Rohe "is an artist — not a designer, not an inventor of everchanging forms, but a true master builder. His architecture emerges from the nature of the material and is the embodiment of truth and harmony. Its beauty, to use S. Augustine's words, is the splendor of truth."


  • Architecture
  • New Structures
  • Material and Structure
  • A New Architectural Language
  • Houses and Apartment Buildings
  • Commercial Buildings
  • Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago
  • Public Buildings

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe [1886 – 1969]  began his career in architecture in Berlin, working as an architect first in the studio of Bruno Paul and then, like Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius, for Peter Behrens. In 1927, a housing project called Weissenhof Siedlung in Stuttgart, Germany, would bring these names together again. Widely believed to be one of the most notable projects in the history of modern architecture, it includes buildings by Gropius, Corbu, Behrens, Mies and others.

“Not yesterday, not tomorrow, only today can be given form.”

In 1928, Mies and his companion and colleague, the designer and Bauhaus alumna Lilly Reich, were asked to design the German Pavilion for the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona. The purpose of the Pavilion was to provide a location that could be visited by the king and queen of Spain during the opening of the Exposition. With that in mind, Mies designed a modern throne – known today as the Barcelona® Chair – for their majesties. In the following year, Mies designed another notable chair, the Brno, with a gravity-defying cantilevered base.

“Instead of trying to solve the new problems with old forms, we should develop the now forms from the very nature of the new problems.”

In 1930, Mies succeeded Walter Gropius as the director of the Bauhaus, where he stayed until the school closed in 1933. In 1937, Mies emigrated from Europe to the United States, and a year later became the director of architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology. The rest of his career was devoted to promoting the modernist style of architecture in the U.S., resulting in rigorously modern buildings such as the Farnsworth House and the Seagram Building, designed with Philip Johnson.

"Reinforced concrete structures are skeletons by nature. No gingerbread. No fortress. Columns and girders eliminate vearing walls. This is skin and bone construction”.

The modern city, with its towers of glass and steel, can be at least in part attributed to the influence of architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Equally significant, if smaller in scale, is Mies’ daring design of furniture, pieces that exhibit an unerring sense of proportion, as well as minimalist forms and exquisitely refined details. In fact, his chairs have been called architecture in miniature – exercises in structure and materials that achieve an extraordinary visual harmony as autonomous pieces and in relation to the interiors for which they were designed.

Ludwig Karl Hilberseimer (1885–1967) was a German architect and urban planner best known for his ties to the Bauhaus and to Mies van der Rohe, as well as for his work in urban planning at Armour Institute of Technology (now Illinois Institute of Technology), in Chicago, Illinois.

Hilberseimer studied architecture at the Karlsruhe Technical University from 1906 to 1910. He left before completing a degree. Afterward he worked in the architectural office Behrens and Neumark. Until 1914 he was coworker in the office of Heinz Lassen in Bremen. Later he led the planning office for Zeppelinhallenbau in Berlin Staaken. Beginning in 1919 he was member of the Arbeitsrat für Kunst and November Group, worked as independent architect and town planner and published numerous theoretical writings over art, architecture and town construction.

In 1929 Hilberseimer was hired by Hannes Meyer to teach at the Bauhaus at Dessau, Germany. In July 1933 Hilberseimer and Wassily Kandinsky were the two members of the Bauhaus that the Gestapo identified as problematically left-wing. Like many members of the Bauhaus, he fled Germany for America. He arrived in 1938 to work for Mies van der Rohe in Chicago while heading the department of urban planning at IIT College of Architecture. Hilberseimer also became director of Chicago's city planning office.

Street hierarchy was first elaborated by Ludwig Hilberseimer in his book City Plan, 1927. Hilberseimer emphasized safety for school-age children to walk to school while increasing the speed of the vehicular circulation system.

Beginning in 1929 at the Bauhaus, Hilberseimer developed studies concerning town construction for the decentralization of large cities. Against the background of the economic and political fall of the Weimar Republic he developed a universal and global adaptable planning system (The new town center, 1944), which planned a gradual dissolution of major cities and a complete penetration of landscape and settlement. He proposed that in order to create a sustainable relationship between humans, industry, and nature, human habitation should be built in a way to secure all people against all disasters and crises.

His most notable built project is Lafayette Park, Detroit, an urban renewal project designed in cooperation with architect Mies van der Rohe and landscape architect Alfred Caldwell.