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Sample essays :: Architecture
Architecture

Seagram building

The name Ludwig Mies van der Rohe came from Germany, where the well-known architect was born in 1886. His family had their stone-carving business and in the year 1908 he entered the studio of Peter Behrens. His approach as an architect he developed under the influence of advanced structural techniques and Prussian Classicism.

One of his most famous works is the Seagram Building, which is a skyscraper in New -York. It was created in 1958 and was called "a 38-story icon of corporate International Modernism". It was designed for the distillers Joseph Seagram's&Sons. This building was one of the first skyscrapers. The open place in front of the building was not to become some gathering place, but it was really popular later used exactly for this purpose. This building looks like a simple huge black box and it did influence the development of American architecture greatly. The International style, it was built in, has some certain features, like for example - the structure of the building is usually expressed externally, the idea of the architect was that the structural elements of the building should be visible. The Seagram building was made of a steel frame and non- structural glass walls. Mies wanted to show these steel frames to everybody, but they were covered with fireproof material instead. To support his idea the architect had to use non-structural bronze I- beams. One could see them from outside and they are placed vertically in the huge glass windows. Another important component of the building was its window blinds. International style is usually characterized by complete regularity and when the blinds on the windows on the front side were drawn this caused irregularity in appearance of the building. As different people usually draw blinds to different highs, Mies didn't like this idea and his windows worked only in three positions – fully open, halfway and open/closed. In the whole the building has more classic elements, like symmetry of the massing on the raised plaza and the tripartite division of the tower into base, shaft and capital. Another well-known building connected with the name of this architect was German Pavilion. The most unusual features of the building were his simple rectangular plan combined with lack of corners and anything that would give you the feeling that you are in a box. The doors are in the form of two halves and made of glass, they rotate "not about hinges at their edges, but about a pivot in the floor and ceiling a few inches from the edge", and the walls are of marble and travertine. In this case Mies also applied his famous motto " less is more", and the simple emptiness of the Pavilion is considered to be a kind of revolutionary feature.


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