• Mies
    Detlef Mertins
    Phaidon, 2014
    Detlef Mertins

Mies, wearing glasses and reading, with model of new IBM building in background, ca. 1969–71. Courtesy of the Phaidon and Chicago History Museum.

This monograph on the German-American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969) draws together the latest scholarship and offers a fresh understanding of Mies's career by exploring his engagement as an autodidact and a designer with some of the most significant cultural and intellectual currents of his time. The most familiar aspects of this context are examined with new depth and from new perspectives, while less familiar philosophical, theological, and scientific points of reference nourish a more complex and nuanced understanding of Modernism as a whole. Crucial to the story is a copious image collection that not only reexamines the Mies we think we know but also provides vivid encounters with underexplored interlocutors and antecedents.

Detlef Mertins (1954-2011) was an architect, historian, and professor at the University of Pennsylvania. He was editor of the English edition of Walter Curt Behrendt's The Victory of the New Building Style (Getty Publications, 2000), The Presence of Mies (Princeton Architectural Press, 1994), Metropolitan Mutations: The Architecture of Emerging Public Spaces (The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, 1988).