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português
O texto trata sobre o projeto de teatro desenvolvido por Mies van der Rohe para exposição no Museu de Arte Moderna de Nova Iorque (MoMA NY) em 1947. Relacionando-o com projetos influentes posteriores e anteriores

english
The article brings the Theatre Project made by Mies van der Rohe to an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA NY) in 1947.


how to quote

COLOMBO, Luciana Fornari. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Theatre Project (1947). Arquitextos, São Paulo, year 16, n. 185.03, Vitruvius, oct. 2015 <https://pop.www.vitruvius.com.br/revistas/read/arquitextos/16.185/5782/en>.

Introduction

Many publications exist on the work of the renowned architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (Aachen, 1886 – Chicago, 1969). However, little attention has been given to the Theatre project that he designed and exhibited in 1947. In fact, publications have described this project through a few sentences or even omitted it all together (1). The present article addresses this research gap by exploring the context and the design theme of Mies's Theatre project, as well as its significance, remnant documentation, relationship to teaching, and influence.

Schematic sectional elevation, Theatre Project, 1947, L. Mies van der Rohe; 1: entrance hall, 2: technical facilities and foyer, 3: backstage; 4-5: stage, 6: seating area, 7: acoustic shell, 8: glass skin [Colombo, L. F., 2015. Orig.: MoMA NY]

Context and design theme: experiments in theatre architecture and in clear-span structure

By 1947, when Mies launched the Theatre project in his solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York – MoMA (2), he had never been commissioned to design a theatre. Thus, Mies's interest in the theme of the theatre was initially largely speculative. This interest had been awakened several years earlier (3), and it had been shared with architects of his acquaintance, such as Walter Gropius (4). Indeed, in the 1920s, the latter and other members of the Bauhaus developed projects to explore ways to modernise theatre architecture. Among these projects were Farkas Molnár's U-Theatre (1924), Andor Weininger's Spherical Theatre (1926), and Walter Gropius's Total Theatre (1926-1927) (5).

Total Theatre, 1926, Walter Gropius; 1: hall and foyer, 2: technical facilities, 3: backstage, 4: stage, 5: lifting and rotating stage or seating area, 6: seating area, 7: acoustic shell, 8: glass skin, 9: projection booth, 10: cyclorama [Colombo, L. F., 2015. Orig.: Harvard Art Museum]

 

Like the aforementioned projects, Mies's Theatre also introduced modern construction techniques into the ancient theatre typology to open up new possibilities for the art of drama. Yet, Mies's project differentiated itself by exploring more specifically the architectural possibilities of the large steel and glass hall completely free of interior columns. This modern clear-span building interested Mies because it reduced the number of constructional elements and maximised flexibility of internal arrangement, emerging as the most practical and economical way to build in a rapidly changing modern society (6). Besides such pragmatic advantages, this building type also interested Mies for its expressive and symbolic qualities. Mies regarded the large clear-span buildings as being representatives of the twentieth century in the same way Gothic cathedrals had represented the Middle Ages. This view was particularly reinforced by the industrial buildings that the architect Albert Kahn had been designing during the first half of the twentieth century because of their impersonal, precise, and efficient character as well as their impressively large spans. For example, the Glenn Martin Bomber Plant (1937, Middle River, Maryland, US) designed by Kahn contained a 90-metre (300-foot) clear-span that was by then the largest flat span ever constructed (7).

On a photograph of this ultramodern interior, Mies carried out an experiment with collage technique, in which he introduced a stage, an excavated seating area, and hung acoustic panels. In this manner, Mies replaced the original, war-related use of the building with a performance venue, giving to the building a more cultural, artistic, and public character. This experiment culminated in the Concert Hall (1940-1941), which was followed by other projects developed as an independent investigation. These projects aimed at expanding the use of the clear-span building beyond factories, exposition halls, and railway stations, that is, beyond the utilitarian purposes to which this building type had been restricted by convention. Besides the Concert Hall (1940-1941) and the Theatre (1947), among these speculative projects were the Museum for a Small City (1940-1943), the Convention Hall (1953-1954), and the Core House (1951-1952) (8).

Schematic interior perspective, Concert Hall, 1941-2, L. Mies van der Rohe; 1: hall and foyer, 2: seating area, 3: stage, 4-6: acoustic panels and shell, 7: glass skin [Colombo, L. F., 2015. Orig.: MoMA NY]

Schematic plans. Projects by L. Mies van der Rohe. a: Museum for a Small City, 1940-1943 (1: Auditorium); b: Core House, 1951-1952; c: Convention Hall, 1953-1954 [Colombo, L. F., 2015. Orig.: MoMA NY]

While these projects differed in scale and brief, most of them included an auditorium. In fact, such a large venue for public meetings and performances particularly demanded a clear-span structure to guarantee wide unobstructed views. For example, in the Museum for a Small City (1940-1943), the clear-span structure was restricted to the auditorium, which occupied only a fraction of the floor area. In the Theatre (1947), on the other hand, the auditorium occupied most of the floor area, and the clear-span structure was expanded to contain the whole building. This latter possibility was ultimately explored at a monumental scale in the Convention Hall (1953-1954), whose 220-metre (720-foot) clear-span produced a powerful expression of modernity.

Unlike these large cultural buildings, the private dwelling not only lacked an auditorium but also tended to contain small secluded spaces that made the clear-span structure dispensable. Still, Mies experimented with this structure at the domestic scale through the Core House (1951-1952). In this project, the clear-span structure permitted Mies to distil more profoundly the essence of the dwelling and to achieve a highly flexible and elementary design. Such a house was expected to facilitate prefabricated construction and adaptation to the diverse lifestyles and changing needs of modern families. Yet, Mies was aware that the average family of that time would not readily adhere to this house idea because it confronted conventional standards of privacy (9).

In fact, from the small house to the monumental convention hall, Mies had been able to suit the clear-span structure to different briefs by conceiving each building as a neutral, adaptable steel and glass shell that contained a single large room visually integrated into its surroundings (10). This noteworthy spatial integration was possible because the interior space was only subtly subdivided according to functional demands by furniture, low lightweight partitions, curtains, and other alternative architectural elements that replaced the traditional floor to ceiling walls. Such an interior fluidity related to the 'open plan' idea (11) that Mies had been developing since the Brick Country House project of 1924. Arguably, the Miesian version of the clear-span building emerged precisely from the introduction of this novel type of plan into the modern clear-span structure.

Schematic plans. Projects by L. Mies van der Rohe. a: Brick Country House, 1924. b: Core House, 1951-1952 [Colombo, L. F., 2015. Orig.: MoMA NY]

Significance: expansion of Mies's clear-span building concept, and a unique vision of the modern theatre

Despite its clarity, this Miesian clear-span building concept was still unconventional and challenging even for projects that contained a large auditorium. For instance, besides such an auditorium, a theatre building also contained numerous and diverse technical facilities, whose rigid, pre-established arrangement had traditionally favoured a fragmented interior and few exterior openings. Mies's Theatre project of 1947 broke with this tradition when it reduced the number of construction elements, interior partitions, and opaque walls to the minimum necessary. For example, instead of walls, Mies used steps and changes in floor level to define the space of the foyer and auditorium. Thus, this project expanded further the applicability of Mies's clear-span building concept, demonstrating that this concept could also meet the architectural design brief for a theatre.

This project was also significant because it provided a unique vision of the modern theatre. While maintaining the traditional unidirectional seating, this project opened the auditorium to other interior spaces and visually integrated it into the exterior through large glass facades. Thus, this project substantially increased spatial continuity and visual openness in comparison with other indoor theatres. For example, in Walter Gropius's Total Theatre, cycloramas and opaque walls separated the seating area from the external glass skin. Mies's Theatre, on the other hand, was able to recapture more intensely the atmosphere of the ancient open-air theatre – including its strong integration into the dynamic surrounding landscape and into the community life - while guaranteeing convenient protection from the weather.

Remnant documentation: sketches and presentation collage

Being speculative and independent of a building commission, Mies's Theatre project involved few drawings. Remnant documentation includes some sketches (12), a large presentation collage that Mies prepared especially for his solo exhibition at MoMA in 1947 (13); and a smaller mock-up of this collage (14). In his sketches, Mies tested different ways to elevate the seating area, including the cantilevered solution that was eventually adopted. This configuration was new to Mies's work, as he had adopted excavated seating areas in the earlier Concert Hall and Museum projects.

Schematic sections, studies of the seating area structure, Theatre Project, 1947, L. Mies van der Rohe [Colombo, L. F., 2015. Orig.: MoMA NY]

In contrast with the small sketches, the large collage measures approximately 120 by 245 centimetres (48 by 96 inches). It shows a sectional elevation of Mies's Theatre and evokes the project’s essential ideas in a synthetic and compelling way. The deliberate omission of slabs, beams, and columns expresses the idea of a neutral shell containing a large free space, where partitions can be distributed at will independently of the structure. This sense of high flexibility is reinforced by the dynamic distribution of the partitions and by their floating appearance. Variations in shape convey different elements, which follow the traditional spatial sequence: foyer, seating area, stage, and backstage, with staff rooms below the elevated auditorium. Overall elements, including a hung acoustic shell, adhere to the background modulation. The yellow colour of this background indicates the illumination emanated from an extensive glass skin that ideally faces a park.

Relationship to teaching: further development through a student exercise

Still other documentation is available that strongly relates to Mies's Theatre of 1947, and thus can enrich the understanding of the ideas that this project sought to promote. This documentation includes the master's thesis ‘The Theatre: Historical Development and Present Possibilities’ that the Irish student Reginald Francis Malcolmson (1912-1992) developed at the Illinois Institute of Technology – IIT between 1947 and 1949 under Mies's supervision (15). The notable similarities between Mies's and Malcolmson's Theatre projects reflect Mies's teaching approach, which followed the master-apprentice model (16). Mies applied student exercises not only as a pedagogical tool but also as a research tool, that is, as an opportunity to test further and to refine relevant architectural ideas that he had been developing around the same time. Mies had been encouraging students to explore subtle variations of his own designs since the start of his teaching activities at the Bauhaus in 1930 through the courtyard house exercise (17). Later, at IIT, not only the Theatre, but also the Concert Hall (1940-1941), the Museum for a Small City(1940-1943), and the Convention Hall (1953-1954) projects were associated with a master's thesis supervised by Mies that addressed a similar theme. In the class of 1940-1941, Paul Campagna developed a master's thesis on the theme of the concert hall (18); between 1940 and 1943, George Danforth developed a master's thesis on the theme of the museum (19); and in the class of 1953-1954, Yujiro Miwa, Henry Kanazawa and Pao-Chi Chang developed the master's thesis 'A Conventional Hall, A Co-operative Project' (20).

Schematic sectional elevation, Theatre Project, 1947-9, Reginald F. Malcolmson; 1a-b: hall e foyer, 2: Technical facilities, 3: Backstage; 4-5: Stage; 6: Seating area; 7: Acoustic reflector; 8: Glass skin [Colombo, L. F., 2015. Orig.: University of Michigan Library]

Malcolmson had a well-established architectural practice in Ireland when he decided to move to Chicago to study under Mies and upgrade his expertise. Malcolmson arrived at IIT in October 1947 (21). By then, Mies had already concluded the Theatre collage for his solo exhibition at MoMA, which had started in September of that same year (22). In this context, Malcolmson's master's thesis would give Mies an opportunity to keep improving his ideas on the modern theatre. Malcolmson’s testimony confirms that his master's thesis was strongly influenced by Mies. Malcolmson explained that for a couple of weeks he was undecided as to what theme he wanted to develop, until Mies suggested the theme of theatre architecture. Similarly, Mies also encouraged the student's interest in the clear-span structure and in designing only with absolutely indispensable elements - the stage and the seating area - to which all additional elements were subordinated. Such a close guidance was facilitated as Mies supervised a small group of students, and Malcolmson showed enthusiasm for his teacher's ideas (23). Moreover, like other students, Malcolmson soon started to work as an assistant in Mies's architecture office (24), acquiring a dual role that further strengthened the fusion of teaching, research, and practice.

Like Mies, Malcolmson also used the collage technique to make a sectional elevation of his Theatre project (25). Mies's and Malcolmson's collages differ in size, texture, colour, and proportion, as well as in the number and position of their collaged elements. For example, Mies’s collage has a larger size, a longer acoustic shell, an outward-reaching entrance, and textures of marble, gold, and silver. In contrast, Malcolmson’s collage has smaller size - approximately 75 by 100 centimetres (30 by 40 inches) – and bright colours such as vermilion and yellow (26). Despite these differences, ultimately, these collages depict a similar idea: a glass shell containing a large space free of columns where auditorium and other facilities are dynamically distributed.

Malcolmson's theatre project contains additional documents, such as photographs of the model, plans, and a written statement; that complement the collage and further demonstrate Mies's influence. For example, while Malcolmson's collage also omits the structure, his model includes two external trusses covering the longest span - a device that Mies had already introduced in his Cantor Drive-in Restaurant project (1945-1950) (27). Similarly, Malcolmson’s written statement describes aims that Mies clearly endorsed, such as the use of modern construction technology to achieve greater spatial flexibility and to stimulate novel approaches to the art of drama. Malcolmson’s statement also explains architectural elements that Mies had previously included in his Theatre project. For example, the hung acoustic reflectors and absorbent panels were intended to liberate the walls from acoustic functions, and thus enhance spatial flexibility. Meanwhile, the glass skin was intended to visually extend the interior space into the surrounding landscape. Finally, the overall simplicity of forms was meant to concentrate the attention on the essence of the theatre: the play (28).

Schematic plans, Theatre Project, 1947-9, Reginald F. Malcolmson [Colombo, L. F., 2015. Orig.: Malcolmson, R.F., 1949]

Schematic exterior perspective, Theatre Project, 1947-9, Reginald F. Malcolmson [Colombo, L. F., 2015. Orig.: Malcolmson, R.F., 1949]

Malcolmson's oral history provides additional insights into Mies's ideas about the modern theatre. For example, Malcolmson explained that the elevation of the seating and stage areas was intended to establish an ascendant movement of the visitors through the staircases as a solemn and ceremonial act (29). Indeed, Mies had already been aware of this symbolic content attributed to the staircases several years earlier. His notebook of 1927-1928 contains various passages from Von heiligen Zeichen (Sacred Sings, 1922),(30) a book in which Romano Guardini argued, 'When the feet mount the steps, the whole man, including his spiritual substance, goes up with them. All ascension, all going up, if we will but give it thought, is motion in the direction of that high place where everything is great, everything made perfect' (31).

Influence: Mies van der Rohe's competition entry for the National Theatre in Mannheim (1952-1953)

In addition to Malcolmson's master's thesis, Mies's Theatre project of 1947 also notably influenced the National Theatre that Mies designed for the city of Mannheim. In 1952, Mies was invited to participate in the competition for this National Theatre, which was one of the most important post-war reconstruction projects in Germany. While designing his competition entry, Mies largely benefited from the speculative ideas that he had prepared in 1947. These ideas became even more helpful as Mies was constrained by a tight submission deadline, and involved with other notable projects, such as the Crown Hall and the Convention Hall. Among the ideas that Mies retrieved from his earlier Theatre project were the clear-span shell made of steel and glass, the integrated and flexibly arranged interior, the elevated auditorium, the cantilevered seating area, the outward-reaching entrance, and the combination of polished noble materials. Mies also retrieved the large steel trusses supported on external columns that he had previously used in the Cantor Drive-in Restaurant project.

Schematic plans and section, National Theatre, Mannheim, 1952-1953, L. Mies van der Rohe [Colombo, L. F., 2015. Orig.: MoMA NY]

Schematic exterior perspective, National Theatre, Mannheim, 1952-1953, L. Mies van der Rohe [Colombo, L. F., 2015. Orig.: Chicago History Museum]

Yet, Mies still had to detail these ideas further to demonstrate their technical and constructional feasibility to the competition jury. He also had to include the additional facilities that were specified in the competition brief, such as the second smaller auditorium. Mies's National Theatre project emerged from this detailing process as an even more convincing demonstration that his clear-span building concept could accommodate diverse uses in a flexible way (33).

Besides a complete set of technical drawings, Mies's project also included a large model and a written statement, which summarised his view on how the modern theatre could be. He explained that his project was arranged over two floors to  accommodate the stages and seating areas  more conveniently, and to separate the technical production from the artistic production. Mies placed the technical production - which included stages, workshops and storage rooms - in the upper floor. Meanwhile, the lower floor sheltered the artistic production, which included the administration, dressing room, costume storage, rehearsal, lounge, counter, cafeteria, kitchen, delivery, garage, and elevator. This complicated spatial organism was covered with a huge steel and glass shell; and defined with lightweight, fire-proof internal partitions. Mies dispensed with these partitions in the auditorium, side galleries, and foyer to integrate the latter into a single large, continuous space that was envisioned as 'an imposing and festive hall' (34).

Being approximately 81 metres (266 feet) wide, 162 metres (533 feet) long, and 12 metres (40 feet) high (35), Mies's National Theatre was imposing indeed. This large hall, which occupied a whole city block, impressed the jury (36), and Mies was invited to participate in the second stage of the competition. Yet, despite his great interest in this project, Mies declined the invitation (37). In fact, he had already clearly presented his proposal, and a second submission would involve only minor changes (38). To Mies, major revisions could be made solely in close collaboration with theatre experts (39).

Finally, another National Theatre project was selected and built: the project designed by Gerhard Weber, a German architect who had been Mies's student at the Bauhaus (40) and who entered the competition in its second stage (41). In his design, Weber included architectural elements that Mies had previously proposed during the first stage of the  competition, such as the externalised columns. Still, Weber's design considerably differed from Mies's, for example, in the disposition of opaque and transparent walls. Mies's design had a predominantly opaque ground floor and a transparent glass skin on upper floors; whereas Weber's design had a more transparent ground floor and predominantly opaque upper floors. Thus, Weber's design was more conventionally enclosed and compartmented.

National Theatre, Mannheim, 1955-7, Gerhard Weber
Foto/Photo Rudolf Stricker, 2012 [Wikimedia Commons]

National Theatre, Mannheim. Gerhard Weber, 1955-7
Foto/Photo Rudolf Stricker, 2012 [Wikimedia Commons]

After voluntarily with drawing from the competition for the National Theatre in Mannheim, Mies would not receive another commission to design a theatre. Thus, the modern theatre idea that he had launched in 1947 remained a suspended project. Even so, this idea has maintained its relevance and ability to inspire, as demonstrated, for example, by recent buildings that also notably attempt to integrate the auditorium into its surroundings through large openings. Among these buildings are the Rolex Learning Center (Lausanne, 2010, SANAA - Kazuyo Sejima + Ryue Nishizawa), the Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston, 2006, Diller Scofidio + Renfro), the Ibirapuera Auditorium (São Paulo, 2005, Oscar Niemeyer), and Casa da Música (Porto, 2005, OMA - Office for Metropolitan Architecture).

Casa da Música, Porto, 2005, OMA - Office for Metropolitan Architecture
Foto/Photo Janek Pfeifer, 2005 [Wikimedia Commons]

Conclusion

This article showed that Mies's Theatre of 1947 explored ways to modernise the ancient art of building theatres, and thus dealt with a research theme that had been concerning various architects of the time. In his explorations on this theme, Mies introduced the modern clear-span structure into the theatre building to optimise interior visibility and flexibility; to reduce the number of constructional elements, and to produce a stronger expression of modernity.

In earlier projects, Mies had already expanded the applicability of the clear-span structure beyond utilitarian buildings through the introduction of the open plan into this pre-existing structure. The Theatre project of 1947 advanced these earlier projects by showing that this clear-span structure was also valid for buildings that contained a diverse and rigid set of technical facilities. The Theatre project was also significant because it introduced the elevated seating area in Mies's oeuvre, and unexpectedly reconciled modern technology with the sense of openness and spatial integration that had marked ancient theatres.

Being undertaken as an independent research project, Mies's Theatre has few remnant drawings. Still, other documentation exists that strongly relates to this project, thus helping to broaden its understanding: the master's thesis on theatre architecture that Mies supervised in 1947-9; and the competition entry for the Mannheim National Theatre that he designed in 1952-3. In fact, these later projects offered Mies an opportunity to detail further the modern theatre idea that he had inaugurated in his project of 1947. Ultimately, despite not being fully realised by Mies in built form, this idea has maintained its relevance, still standing out as a challenging and inspiring vision.

notes

Acknowledgements: this article derived from the doctoral thesis 'Theoretical Projects, Nature & Significance through the Case Study of Mies van der Rohe's Work' (2012) that the author completed at the University of Melbourne, Australia, with scholarship support from this University and from the Norman Mcgeorge Bequest.

1
See, for example: JOHNSON, Philip. Mies van der Rohe, 3 edn, New York, Museum of Modern Art, 1978 [1953, 1947]; LAMBERT, Phyllis. Mies Immersion, in LAMBERT, Phyllis (ed.), Mies in America, New York, H.N. Abrams, 2001. p. 192-589, 436; MERTINS, Detlef. Mies. London, Phaidon Press, 2014, p. 301; SCHULZE, Franz. Theater, 1947, in DREXLER, Arthur (ed.), The Mies van der Rohe Archive, v.14, 20 vols., New York, Garland, 1986, p. 2.

2
Mies's Theatre project was exhibited at MoMA in 1947 between the Mountain House and the Concert Hall projects, as photographs of the exhibition show.

3
Mies’s student and assistant Myron Goldsmith registered on his notebook of 1951-5 that Mies affirmed that he had thought about theatre architecture in the abstract for twelve years. GOLDSMITH, Myron. Notebook, sketches and notes on Mies, Nervi, 1951-5; 32-011T-116, Myron Goldsmith Archive, Canadian Centre for Architecture Archive, Montreal.

4
Mies's professional relationship with Walter Gropius is described in: SCHULZE, Franz. Mies van der Rohe: a critical biography, Chicago,University ofChicago Press, 1985, p. 41, 118, 175.

5
SCHLEMMER, Oskar, et al. Die Bühne im Bauhaus. München, Albert Langen Verlag, 1925; ARONSON, Arnold. 'Theatres of the Future', In Theatre Journal, Vol. 33, No. 4, Dec., 1981, p.489-503 <http://www.jstor.org/stable/3206773>; MALCOLMSON, Reginald Francis. 'The theatre, historical development and present possibilities', Master of Science in Architecture, Chicago IL, Illinois Institute of Technology, June 1949, p. 53, 56; LUPFER, Gilbert; SIGEL, Paul. Gropius. Köln, Taschen, 2004, p. 59-60.

6
MIES VAN DER ROHE, Ludwig. 'Architect of “the clear and reasonable”, Mies van der Rohe considered and interviewed by Graeme Shankland', The Listener, vol. 1. XII, no. 1594, October 1959, p. 621. MIES VAN DER ROHE, Ludwig; NORBERG-SCHULZ, Christian. 'A talk with Mies van der Rohe 1958', in F NEUMEYER (ed.), The Artless Word, Mies van der Rohe on the Building Art, Cambridge, Mass., MIT, 1991, p. 339.

7
FUJIKAWA, Joseph & BLUM, Betty J, Interview with Joseph Fujikawa Interviewed by Betty J. Blum, 1983, Chicago Architects Oral History Project, The Art Institute of Chicago, 2003, p. 19 <http://digital-libraries.saic.edu/u?/caohp,3528>; NELSON, George. Industrial architecture of Albert Kahn, New York, Architectural Book Pub., 1939, p. 14, 35. Mies's personal library included the book Industrial architecture of Albert Kahn. UIC, Online catalogue. Richard J. Daley Library; University of Illinois at Chicago; Rare Books Section. Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe Collection, Chicago, 2008 <http://library.uic.edu/home/collections/manuscripts-and-rare-books/rare-books-at-the-richard-j.-daley-library>.

8
The speculative nature of these projects and their relationship is detailed in:COLOMBO, Luciana Fornari. 'Theoretical Projects, Nature & Significance through the Case Study of Mies van der Rohe's Work', Ph.D. Thesis, Architecture, Building, and Planning; Melbourne, The University of Melbourne, 2012, chapter 6: Clear Span Pavilions.

9
HAID, David. Letter to Mr Gary Adamson, on the behalf of Mies van der Rohe, 19 July 1954; late correspondence 1930-69, container 4, Papers of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington DC; GOLDSMITH, Myron & BLUM, Betty J. Oral History of Myron Goldsmith interviewed by Betty J. Blum, 1986, Chicago Architects Oral History Project, The Art Institute of Chicago, 2001, p. 75, 77, 83 <http://digital-libraries.saic.edu/u?/caohp,3934>; MIES VAN DER ROHE, Ludwig. 'Architect of “the clear and reasonable”, Mies van der Rohe considered and interviewed by Graeme Shankland', The Listener, vol. 1.XII, no. 1594, October 1959, p. 621. For further information on the Core House project, please, see: COLOMBO, Luciana F. Mies van der Rohe’s Core House, a Theoretical Project on the Essential Dwelling. Arquitextos, São Paulo, year 11, n. 130.03, Vitruvius, mar. 2011 <www.vitruvius.com.br/revistas/read/arquitextos/11.130/3782/en>.

10
LAMBERT, Phyllis, 'Mies Immersion', in LAMBERT, Phyllis (ed.), Mies in America, New York, H.N. Abrams, 2001, p.192-589, 197. Mies explained, 'I hope to make my buildings neutral frames in which man and artworks can carry on their own lives... Nature, too, shall live its own life'. MIES VAN DER ROHE, Ludwig & NORBERG-SCHULZ, Christian. 'A talk with Mies van der Rohe 1958', in NEUMEYER, Fritz, The Artless Word, Mies van der Rohe on the Building Art, Cambridge, Mass., MIT, 1991, p. 339.

11
Regarding the concept of the 'open plan', Mies stated: ‘People think with the open plan we can do everything - but that is not the fact. It is merely another conception of space’. MIES VAN DER ROHE, Ludwig. 'Six students talk with Mies', Student publication North Carolina University School of Design, 1952. He added that such a variable ground plan demands just as much discipline and intelligence from the architect as a conventional plan. MIES VAN DER ROHE, Ludwig & Norberg-Schulz, Christian. 'A talk with Mies van der Rohe 1958', in NEUMEYER, Fritz, The Artless Word, Mies van der Rohe on the Building Art, Cambridge, Mass., MIT, 1991. p. 338-339. Mies also explained: ‘a house for a single person; this makes the problem more simple... a house with five bedrooms... is really a difficult problem, to make an open plan, but it is possible: you have to work only much harder on it'. MIES VAN DER ROHE, Ludwig. 'Architect of “the clear and reasonable”, Mies van der Rohe considered and interviewed by Graeme Shankland', The Listener, vol. 1. XII, no. 1594, October, 1959, p. 621. Office letters by Mies's assistant Myron Goldsmith show that Mies was interested in obtaining post-occupancy evaluations of open plan houses. GOLDSMITH, Myron. Letter to Vincent Scully, 8 April 1952; Documents and Photo Files, Folder 1951-52 50 X 50 House, The Mies van der Rohe Archive,Museum of Modern Art, New York.

12
These sketches of Mies's Theatre are available in MoMA's online collection: <www.moma.org/collection/object.php?object_id=168587>; <www.moma.org/collection/object.php?object_id=168586>; <www.moma.org/collection/object.php?object_id=168036>; <www.moma.org/collection/object.php?object_id=168585>; <www.moma.org/collection/object.php?object_id=168035>.

13
LOHAN, Dirk. Letter to Mr Arthur Drexler, The Museum of Modern Art NY, on the behalf of L Mies van der Rohe, 24 Feb 1966; General Office File 1923-69, container 40, Papers of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington DC.

14
This smaller-sized collage drawing of Mies's Theatre is available in MoMA's online collection: <www.moma.org/collection/object.php?object_id=107299>

15
MALCOLMSON, Reginald F. 'The theatre, historical development and present possibilities', Master of Science in Architecture, Chicago IL, Illinois Institute of Technology, June 1949; JUNKROSKI, Donna J, 'IIT Architecture Faculty and Students, 1938-1958 (compilation)', in ACHILLES, Rolf; HARRINGTON, Kevin & MYHRUM, Charlotte (eds). Mies van der Rohe, architect as educator,Chicago,University ofChicago Press, 1986, p. 160.

16
HARRINGTON, Kevin. 'Order, Space, Proportion - Mies's Curriculum at IIT', ACHILLES, Rolf; HARRINGTON, Kevin & MYHRUM, Charlotte (eds). Mies van der Rohe, Architect as Educator. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1986, p. 62; SCHULZE, Franz. Mies van der Rohe: a Critical Biography. Chicago,University ofChicago Press, 1985, 230.

17
Please, see the testimony of Mies's former students in: DANFORTH, George & HARRINGTON, Kevin. Transcript George Danforth, p.253, Mies and American Colleagues Oral History Project, Canadian Centre for Architecture Collection, Montreal; DEARSTYNE, Howard. 'Howard Dearstyne, Mies van der Rohe's teaching at the Bauhaus in Dessau', in Neumann, E. (ed.) Bauhaus and Bauhaus people. New York, Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1993, p. 222-9, 226.

An extreme example of this teaching approach was given by former student Joseph Fujikawa, who did the TallBuildingin Concrete exercise under Mies's supervision in 1943: 'I was just a tool to put [the building] down on paper [laughs] in the form of a drawing. But essentially that was what I did'. FUJIKAWA, Joseph in LAMBERT, Phyllis (ed.), Mies in America. New York, H.N. Abrams, 2001, p.510 note 44; FUJIKAWA, Joseph & BLUM, Betty J. Interview with Joseph Fujikawa Interviewed by Betty J. Blum, 1983, Chicago Architects Oral History Project, The Art Institute of Chicago, 2003, p. 18 <http://digital-libraries.saic.edu/u?/caohp,3528>.

18
Following Mies’s suggestion, the student Paul Campagna chose the concert hall as a theme for his master's thesis in order to explore the clear-span structure. Mies also encouraged Campagna to look for images of large industrial spaces in magazines. After selecting a photograph of the Albert Kahn’s Glenn Martin Assembly Building, Mies asked the student to use it as a background for a collage of the auditorium. Campagna remembered that his collage ended up being very similar to the one that Mies published and exhibited later. Their collages differed only in small details, such as colour and shape. Considering overall similarities and Mies's teaching approach, his collage of the Concert Hall should have been completed before Campagna's, which was developed in the class of 1940-1. LEVINE, Neil. Modern architecture: representation & reality, New Haven, Yale University, 2009, p.231, 324 n. 44; LAMBERT, Phyllis. 'Mies Immersion', in LAMBERT, Phyllis (ed.), Mies in America, New York, H.N. Abrams, 2001, p.192-589, 425; JUNKROSKI, Donna J, 'IIT Architecture Faculty and Students, 1938-1958 (compilation)', in ACHILLES, Rolf; HARRINGTON, Kevin & MYHRUM, Charlotte (eds). Mies van der Rohe, architect as educator. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1986, p. 156; COLOMBO, Luciana F. ‘Blurring the Line between Theory and Practice through Theoretical Projects, the Case of Mies van der Rohe’s Concert Hall’. In DUYAN, Efe (ed), Theory for the Sake of Theory, ARCHTHEO ‘11 Conference Proceedings, Istanbul, Dakam Publishing, vol. 2, 2011, p. 66-74. In 1947, Mies resumed the Concert Hall project to refine its collage, which would be exhibited at MoMA in September. He involved a group of students in this endeavour as he asked them to test different textures and colours for the collaged elements. SWENSON, Alfred & CHANG, Pao-Chi. Architectural education at IIT, 1938-1978, Chicago, Illinois Institute of Technology, 1980, p.158; GOLDSMITH, Myron & HARRINGTON, Kevin. Transcript Myron Goldsmith interviewed by Kevin Harrington, 1996, p. 43; Mies and American Colleagues Oral History Project, Canadian Centre for Architecture Collection, Montreal; DANFORTH, George & HARRINGTON, Kevin. Transcript George Danforth interviewed by Kevin Harrington, 1996, p. 77, 93; Mies and American Colleagues Oral History Project, Canadian Centre for Architecture Collection, Montreal; MALCOLMSON, Reginald & BLUM, Betty J. Oral History of Reginald Malcolmson Interviewed by Betty J. Blum, 1987, Chicago Architects Oral History Project, The Art Institute of Chicago, 2004, p. 55-56 <http://digital-libraries.saic.edu/u?/caohp,7511>.

19
George Danforth started his master’s thesis on the museum in 1940, and continued to work on his thesis slowly in following years as he was busy teaching at IIT and assisting Mies in his office. In February 1943, when Mies was invited to submit a project for the special edition 'New Buildings for 194X' of the Architectural Forum magazine, Danforth's master's thesis was still in a programming stage, having very limited drawings. At that time, Danforth stopped his project and started to assist Mies in the development of the project that was submitted to the magazine editors in March 1943: the Museum for a Small City. JUNKROSKI, Donna J, 'IIT Architecture Faculty and Students, 1938-1958 (compilation)', in Achilles, ACHILLES, Rolf; HARRINGTON, Kevin & MYHRUM, Charlotte (eds). Mies van der Rohe, architect as educator, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1986, p.156-157; DANFORTH, George & HARRINGTON, Kevin. Transcript George Danforth interviewed by Kevin Harrington, 1996, p.112, 251; Mies and American Colleagues Oral History Project, Canadian Centre for Architecture Collection, Montreal. DANFORTH, George & SALIGA, Pauline. Oral History of George Danforth Interviewed by Pauline Saliga,1986, Chicago Architects Oral History Project, The Art Institute of Chicago, 2003, p.37-38, 48 <http://digital-libraries.saic.edu/u?/caohp,2544>; MYERS, H. Letter to L Mies van der Rohe, invitation to design a project for the Architectural Forum May 1943 on non-residential post-war buildings, 6 February 1943; General Office file, 1923-1969, container 15, Papers of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington DC.

20
ACHILLES, Rolf; HARRINGTON, Kevin & MYHRUM, Charlotte (eds). Mies van der Rohe, architect as educator, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1986, p.141, 155-164. The Convention Hall project emerged in 1953, when the Illinois State Legislature considered funding the construction of a convention hall; and the South Side Planning Board of Chicago invited Mies to envision such a building. Without a definite site or guarantee of building, and being busy with several commissions, Mies decided to develop this project further at IIT in the class of 1953-4 with the students Pao-Chi Chang, Henry Kanazawa, and Yujiro Miwa as part of their graduate thesis ‘A Convention Hall, a Cooperative Project’. LAMBERT, Phyllis. 'Mies Immersion', in LAMBERT, Phyllis (ed.), Mies in America, New York, H.N. Abrams, 2001, p.192-589, 463 n. 233; LOHAN, Dirk. Review of the article 'Unknown Mies: Houses the nobody built' by Paul Gapp, Chicago Daily Tribune 29 August 1986; 15 September 1986; 32-163T-086, Myron Goldsmith Paper, Canadian Centre for Architecture Archive, Montreal; MCCONOUGHEY, C. Letter to Myron Goldsmith from Mies's architectural office, 27 Jan 1954; folder 1941-1955, 32-001T-001, Myron Goldsmith Archive, Canadian Centre for Architecture Archive, Montreal. This project gave Mies his first opportunity to explore the effects of monumental scale in pavilions. Mies had demonstrated interest in this theme some years earlier, when he encouraged the student and assistant Myron Goldsmith to adopt this theme in his master’s thesis, and to read the book On Growth and Form by D’Arcy Thompson. Goldsmith eagerly accepted the suggestion as he also had a long-standing interest in large constructions. Thus, the student soon started to work on his thesis ‘The Tall Building: the Effects of Scale’ (1949-3). GOLDSMITH, Myron & BLUM, Betty J. Oral History of Myron Goldsmith Interviewed by Betty J. Blum, 1986, Chicago Architects Oral History Project, The Art Institute of Chicago, 2001, p. 33, 40, 57 <http://digital-libraries.saic.edu/u?/caohp,3934>; GOLDSMITH, Myron. 'The Tall Building: the Effects of Scale', Master of science in architecture, Chicago, IL, Illinois Institute of Technology, June 1953; MIES VAN DER ROHE, Ludwig. 'Mies van der Rohe, interview 1964', in KUH, K. (ed.), The open eye: in pursuit of art, New York, Harper & Row, 1971, p.35GOLDSMITH, Myron & HARRINGTON, Kevin. Transcript Myron Goldsmith interviewed by Kevin Harrington, 1996, p.127; Mies and American Colleagues Oral History Project, Canadian Centre for Architecture Collection,Montreal.

21
MALCOLMSON, Reginald F. & BLUM, Betty J. Oral History of Reginald Malcolmson Interviewed by Betty J. Blum, 1987, Chicago Architects Oral History Project, The Art Institute of Chicago, 2004, p. 33 <http://digital-libraries.saic.edu/u?/caohp,7511>.

22
LOHAN, Dirk. Letter to Mr Arthur Drexler, The Museum of Modern Art NY, on the behalf of L Mies van der Rohe, 24 Feb 1966; General Office File 1923-69, container 40, Papers of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Manuscript Division, Library of Congress, Washington DC.

23
MALCOLMSON, Reginald F. & BLUM, Betty J. Oral History of Reginald Malcolmson Interviewed by Betty J. Blum, 1987, Chicago Architects Oral History Project, The Art Institute of Chicago, 2004, p. 50-65 <http://digital-libraries.saic.edu/u?/caohp,7511>.

24
THE ART INSTITUTE OF CHICAGO, Reginald Malcolmson (1912-1992) <www.artic.edu/research/reginald-malcolmson-1912-1992>.

25
MALCOLMSON, Reginald F. 'The theatre, historical development and present possibilities', Master of Science in Architecture, Chicago IL, Illinois Institute of Technology, June 1949, fig. 26, p. 98.

26
COLLINS, George R. Visionary drawings of architecture and planning: 20th century through the 1960s, Cambridge, Mass., MIT Press,1979, section 79. Although Malcolmson's collage does not contain marble texture, in his description of the project, Malcolmson explained that the dressing rooms would be enclosed by marble walls. MALCOLMSON, Reginald F. 'The theatre, historical development and present possibilities', Master of Science in Architecture, Chicago IL, Illinois Institute of Technology, June 1949, p. 65; Original drawings of Malcolmson's Theatre project are available at the Canadian Centre for Architecture and at the University of Michigan; MALCOLMSON, Reginald. Theater, 1949, Collage in color of silk-screen paper, charcoal papers, metal foil & India ink on illustration board; 76 x 101.5 cm. Accession number 08-04609; Imageworks, Art, Architecture and Engineering Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor <http://quod.lib.umich.edu/u/ummu/x-08-04609/08_04609>; MALCOLMSON, Reginald. Theater, 1949, 8 section and perspective drawings and 1 collage drawing. AP150.S2.SS1.D6; AP150.S1.SS1.D10, The Collection of the Canadian Centre for Architecture,Montreal.

27
Please, see the drawing of the Cantor Drive-in Restaurant dated from March 1947 in: DREXLER, Arthur (ed.), The Mies van der Rohe Archive, v.13, 20 vols., New York, Garland, 1986, p. 230.

28
MALCOLMSON, Reginald F. 'The theatre, historical development and present possibilities', Master of Science in Architecture, Chicago IL, Illinois Institute of Technology, June 1949, p. 2-71, 64; MALCOLMSON, Reginald F. Theatre, 1949; Documents and Photo Files, IIT 1944-59, The Mies van der Rohe Archive, Museum of Modern Art, New York.

29
MALCOLMSON, Reginald F. 'The theatre, historical development and present possibilities', Master of Science in Architecture, Chicago IL, Illinois Institute of Technology, June 1949; MALCOLMSON, Reginald F. & BLUM, Betty J. Chicago Architects Oral History Project, 2004, p. 67-68.

30
Please, see Mies's notebook of 1927-8 in NEUMEYER, Fritz, The Artless Word, Mies van der Rohe on the Building Art, Cambridge, Mass., MIT, 1991, p. 289.

31
GUARDINI, Romano. Sacred Signs. St Louis, Pio Decimo Press, 1956, p. 11 <https://www.ewtn.com/library/LITURGY/SACRSIGN.TXT>.

32
GOLDSMITH, Myron & BLUM, Betty J, Oral History of Myron Goldsmith Interviewed by Betty J. Blum, 1986, Chicago Architects Oral History Project, The Art Institute of Chicago, 2001, p. 47-48 <http://digital-libraries.saic.edu/u?/caohp,3934>; GOLDSMITH, Myron & HARRINGTON, Kevin. Transcript Myron Goldsmith interviewed by Kevin Harrington, 1996, p. 111; Mies and American Colleagues Oral History Project, Canadian Centre for Architecture Collection, Montreal.

33
SCHULZE, Franz. Mies van der Rohe: a critical biography, Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1985, p.266; SCHULZE, Franz. 'National Theater, 1952-3', in DREXLER, Arthur (ed.). The Mies van der Rohe Archive, New York, Garland, vol. 15, 20 vols., 1986, p. 296-297.

34
MIES VAN DER ROHE, Ludwig. Comments on the design of the building for the national theatre of the city of Mannheim, preliminary copy, undated, 3 pages; Documents and Photo Files, 1953_62, Mannheim Theater Folder #1, The Mies van der Rohe Archive, Museum of Modern Art, New York.

35
CARTER, Peter. Letter to Mr Galperine; April 3 1962; Documents and Photo Files, 1953_62, Mannheim Theater Folder, The Mies van der Rohe Archive, Museum of Modern Art, New York; CARTER, Peter. Mies van der Rohe at Work. London, Phaidon, 1999 [1974], p. 81.

36
BERTIG, Rudolf. Mies van der Rohe das Theaterprojekt, 2006, Endnote 4 <www.mies-van-der-rohe-haus-aachen.de/index.php?id=82>.

37
MIES VAN DER ROHE, Ludwig. Letter to the mayor of Mannheim, 11 January 1954 in BERTIG, Rudolf. Mies van der Rohe das Theaterprojekt. 2006 <www.mies-van-der-rohe-haus-aachen.de/index.php?id=93>.

38
GOLDSMITH, Myron & BLUM, Betty J. Oral History of Myron Goldsmith Interviewed by Betty J. Blum, 1986, Chicago Architects Oral History Project, The Art Institute of Chicago, 2001, p. 47-48 <http://digital-libraries.saic.edu/u?/caohp,3934>; GOLDSMITH, Myron & HARRINGTON, Kevin. Transcript Myron Goldsmith interviewed by Kevin Harrington, 1996, p. 111; Mies and American Colleagues Oral History Project, Canadian Centre for Architecture Collection, Montreal; SCHULZE, Franz; WINDHORST, Edward. Mies van der Rohe: a critical biography, New and Revised Edition, Chicago, University ofChicago Press, 2012, p. 313.

39
MIES VAN DER ROHE, Ludwig. Comments on the design of the building for the national theatre of the city of Mannheim, preliminary copy, undated, ca. 1953, 3 pages; Documents and Photo Files, 1953_62, Mannheim Theater Folder #1, The Mies van der Rohe Archive, Museum of Modern Art, New York; MIES VAN DER ROHE, Ludwig. Letter to the mayor of Mannheim, 11 January 1954 in BERTIG, Rudolf. Mies van der Rohe das Theaterprojekt. 2006 <http://www.mies-van-der-rohe-haus-aachen.de/index.php?id=93>.

40
WINGLER, Hans Maria. Il Bauhaus. Weimar, Dessau, Berlino 1919-33. Milano, Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, 1987 [1962], p. 662.

41
BERTIG, Rudolf. Mies van der Rohe das Theaterprojekt. 2006 <www.mies-van-der-rohe-haus-aachen.de/index.php?id=82>.

about the author

Luciana Fornari Colombo, Ph.D. (University of Melbourne,Australia), is a faculty member of the Department of Architecture at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. 

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185.03 projeto
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original: português

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