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September 24, 2001 (35)

Mies comes to Michigan

EDITORS: Photo available on request.

ANN ARBOR---Blueprints from the office of architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe are featured in a new University of Michigan exhibit titled "Mies in Michigan."

The exhibit, highlighting the modernist ideas of universal space, structural simplicity, and minimalism, includes documents from a recent University Library acquisition of more than 200 blueprints from the offices of Mies van der Rohe and Frank Lloyd Wright. The exhibit is sponsored by the A. Alfred Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.

model of a Mies structure
Model of proposed Cantor Drive-In
The Mies van der Rohe exhibit includes drawings of two of the most significant buildings constructed during the past century, the Farnsworth House (in Plano, Ill.) and Crown Hall at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), together with a less well-known, unbuilt, yet perhaps equally important design proposal for a drive-in restaurant on the outskirts of Indianapolis. Mies van der Rohe's proposal for the Cantor Drive-In is one of the earliest examples of the concept of "universal space," a theme that connects all three projects. Characteristic of modern ideals of architecture, the three buildings comprise broad expanses of interior space undivided by structural elements and walls that float in glass, allowing interior and exterior to integrate visually.

"Mies van der Rohe was one of the two or three most significant architects of the 20th century, some would argue the most significant. We are proud to exhibit his precise and elegant construction drawings," said Doug Kelbaugh, dean and professor of the Taubman College.

The collection was the gift of Edward Olencki, professor emeritus of architecture and his wife, Irene. Olencki studied architecture at IIT and then worked in Chicago for Mies van der Rohe from 1943 to 1948. Later, Olencki joined the faculty at the U-M, where he taught for nearly 40 years.

"We are most grateful for this generous gift from Prof. Olencki," said Michael D. Miller, director, Arts and Engineering Libraries. "We are honored to add these rich early works of two of the most influential architects of the 20th century to our collections."

The exhibit runs through Friday (Sept. 28) at the Taubman College Gallery in Room 2106 of the Art and Architecture Building, North Campus, 2000 Bonisteel Blvd. The gallery is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Following the exhibit, the collection will be available for viewing by appointment at the Rare Books Room at the Media Union Library on North Campus. For more information about the collection, or to arrange an appointment, contact Rebecca Price at (734) 647-5274.

Contact: Joanne Nesbit
Phone: (734) 647-4418
E-mail: mjnesbit@umich.edu


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