Date: Thursday, March 26 - 12:15 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.
On the eve of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s 129th birthday, writer Robert Sharoff and photographer William Zbaren will discuss Mies’s final commission, the IBM Building, as well as his Chicago legacy. “Mies spent the last three decades of his life living and working in Chicago and his style eventually came to define the city in much the same way Baron Haussmann’s does Paris and Bernini’s does Rome,” said Sharoff. The 52-story IBM Building, the drawings for which were completed several weeks before Mies’s death in 1969, was the most expensive office building in the city’s history. It also represented the culmination of a half-century spent exploring the possibilities of steel and glass design. During its construction, New York Times critic Ada Louise Huxtable posited that the IBM Building “may well be the most important skyscraper in the country.” The IBM Building came midway through a legendary period in Chicago architecture – the decade-long building boom between 1965 and 1975 when Mies’s influence was at its most pervasive and his students and acolytes produced such enduring landmarks as McCormick Place, Lake Point Tower and the John Hancock Center. These buildings continue to dominate the city’s skyline and are at the heart of Chicago’s claim to be the founding city of American modernism.
( Preservation Chicago will be launching its new website in Spring 2015 )