We are delighted to present our new website. Check it out!

The site houses exclusive information about Mies’ influence and his work. Detailed building “biographies” feature sketches, models, and 3-D renderings of modernism’s most important structures. Gorgeous, immersive photography showcases the buildings Mies designed as well as portraits of the architect himself.

In addition to digging deep into Mies’ life and work, when you visit the site you can:

·  Browse the titles on Mies’ bookshelf and read his speeches;

·  Track progress on building restoration efforts and support the organization by becoming members;

·  Sign up for architectural tours at IIT and beyond through collaborations with Chicago Architecture Foundation, Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust, and more;

·  Shop for exclusive modernist gifts, like Crown Hall coasters created by Chicago-based textile designer, Noel Ashby;

·  Register for events—like Mies’ 125th birthday party. Scheduled for March 28, 2011, this annual event promises to be another interactive, martini-fueled experience, this time with a “Mad Men” theme. Wright auction house will demonstrate how to spy authentic Mies furniture among the imposters;

·  Learn about exhibits, lectures, and performances at S.R. Crown Hall. Recent events have featured the work of The Duke Ellington Orchestra, Hubbard Street Dance, Aaron Siskind, and Andy Warhol.

The website was designed by Scott Thomas, who embraced the Miesian values of openness and transparency. Thomas, who works under the name SimpleScott, was the design director for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. His book about the process, Designing Obama, and an iPad application, were released this fall. He is a founding member of The Post Family, an artists’ collective in Chicago.


In a few more days, we’ll be launching our new website designed by Scott Thomas, a.k.a. SimpleScott. Thomas began his studies in architecture and went on to pursue graphic design and Web development—eventually becoming the design director of the historic Barack Obama presidential campaign. He’s got a Miesian take on Web design: to continually simplify the user experience. You might have seen him in S. R. Crown Hall in January, when he gave the lecture, “Architecting Change.” Following is a recent chat with Scott about good design.

Mies Society: What is Miesian about your design for the website?

Scott Thomas: The Web, like architecture, offers spaces in four dimensions. An X-axis, Y-axis, Z-axis of interaction, and time is the fourth dimension. A master architect uses each dimension to compose a prescribed experience on a user. Similarly, a Web designer understands its users must interact and move through a virtual space in a timely and effective manner.

Mies offered the world a philosophy of “less is more,” and as technology becomes more complex, the experience of using it should become simpler and easier to use. It has never been more important to recite Occam’s Razor, the principle that one should not “multiply entities beyond necessity.”

M.S.: How can Mies’ architecture influence good Web design?

S.T.: I don’t know if it’s Mies’ architecture as much as Mies’ and Bauhaus philosophies that influence Web design and design in general. Openness and transparency are ever-growing elements of not only Web design, but also the society and communities that exist online. I think the Web will open up some of the most opaque institutions on the planet and make our world a more transparent place; that will make societies more connected and understood than at any time in history.

M.S.: What do you do in your everyday life to evolve your design practice?

S.T.: I try to keep exploring, constantly reinventing and questioning whether things can be done differently—better, simpler.

M.S.: You’re also making books. What design possibilities do books have that are unique from the Web?

S.T.: Books, like buildings, remain. They exist through time much longer than the Web’s evolving content. We have yet to figure out the best way for archiving the happenings on the Web. The book offers a shelf life, and as long as the paper is cared for, the words will remain. It is important to note the concept of the book is at a unique moment in its history. Its medium will change, making it easier to distribute and easier for people to access. The book hasn’t seen this kind of advancement since the invention of the printing press.

M.S.: Pictures vs. text on the Web: which one wins?

S.T.: It depends. Both need each other to create communication experiences. In some instances, words are more important than visuals, and at other times, visuals are more effective at communicating. More often than not, words are furthered with accompanying images. So I guess I never knew they were in competition with each other. I thought they were a happily married couple.

More than 100 members of the IIT community turned out for a coffee tasting last month at Global Grounds to select a custom blend for the campus coffee shop.

The winner was Mies van der Roast, a blend of a deep, creamy coffee from Southeast Asia and a bright and nutty coffee from South America. Together, these coffees create a savory and slightly sweet combination. Mies van der Roast will be served daily at Global Grounds.

Provided by Crop to Cup Coffee Company, the coffee is 100% Arabica, fair trade, and roasted right here in Chicago.

Crop to Cup sponsors IPRO 333: Building Communities through Coffee as part IIT’s innovative Interprofessional Projects Program (IPRO), which groups students from varied disciplines and tasks them with solving real-world problems.

The IPRO 333 team’s challenge is to design and build a coffee storage facility for family farmers in Uganda. IIT Dining Services is partnering with the team and Crop to Cup to serve their coffee at Global Grounds. Sales of Mies van der Roast will help the students raise money to fund a trip to Uganda.

Congratulations to the students of IIT’s College of Architecture, whose Field Chapel in Baden, Germany was recognized by AIA Chicago with a Design Excellence Award.

Professor Frank Flury’s studio class designed—and built—the two-room chapel and its 30-foot tower.

AIA Chicago announced the award at their annual DesignNight event. Also recognized were works by Mies Society board members, Dirk Denison and Ron Krueck.

[photo by Brigida Gonzalez.]

Block Cinema and the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust are hosting a film series on America’s architectural heritage and the groundbreaking visionaries who defined it.

Regular or Super, Joseph Hillel and Patrick Demers’ 2005 portrait of Mies, will be screened on November 6th.

Find dates and show times for the entire series.

A recent article in the New York Times goes inside daily life at Lafayette Park, a residential development in Detroit that Mies designed in the late 1950s.

Comprised of high rise buildings and townhouses, Lafayette Park represents the largest collection of Mies-designed buildings in the world and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.

Turns out, Mies was in good company at Lafayette Park: Ludwig Hilbersheimer served as the development’s urban planner and Alfred Caldwell was the landscape designer. Mies’ frequent collaborator Herb Greenwald developed the district.

Among the residents are a family that blogs about life in Detroit, raising kids, and living in a Mies building.

Read another article about Lafayette Park in the Wall Street Journal here.

There’s still time to check out the sculptures scattered around IIT, brought to campus by Chicago Sculpture International as part of Chicago Artists Month. Find out more and download a map here.

The Mies Society can’t wait to unveil our latest project: a brand-new website designed by Scott Thomas, author of Designing Obama.

In addition to tracking progress on our restoration efforts, visitors will be able to take a look at the contents of Mies’ bookshelf. And as a new resource for all things Mies, the site will feature information about Mies’ legacy that isn’t available anywhere else. Detailed building “biographies” will feature sketches, drawings, models, 3-D renderings, and photos of modernism’s most important structures.

Full site launches in November; here’s a sneak peak.

Chicago’s Top 40 Artistic Breakthroughs itemized in the September issue of Chicago Magazine include Second City, Muddy Waters, the Dil Pickle Club, and Studs Terkel.

We’re delighted to see Mies van der Rohe’s IIT campus ranked as #2!

Read the article here.

° A recently-updated unit in Mies van der Rohe’s 880 N. Lake Shore Drive is for sale. Koenig & Strey has the listing.
° A 1952 white St. Charles kitchen, 6-burner white Crown stove, and 1952 bathroom fixtures are available for immediate sale in Glencoe.  These hard-to-find fixtures are in excellent condition. For more information, contact Linda Semel.