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Architectural Dissertation




A DISSERTATION PROJECT Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of degree of BACHELOR OF ARCHITECTURE by SANCHIT MEHTA (Roll No.: 11640) under the guidance of AR. SANJAY BHANDARI


NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY HAMIRPUR (HP) CANDIDATE’S DECLARATION I hereby certify that the work which is being presented in the project titled ‘STUDY OF PRINCIPLES & WORKS OF ARCHITECTS’, is the partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the DEGREE OF BACHELOR in ARCHITECTURE and submitted in Department of Architecture, National Institute of Technology, Hamirpur, in an authentic record of my own work carried out during a period from January 2015 to May 2015 under the guidance of AR. SANJAY BHANDARI, Lecturer, Department of Architecture , National Institute of Technology, Hamirpur. The matter presented in this project report has not been submitted by me for the reward of any other degree of this or any other Institute/University. SANCHIT MEHTA This is to certify that the above statement made by the candidate is correct to the best of my knowledge. Date: (AR. SANJAY BHANDARI) Lecturer Department of architecture NIT Hamirpur The Project Viva Voce Examination of SANCHIT MEHTA has been held on……………….

Signature of Supervisor (s)

Signature of External Examiner



This is to certify that this thesis report entitled “STUDY OF PRINCIPLES & WORKS OF ARCHITECTS” has been submitted by Mr. Sanchit Mehta (Roll No. 11640) in the partial fulfillment of the requirements for the award of the BACHELOR’S DEGREE in ARCHITECTURE for the session 2011-2016.















Sanchit Mehta (11640)


The successful completion of the project is the result of sincere efforts, guidance and inspiration from many people. I would like to pay my heartiest gratitude to my parents who have helped me in each and every steps of life. I find myself unjustly restrained by words in expressing my sincere thanks to all those, whose contribution is much larger than any word can ever claim to describe.

I am highly indebted to Ar. Sanjay Bhandari for his guidance and constant supervision as well as for providing necessary information regarding the project & also for their support in completing the project. I would like to express my gratitude towards my classmates and other teachers, without whom this project would have been incomplete, for their kind co-operation and encouragement which help me in completion of this project.

I am grateful to the Head of Department– DR. I.P. SINGH and Dissertation Cocoordinator– AR. AMITAVA SARKAR, Department of Architecture, whose constant words of encouragement and help have helped me reach the present stage of this project.

At last but not least I am grateful to all those sources, person who helped me directly or indirectly in achieving this stage of this project.


The awareness of modern architecture and its principles, elements and techniques is a pre-requisite to designing the buildings and structures in present day scenario. The basic concepts and principles of the modern day architecture can be mastered only when the principles of architects of the bygone era are learned. This study is based on one of the major concepts of the 20th century, i.e., Minimalism. Minimalism was the basis of many designs, especially in Europe after the World War II. The need for minimalist architecture aroused due to the destruction of uncountable structures and the economic instability to redevelop cities. This unstable economy forced the architects to pave their paths towards simpler and faster construction methods and designs. The study is conducted by engaging in book reviews, research on the planning and designing concepts of the architects and the construction procedures of the buildings. Case studies and analysis of several projects of architects are undertaken to learn about the thinking of that particular architect behind the project, how the design evolved, what were the limitations and drawbacks of the buildings and the difficulties that hurdled the progress of construction and how they were overcome by prominent solutions. The study and research has resulted in helping to develop an idea of the thought process behind the designs made by architects of the World War and post-World War era. It also helped to gain knowledge of many basic concepts that are behind the structures that are now a legacy.


Declaration Certificate Acknowledgement Abstract Contents 1. Overview




1.2. Aim


1.2.1. Scope & Limitations 1.3. Methodology 2. Minimalism

2 2 3

2.1. Concepts of Minimalism


2.2. Elements of Minimalist Design


3. Mies


3.1. Life & Work


3.2. Career


3.3. Principles & Philosophies


3.4. Furniture


3.4.1. Tugendhat Chair


3.4.2. Barcelona Chair


3.4.3. Barcelona Couch


3.4.4. X-Table/Barcelona Table


3.4.5. Barcelona Stool


3.4.6. Brno Chair


3.4.7. MR Chair


3.4.8. MR Chaise Lounge Chair


3.5. Realized Works


3.5.1. Barcelona Pavilion


[a]. Construction


[b]. Planning


3.5.2. Farnsworth House


[a]. Site


[b]. Planning


[c]. Structure


[d]. Other Materials


[e]. Internal Environment


[f]. Rainwater Drainage


3.5.3. Seagram Building


[a]. Planning & Designing


[b]. Structure


[c]. Materials


4. Tadao Ando


4.1. Life


4.2. Career & Works


4.3. Principles & Philosophies


4.4. Realized Works


4.4.1. Koshino House


[a]. Site


[b]. Planning & Design


[c]. Materials


[d]. Natural Lighting


[e]. Integrity with surroundings


[f]. Additions


4.4.2. Church of Light


[a]. Site


[b]. Concept


[c]. Planning & Design


[d]. Construction


5. Inferences


List of Figures




Chapter 1

large scale, the architects of that period


rebuilding and hence a simple and clean

were basically inclined towards faster

approach was followed. This helped in speeding up the construction process and also minimalism in architecture


came into being.

Modernism in architecture has persisted

There have been many architects,

for many decades now. It has evolved

designers, artists who have contributed

from being just a theory of design to

to this particular style of design

being the nerve of the building. The

philosophy. The late 20th century saw

theories and principles of various

collaborations between designers and

architects of the


century and

that of the contemporary architects have

architects to achieve the best possible design which is simple on its own.

given a wider perspective on the present scenario of the trends in modern architecture. There have been many developments and leads in the modern era of architecture,





techniques, technologies, methods and other aspects by which the character of the





Different personalities have different philosophies and definition of their type of work. In the 20th century, the major deriving factor in the design and shape of the





Figure 1 Social Housing in Monte Hacho by MGM

destruction due to World Wars. The World Wars led to rebuilding of almost whole of the city/town. As it was on a 1|Study of Principles & Works of Architects

designers and architects. Therefore, the

1.2 AIM The aim of this study is to familiarise with the basics of the modern architecture. It focuses on the principles and ways by which architects like Mies van der Rohe and Tadao Ando followed to achieve the fine quality in the buildings. The study also




procedures, materials and several other aspects that involve in the construction of a building.

project and not from the works of other minimal architects.

1.3 METHODOLOGY Almost all of the study is conducted on the basis of desk study and case study. The data for the scope of this study is already published on various sorces

the report. The study was conducted by

The study has a limited scope for the study yet has a wider perspective on the conceptions of modern architecture. This study focuses on the characteristics minimalism

of the architects being studied in the

mentioned in the bibliography chapter of



conclusions are derived from the works

in architecture,






publications and churning out the conclusions





The case studies are also undertaken on

elements and the basic fundamentals

the basis of previously accumulated

behind designing a minimal structure.

data, either on the internet or in the

These fundamentals are supported by

books. The case studies are critically

the case studies of works of two

reviewed and several inferences, like

prominent minimal architects; Ludwig

planning, materials, structure, etc. are

Mies van der Rohe and Tadao Ando. The

derived from the review. Using a project

case studies have provided in-depth

for example, it gives a full picture of the

knowledge about the basics of this part

end-user’s experience of the project

of architecture.

inputs, processes and results, providing a

This study is limited to minimalism regardless of other designing principles. Also, the works studied in the case studies are of two of the many minimal 2|Report

powerful way to demonstrate the benefits of the project to those who are thinking of being a part of it.

Chapter 2

design and architecture. One of the


approach is De Stijl. He expanded his

Minimalism is the way or style of making an art form that says for itself in the

major references for the minimal

ideas by meticulously organizing basic geometric shapes, lines and linear planes.

simplest manner. It defines the nature of the subject with utter simplicity and with

“Where did Minimalism come from?”

its core fundamentals. The basic goal of

Contrary to what you might think,

a minimalist design is to strip off the

minimalism was never inspired by

elements to its fundamental features.

poverty and austerity. In fact, it’s

This is where the motto Less Is More is

frequently considered a style of the

derived. These word may be interpreted

super-rich. The attitude is: I can have

for different meanings. For instance, in

anything, but I won’t clutter my home;

the commercial world many insist on

instead, I will acquire only the most

architectural control and minimalist

elegant, simple objects available.

architecture is a concept for not being disempowered. Let's say that "less is more can have an industrial goal (do more with less) or an aesthetic goal. Sometimes it has both. The desire to strip architecture to its essential elements, at times for technical reasons but often with religious, spiritual or aesthetic goals in mind, has existed for thousands of years in countless cultures and civilizations. Minimalism has often burst upon the scene as a reaction to the corruption of religious or secular power and is the signal of the return to essential values. Minimalist design is highly

Figure 2 White Wolf Hotel by AND-RÉ

influenced by the traditional Japanese 3|Study of Principles & Works of Architects

It is simple in form and function, devoid





of pointless decorations, yet expensive.

aesthetics of that structure, both inside

You would never say minimalism is a

and outside. A similar sentiment was

cheap option. Formally, minimalism is

conveyed by industrial designer Dieter

1960s and 1970s invention. However, De

Rams’ principle “Less but Better”, which

Stijl and traditional Japanese design

is adapted from Mies’ principles.

could be considered predecessors of Minimalist architectural designers focus


on the connection between two perfect De Stijl (Dutch for “The Style“), also

planes, the lighting (classy and elegant)

known as neoplasticism, was an artistic

and the voids left by the removal of those

movement in the Netherlands. It began

elements which are stripped off. More

in 1917 and faded around 1931. Its

aesthetically pleasing home designs are


not truly minimalistic as these use much





Doesburg who died in 1931, and this


basically marked the end for the De Stijl

conventional designs. Also the spaces in

movement. This movement existed only

these designs are larger.

for a short time but layed the foundations of minimalism.




2.1 CONCEPTS OF MINIMALISM The basic concept of any minimalist

The major principles advocated by De

design is to strip everything down to its

Stijl movement are simplified visual

essential quality and achieve simplicity.



The idea is not to leave the design with

horizontal directions, and use of only

no ornamentation at all, but all those

primary colors (together with black and

parts, joinery and details are considered


to reduce to a stage where no one can




Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe adopted the principle of “Less Is More”

remove anything further to improve the design.


Minimalist architects not only look into

arranging components of a building to

the physical quantities of the building.


They have a more elaborate approach.










Figure 3 Kuehn Malvezzi - House of Prayer and Learning Figure 4 House for Gudrun by Sven Matt

Figure 5 Farnsworth House - Mies van der Rohe

5|Study of Principles & Works of Architects

They look deeply into the spiritual

further. Never settle on your first

dimension and the invisible, by listening

draft; instead, cut elements one-by-

to the figure and paying attention to the

one until your design no longer meets

details, the people, space, its nature and

its goal. Remember that minimalist

the materials used in that space. This

designs uses the fewest elements

reveals the abstract quality of anything in

possible to achieve its goal.

that space and one can feel the design by its simplicity and essence of the space. The design also opens up to the surrounding environment. The essence of that space, be it interior or exterior, is defined by the natural elements such as natural light, air and earth. These elements,









between building and the environment in which it exists.

 Essence: the elements which designer thinks would please and would leave an







included. The essential part of the design would be that the designer leaves in.  Details: all the details that a designer includes should give that feeling (modern,



sophisticated and so forth) to the visitor that you want to feel when you

The concepts of minimalism can be easily differentiated. The following are some of the characteristics of a minimalist design:

are in that space.  Large spaces: the design principle follows an open-planning style of floor plans which makes out more

 Omit needless things: don’t include

space throughout the building. The

unnecessary elements in the design.

open planning helps to achieve a

Only include what is necessary to the


form and function of the design.

without partition walls create a

 Reductive approach: remove the elements in the design until it stops



barrier free environment.  Surroundings:



working the way it should. The point

environment also plays an important

right before that is when one would

role in determining a minimal design.

achieve the most minimalist design

The site environment should be

possible that cannot be improved

integrated with the building so that


there is a connection to nature and so

and essential quality. After all the

that people don’t feel trapped in a


box with a large space.

feasible approach is achieved, the



 White spaces: White space is key to a

elements of design have to be taken care

great minimalist design because the

of. Usually, these elements are used to

absence of clutter helps viewers focus

emphasize the essence of the space.

on the content.






 Purposeful design: Every graphic,

furniture, artefacts, sculptures, wall

image, and content element should

murals, paintings, etc. Movement of

have a clearly defined purpose. It’s

natural daylight throughout the space

important to understand the goal of

gives an emphasis on the clean spaces

your design before you create it, so

and simple linear planes. Minimalist

you can ensure that only those

architects seek essence and simplicity by

elements that serve your end-goal



common and simple materials.

These are some basic fundamentals that can be applied to achieve a simple and minimal design. These practices can help to provide the simplest of the simplest designs. Also there are several other aspects like elements of design that judge the concept of minimalism.









simplification of form. As a result, you can’t expect complex shapes and all the subtle shades of a color you never knew existed. The use of color palettes and shapes varies through time. De Stijl artists limited themselves to squares, rectangles, horizontal and vertical lines


and primary colors. The minimalists of


today use more complex shapes and





elements convey a message of simplicity. The basic geometric forms, elements without


simple materials and repetition of

richer color palettes. Nevertheless,





minimalists to use clean, simple shapes and color palettes that are either limited to multiple shades of one color.

elements represents a sense of order 7|Study of Principles & Works of Architects

Figure 6 Reykjavik House - Moomoo Architects

Figure 7 A church in Germany built with several arches and ellipses, an example of geometrical shapes being used in minimal design


Figure 8 Villa Extramuros In Arraiolos, Alentejo by Vora Arquitectura

These elements play an important role in

for different use of a space as well as

creating an aesthetically pleasing space:

create an integrity among themselves

 Shapes: basic geometrical shapes like

so that it doesn’t look like the spaces

square, rectangle, circle, etc. are the basis of the planning of space. This ensures the most simple design and  Colours: the appearance of a certain feature of the building depends the it






The or

complimentary nature of the space with respect to the element used depends totally upon the colour of that




artefacts are selected on the basis of the



colour. design

materials differently. Some prefer simple materials while some prefer extravagant material to accentuate

maximum surface area.


are divided. Different designers use

Accordingly, incorporates

minimal use of color. Colors should be used to draw attention to specific words or design elements, either to help convey a mood or motivate a

their simple space.  Furniture:





important part of a minimal design, for obvious reasons. The type of furniture used in the space gives the interior its own identity. The colour, shape size, scale and proportion all matter when selecting the furniture. Furniture that is low to the ground creates a modern look and also reflects the Japanese influences in the style. Use furnishings that do not take up too much space and provide only what is necessary, such as a resting area made up of simple chairs and large floor pillows or a bed that sits

response.  Lighting: it is one of the key aspects of highlighting


low to the ground with a simple wooden surround.

features/elements of the interiors

 Windows: Windows are a major

and also of the exteriors. Use of

design element in minimalist design.

lighting in landscape is a very

Large windows work best because

common practice.

they allow the space to virtually

 Materials: the materials can be used wisely so that they “divide” the space






surroundings. Fussy blinds or curtains

9|Study of Principles & Works of Architects

are usually not used. If you prefer to use blinds or curtains, choose natural wood or bamboo shades and sheer curtains. Keep windows clean to prevent build-up that may block an outdoor view.


Walls: Walls are usually white in minimalist interior design. The idea is to create a space that looks clean, which is why white pairs so well with the style. Pale terra-cottas, neutrals or colors reflecting the surrounding nature may also be used on the walls, as long as they are not distracting or make the space feel enclosed. Storage may be hidden in the walls, such as a large closet that is covered by reflective mirror doors made in a way to accent the design.





provide visual interest in the space. Bolder colors and designs can be used in the accessories because they are small and not too distracting. Make use of materials such as chrome and steel to create a look of cleanliness and wood or clay to bring in a touch of nature. Only the minimal amount of accessories should be used to avoid clutter. 10 | R e p o r t

mature buildings made use of modern

Chapter 3






and plate glass to define interior spaces.


He strove toward an architecture with a minimal framework of structural order

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (born Maria

balanced against the implied freedom of

Ludwig Michael Mies; March 27, 1886 –

free-flowing open space. He called his

August 17, 1969) was a German-

buildings "skin and bones" architecture.

American architect. He is commonly

He sought a rational approach that

referred to and was addressed as Mies,

would guide the creative process of



architectural design, but he was always

Corbusier, Walter Gropius and Frank

concerned with expressing the spirit of

Lloyd Wright, he is widely regarded as

the modern era. He is often associated

one of the pioneering masters of modern

with his quotation of the aphorisms,


"less is more" and "God is in the details".




3.1 LIFE & WORK He developed a new language of architecture after he served in the World War 1 from 1915-1918. He continued to build within his established ideas, though, Mies increasingly concerned himself with theoretical questions on the nature





Mies, like many of his post-World War

dissolution of his marriage with Ada

I contemporaries, sought to establish a

Bruhn in 1921, he designed five projects

new architectural style that could

in the course of four years, none of which



were realized. They are recognized as

as Classical and Gothic did for their own

the famous “Five Projects”. The first of

eras. He created an influential twentieth-

the five projects was a glass skyscraper

century architectural style, stated with

for a building site in Berlin-Mitte. This

extreme clarity and simplicity. His

was one of the most radical projects of



11 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s

his entire career. Four of his “Five



collaborator until 1938. In this exhibition,










magazine G in early 1920s. The idea of


clear construction as a pre-condition was

Weissenhofsiedlung, with a load bearing

revealed here. Mies addressed one of


the “five projects” as: “We know no

apartments with non-structural partition

forms, only building problems. Form is

walls and flexible floor plans. It was then

not the goal but the result of our work.

that Mies discovered a new design






system, which would be critical for his future works- a compositional system that produced an open plan with fluid transitions between spaces and an implied sense of spatial organization. After World War I, Mies began, while still designing traditional neoclassical homes, a parallel experimental effort. He joined his avant-garde peers in the long-running search for a new style that would be suitable for the modern industrial age. The weak points of traditional styles had Figure 9 Weissenhofsiedlung, Stuttgart (1927)

been under attack by progressive There is no form in and for itself. Form as goal is formalism…which we reject. Nor do we strive for a style. It is our specific concern to liberate building activity from aesthetic speculators and make a





century, primarily for the contradictions of




technology with a facade of ornamented traditional styles.

building again what alone it should be, a BUILDING.”

The mounting criticism of the historical styles

It was in 1927, when Mies was directing “The Dwelling”, an exhibition in the Werkbund, that he met Lily Reich. She

12 | R e p o r t




credibility after World War I, a disaster widely seen as a failure of the old world order of imperial leadership of Europe.

The aristocratic classical revival styles


were particularly reviled by many as the

neoclassical design practice Mies began



to develop visionary projects that,

discredited and outmoded social system.

though mostly unbuilt, rocketed him to


fame as an architect capable of giving








completely new architectural design




form that was in harmony with the spirit of the emerging modern society. Boldly abandoning ornament altogether, Mies made a dramatic modernist debut with his stunning competition proposal for the



glass FriedrichstraĂ&#x;e skyscraper in 1921, followed by a taller curved version in 1922 named the Glass Skyscraper.

Figure 10 Riehl House, Potsdam (1907)

He continued with a series of pioneering process guided by rational problemsolving and an exterior expression of modern materials and structure rather than,









projects, European temporary




masterworks: German


two the for

the Barcelona exposition (often called the Barcelona Pavilion) in 1929 (a 1986 reconstruction is now built on the


original site) and the elegant Villa Tugendhat in Brno, Czech Republic, completed in 1930. He joined the German avant-garde, working with the progressive design magazine G which started in July 1923. Figure 11 Tugendhat House, Potsdam (1930)





architectural director of the Werkbund, organizing the influential Weissenhof Estate prototype modernist housing 13 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s

exhibition. He was also one of the

pure use of color, and the extension of



space around and beyond interior walls

association Der Ring. He joined the

expounded by the Dutch D Stijl group. In

avant-garde Bauhaus design school as

particular, the layering of functional sub-

their director of architecture, adopting

spaces within an overall space and the


distinct articulation of parts as expressed






application of simple geometric forms in

by Gerrit Rietveld appealed to Mies.

the design of useful objects. He served as

The German Pavilion, Barcelona and the

its last director.

Villa Tugendhat in 1929 and 1930 respectively,








buildings were radically the developed form of his idea of open, free space that he derived from the exhibition in Stuttgart. These buildings emerged as a Figure 12 Bauhaus School, Germany of which Mies overtook the directorship in 1933

notion of dynamic space and went on to be the core inspiration behind his later works.

Like many other avant-garde architects of the day, Mies based his architectural mission





understanding and interpretation of ideas developed by theorists and critics who pondered the declining relevance of the





selectively adopted theoretical ideas

Figure 13 German Pavilion (best- known as Barcelona Pavilion), Barcelona (1929)



After he moved into the United States,

of Russian Constructivism with their

his work changed radically, although the












assembly of modern industrial materials.

designed two private houses of lasting

Mies found appeal in the use of simple

significance and only one of those under

rectilinear and planar forms, clean lines, 14 | R e p o r t

commission from a client. The second

viewed the exhibitions of Frank Lloyd

project that he undertook was an entire

Wright's Wasmuth Portfolio, Mies was

campus of the IIT, Chicago which brought

enthralled with the free-flowing spaces

up the issues of type-solution and


modular design to the centre of his

encompass their outdoor surroundings



as demonstrated by the open floor plans

technological advancements to the

of the Wright's American Prairie Style.

building with an increased volume of

American engineering structures were

commissions coming into Mies’s office.

also held up to be exemplary of the
















construction on an unprecedented scale.

construction, and its skyscrapers were

Details studied by Mies in these years

greatly admired.

included steel-to-steel, steel-to-brick and steel-to-glass connections.

Mies earlier conceptual interests were also transformed by new working

The design theories of Adolf Loos found

condition. In Germany, his clients were

resonance with Mies, particularly the

usually private individuals and public

ideas of replacing elaborate applied

constellations, in the United States his


clients demanded less art and more




straightforward display of innate visual qualities of materials and forms. Loos had proposed that art and crafts should be entirely independent of architecture, that the architect should no longer control those cultural elements as the Beaux Arts principles had dictated. Mies also admired his ideas about the nobility that could be found in the anonymity of modern life. The bold work of American architects was greatly admired by European architects. Like other architects who 15 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s

design and construction also occupies Mies’s attention in the many high-rise building of his years of work in America. The high rise buildings require carefully detailed building skin. This problem of vertical, rather than horizontal plane involved




engineering solutions. Codes demanding fire retardant for steel structure over one story high introduced an extra layer between the building’s structure and its exterior skin. He confronted this new condition in his new 2 story buildings of IIT, devising some of his most brilliant Figure 14 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments, Chicago (1951)

durability and reliability. Mies worked for the developers in the residential projects and not private individuals. This way Mies began to develop the archetypes of the modern capitalism. Mies developed a system where building skin and frame were once again connected to each other, in his buildings for IIT. He also developed integrated system of modules as determinants of a architectural space. The buildings he made there show the advantages of a system that allowed a large degree of similitude in architectural solutions with an equal flexibility to accommodate difference the challenge of modular 16 | R e p o r t

and best solutions in response to it. The load bearing structure is echoed in nonstructural steel elements on building’s skin, depicting the encased steelwork frame on the façade and at the corners of the building. Thus Mies’s earlier ideas of importance of a clear conceptual structure came out in the buildings of IIT. In the Barcelona pavilion, he covered the cruciform columns with chrome wrap, creating a conceptual structure over the engineered structure to give it a different meaning. In the skyscrapers he build in America, conceptual structures depicted an





presented the complex engineering of his high rise designs as he wished them

to be understood. This was a process

with its most essential concentrated

that developed over the years. His task

face. It also suggests the importance of

became clear over the years of work that

public sphere through its location on

he had to make buildings carry an idea

Park Avenue.

Figure 15 S.R. Crown Hall, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago (1956)






A group of conceptual works spanning

dependant on the literal truth rather on

over the years make an interesting

a clear structural idea.

comparison with famous “Five Projects�.

The theoretical decisions could only be implemented late in his work, but it reinforces




between early and late modernism, between pre-war European and post war American




building was undoubtedly the finest high rise building designed by Mies in this paradigmatic




represents the architecture of capitalism

Mies used these projects to test out new ideas. These theoretical works share a common constructional theme: the separation of roof and its support from the spatial events found beneath. The creation





constituted a significant engineering challenge, but we might also note the philosophical




process, which occupied so much of

17 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s

Mies’s attention. Mies created one-room

one position in German architecture

buildings beyond mundane purpose or

culture until the late 1930s, and quite a



different one across the ocean in Chicago


after 1938, when he moved to the

constraint. We might contrast this idea

United States. A marvellous talent from a

of empty space, increasingly more

provincial far from the cosmopolitan of

urgent as the years went by, with very

Berlin, he made his mark through ability

different task of the IIT campus that had

and strength of character, without the

confronted him upon his arrival in 1938.

aid of wealth or an elite status and

But we might also note the overall design

education. In contrast, from the time he

stratergy and usable for a wide variety of

arrived in Chicago, Mies had an eminent

individual purposes.

reputation as one of the most talented




activity, from

Over the last twenty years of his life, Mies developed and built his vision of a monumental




architecture that reflected his goal to provide the individual a place to fulfil himself in the modern era. Mies sought

modern architects of Europe and an expert on progressive European culture. He was absorbed in a single task throughout his life; to the find the solution to new architectural problems of an industrialized age.

to create free and open spaces, enclosed

Mies left the Cathedral School in Aachen

within a structural order with minimal

in 1899 and started working as an

presence. On 17th August 1969, Ludwig

apprentice at local building sites and

Mies van der Rohe breathed his last.

developed skills in freehand sketching at

After cremation, his ashes were buried

a company that specialized in decorative

near Chicago's other famous architects

plasterwork. He arrived in Berlin in 1905

in Chicago's Graceland Cemetery. His

and by the time he arrived here, he could

grave is marked by a simple black slab of

draft at full scale on a vertical drawing

granite and a large Honey locust tree.

board, lay bricks and carve stone.


While working as a draftsman for

Mies’ career was definitely shaped by the events of 20th century. He occupied

18 | R e p o r t

architect Bruno Paul, he studied from 1906 to 1908. Mies was around 20 when he received his first commission in 1906.

It was a house to be built for philosophy

works of Frank Lloyd Wright, possibly at

professor Alois Riehl and his wife Sophie

a lecture in 1910 in Berlin. Another



important influence on Mies analysed

Neubabelsburg. He became friends with

the writings of Dutch architect Hendrik

Riehls in the course of this project. Alois

Petrus Berlage. Mies stated that it was

also opened up a new world for the

Berlage who imparted him the idea of










industrialists, writers, philosophers and artist as he was a regular guest of the Riehl family.





fundamentals we should accept.” In 1912, Mies established his own business in Berlin. He was aided by his marriage to Ada Bruhn in 1913. As he pursued




artistic circles, Mies continued to build private houses for well-to-do clients, mostly in the Berlin and Potsdam suburbs. It was after he dissolved his marriage to Ada Bruhn in 1921, he designed the famous “Five Projects”. These five projects catapulted him into the avantgrade. The year 1926 marked a turning point for Mies. At the age of 40 he assumed vice presidency of German The success of this commission helped Mies’ 1908 entry into the atelier of Peter Beherns, who was at the time one of the most important architects in Europe. Mies claimed that Beherns taught him the significance of “The Great Form” which is evident in Beherns’ Turbine Hall of 1909. He was first exposed to the

Werkbund, a position he would hold till 1932. He was well positioned as a central figure in German architecture and in the fledging movement for international modernism



intellectuals in the Europe. At this time, he was commissioned to direct “The Dwelling” which was a major exhibition

19 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s

slated to take place in Stuttgart in 1927.

like us, substantially. Due to his

This was the first of many collaborations

increasing reputation and role in German

with Lily Reich, who would be his

cultural politics, he was even offered the

companion until 1938. The exhibition

directorship of Bauhaus in 1930. The use

worked as a demonstration of the works

of progressive art in other media framed

of Neues Bauen. Mies was an essential

Bauhaus, resulting in threatening of

member to this group of modernists.

closure in 1930. Mies gratefully accepted

Mies himself called the year 1926 the most “significant” one of his career. It was the year in which Mies made new grounds in the handling of space, distancing himself from the materialist position of 1920s in favour of the more idealist one. After the new experience of space he discovered from the exhibition, he






developed form in the 1929 German






counterpart Hannes Meyer. Though in 1931 the new council passed a resolution to close the school. Mies and his students took refuge in an old factory building




continued to work from there until it finally closed down in 1933 as a result of the National Socialist assumption of power.

Pavilion in Barcelona and in 1920 Villa

Most of the Neues Bauen architects



emigrated after the closure, though Mies


remained until 1938. Mies visited the


Brno. buildings

These brought

international attention.

United States in 1937 to meet a potential

There was an increased criticism of Mies’s and Neues Bauen’s architects’ work after 1927, first having material effect after the financial crisis of 1929, and resulting in decreasing commissions for Neues Bauen architects in the early

client. MoMA trustee Helen Resor knew his work from the International Style exhibition held in 1932. Mies accepted the offer of directorship of the Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago. He was appointed as the head of department of architecture.

years of 1930s.




curriculum and necessitated the design The





exhibition were Mies’s most productive years and influenced future generations, 20 | R e p o r t

needs of the newly enlarged campus.

As much as Mies’s working and living

year, he completed the promenade and

conditions changed after moving to

Esplanade Apartments in Chicago.

America, and as much as he was now confronted




challenges, he continued with his earlier years also emerged with the importance. The later projects reflect Mies’s early statements about essential qualities of modern architecture.

The following year he designed the Bacardi Office building in Santiago and Cuba (unbuilt). Many other projects like the much-known Seagram building, New York and Cullinan Hall, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas was also completed.

In 1944, Mies became a permanent resident of America and was also offered the citizenship of the United States. It was then in 1947 that he completed the Perlstein Hall and the Wishnick Hall at IIT. Monographic exhibition of Mies’s work was organized at the Museum of Modern

Figure 16 Farnsworth House, Fox River, Chicago (1951)

Art of which the installations were designed by Mies. The next groundbreaking work of Mies came in 1951. It was the Farnsworth House which is now one of the best-known works of Mies along with Barcelona Pavilion, Seagram Building and others. He also completed the Lake Shore Drive apartments in Illinois, Chicago. In 1956 he completed the Crown Hall at the IIT which is by far the finest and minimalist work done by Mies. In 1957 Mies was awarded with the nedal and membership of German society “Pour le

Figure 17 The Seagram Building, New York (1958)

metrite for science and arts” in the same 21 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s

industrial concerns of his modernist contemporaries and an aesthetic drive toward minimal intersecting planes – rejecting the traditional systems of enclosed of rooms and relying heavily on glass to dissolve the boundary between the building’s interior and exterior. The Figure 18 The Toronto Dominion Centre, Toronto (1969)

purity of Mies’s architecture is almost



surprising in light the diversity of his

directorship of Illinois Institute of

interests. An auto-didactic, Mies studied

technology and hence he loses all the

philosophy and science as well as design.

commission work that he was assigned

He focused on building structures that

for the campus building. His collaborator

reflected the modern context and

and developer, Herbert Greenwald died

creating a space that is both flexible as

in a plane crash the same year. In 1963,

well as functional. He included limited

Mies received the Presidential Medal of

spaces which were enclosed within the

Freedom from Lyndon B. Johnson.

confines of walls.





Lafayette Towers at Lafayette Park in Detroit, Michigan were also completed in the same year. In 1968, Mies completed the New National Gallery in Berlin and in ’69 he completed the Dominion centre in Toronto, Canada. This building marked the last structure that Mies designed and built. All the other works were posthumous.

Mies had developed the concept of “less is more”. The minimalist approach towards design and architecture during the 1930s helped him to realize what he wanted to work on. He was intrigued by the idea of having larger and multipurpose spaces that would be devoid of the mess and clutter of small and closed spaces. This concept can be seen in his later projects like Barcelona Pavilion, Farnsworth House, Seagram Building and


many others. He created designs that

Mies began to develop this style through

had a seamless flow between the

the 1920s, combining the functionalist

interiors and exteriors of the building,

22 | R e p o r t

which he achieved by integrating the

furniture to “divide” the space for its

elements and materials of indoors and


outdoors. He believed that “a man should be close to its surroundings and


nature” and hence built structures that

As Mies believed that furniture played an

were perpetually transparent and the

important role in defining the space, he

integrity with its surroundings was

designed exclusive furniture for most of

possible. The concept of fluid space is

his projects. Comfort and exclusivity of

further embodied in the design of his

the furniture pieces was what Mies gave

Barcelona Pavilion, where movable glass

stress on. The material used for furniture

and marble partitions allowed for space

is always in context to the color scheme

to be seen as flexible and independent of

and theme of the building it was made

the structure itself. Here once again the


glass provides enclosure, but does not

fine craftsmanship, a mix of traditional

detract from the architectural idea of a

luxurious fabrics like leather combined

series of perpendicular planes beneath a

with modern chrome frames, and a

flat roof.

distinct separation of the supporting

Mies’s buildings were referred to be of the “skin and bones” architecture due to extensive use of steel and glass for the construction of buildings. After he moved to the United States, almost all of his designs included steel structure and glass walls. Use of glass also ensured openness and integrity of the space.






structure and the supported surfaces, often employing cantilevers to enhance the feeling of lightness created by delicate structural frames. Almost all of the furniture that he designed was in Germany as in Germany he was more involved in commissions from private individuals for their residences. There were several pieces of furniture that

The idea of giving a space a specific

Mies designed over the course of his


architectural career.





function helped him to achieve the most minimal design possible. Mies believed


that furniture played a vital role in

Seeking to make a comfortable lounge

defining the spaces and so he used

chair that maintained the restraint of his

23 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s

minimalist aesthetic, Mies arrived at the


Tugendhat. Here, the cushions of the

substances. The Barcelona Chair attests

Barcelona meet the cantilever frame of

to his mastery of form, function, and

the MR, arriving at an elegant solution to

beauty. The frame was initially designed

the overstuffed club chair.


In appearance, the Tugendhat chair is somewhat of a hybrid of van der Rohe and Reich's 1929 Barcelona chair and 1929-1930 Brno chair. Like the Barcelona chair, the Tugendhat chair has a large padded leather seat and back, supported by





a steel frame and legs. However, like one variant of the Brno chair, the frame is flat solid steel, formed under into a C-shape under the seat to create a cantilever. Versions exist with or without leatherpadded steel arms. The metal was originally




modern examples are often chromeplated. 3.4.2 BARCELONA CHAIR Perhaps the most iconic work from Mies' oeuvre, the Barcelona Chair at once gives life to and is born from its materials. Like the MR and Brno Chairs, it is composed of steel and leather. The steel bar legs ease up and over to support the seat and back of the chair. Mies' gift was to endow

24 | R e p o r t









redesigned in 1950 using stainless steel, which allowed the frame to be formed by a seamless piece of metal, giving it a smoother appearance. Bovine leather replaced the ivory-colored pigskin which was used for the original pieces. 3.4.3 BARCELONA COUCH The Barcelona Couch was first used in the New York apartment of Architect Phillip Johnson in 1930. Scholars cite Lilly Reich as a co-designer. The Barcelona Couch shares the same simple elegance as the iconic lounge chair of the same name. Mies van der Rohe's command of line and material in all medium, from architecture to furniture, helped define the modern vocabulary. Reich also designed the interiors for the Johnson project. Designed in 1930 a year after the chair — and the pavilion for which it was created — debuted, this rectangular couch is basically flat, with a top made from 74 individually-cut, hand-welted, and hand-tufted panels from a single

Figure 20 The Tugendhat Chair

Figure 19The Brno Chair, which was designed for the Tugendhat House, Brno, Czechoslovakia.

Figure 21 The Barcelona Chair, Barcelona Couch, Barcelona Stool and the X-Table/Barcelona Table in a living room. These four pieces of furniture are a part of the Barcelona Pavilion and were also used in the Tugendhat House, Brno

25 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s

cowhide, a Sapele Mahogany platform,

chromed-steel frame is hand buffed to

polished stainless steel legs, and a single

mirror-like perfection.

cylindrical cushion at one end.






Made of steel and leather, the Brno Chair the

expresses Mies' regard for simplicity. The

Barcelona Chair, Mies Van Der Rohe's


chrome and glass table design exudes

Czechoslovakia, where it debuted in the

modern style and simple sophistication.

Tugendhat House. The Brno chair has

The X Table made its first appearance in

become a modern furniture classic. It has

the Tugendhat House.











a steel frame in a single piece, bent into a C-shape from the middle of the back,

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona

round past the front edge of seat (to

Chair and Stool (1929), originally created

create arms), and back under the seat to

to furnish his German Pavilion at the

create a cantilever, with taut seat and

International Exhibition in Barcelona,

back upholstered in leather. There are

have come to epitomize modern design.

two versions of the chair, one in tubular

Mies van der Rohe designed the chair to

steel and the other in flat steel. The

serve as seating for the king and queen

metal was originally polished stainless

of Spain, while the stool was intended to


accommodate their attendants. Still

are chrome plated.




produced to his original specifications, Barcelona is of quality fit for royalty. The

3.4.7 MR CHAIR

cushions – welting and buttons included

Marcel Breuer, Mies' peer at the

– come from a single Spinneybeck Volo

Bauhaus, constructed the first tubular

cowhide and are supported by cowhide

chair in 1925. It became known as the

belting straps, dyed to match the color of

"Wassily," for another Bauhaus member,

the stool. To create the deep, precise

Wassily Kandinsky, and marked a shift in

tufting, individual panels of leather are

modern furniture design. Soon after,

cut, hand welted and hand tufted. The

Mies created the MR Chair. By reducing the chair to its main parts and

26 | R e p o r t

Figure 22 The MR Chaise Lounge Chair. There were two versions of this chair made; one with adjustable seat and the other was fixed. It was a part of the MR furniture range designed by Mies.

Figure 23 The MR Chair in Tugendhat house, Brno

27 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s

reconfiguring their relation to each

Mies van der Rohe. The material choice

other—clearly delineating the leather

was inspired by fellow Bauhaus master

seat and back supports from the metal

Marcel Breuer, while the forms are

frame—he arrived at a fluid, refined

thought to be modern derivatives of

cantilever form.

19th century iron rocking chairs.

When it debuted, the chair was both lauded for its aesthetic accomplishments and laughed at for its aeronautical


tendencies: the chair would propel the

He designed the Barcelona Pavilion, a

sitter forward should he try to stand up.

German Pavilion for the International

This has since been fixed.

Exposition in Barcelona, in 1929. This

The MR Chair is available as a side chair,



Germany in the international exhibition





adjustable chaise lounge.




and was used for the official opening. It is a building of great importance in the


history of modern architecture, with its

Like the MR Chair, the MR Lounge Chair features tubular stainless steel and a cantilever frame. Mies began with the






fancy as





iron rocking chairs that were the

The building was meant to represent

standard in 19th century Europe. He

Germany in a democratic, and culturally



prospering country, after the recovery of

materials and a minimalist aesthetic. This

World War I. So, Mies has to design a

was another instance in which the

pavilion to be the ‘voice to the spirit of a

architect reused a conventional, classic

new era’. In that way, the concept should

form to produce a work of sheer

be realized under the principles of free

innovation. The MR Lounge exists as a

plan and the flow between rooms.




chaise lounge, an armchair, an armless chair, and an adjustable chaise lounge. The MR Collection represents some of the earliest steel furniture designs by 28 | R e p o r t

The site where the building is situated is a quiet place at the side of a wide diagonal axis, close to one of the

Figure 24 Floor Plan of the Barcelona Pavilion

29 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s





Spanish Village.

contrast with one of the yellow walls but has political statement as well showing

“The design was predicated on an

German colors.

absolute distinction between structure and





cruciform steel columns interspersed by freely spaced planes”. Nevertheless, the structure was more of hybrid style, with a very simple floor plan. The architect’s aim was for the building to be an

[a] CONSTRUCTION The building rested on a plinth of travertine with a southern U-shaped enclosure of the same material leading into a small annex. The building’s roof plate was carried by cruciform, chrome wrapped columns giving an impression

expression of tranquillity.

of hovering roof and disclosing the nonEven though it is visually simple floor

supporting character of the walls. Plates

plan, its complexity comes from the

of high grade stone like Tinos-Marble,

strategic layout of walls. Unforced

Vert-Antique Marble and onyx dore as



well as tinted glass performed the

throughout the space happens naturally

exclusive function of spacious dividers,

without clear knowledge of the visitor.

sliding under the roof plate creating a

Walls are not there as bare structural

floating transition between space.



support but rather spatial dividers and “directors” of the space.


Another interesting element Van Der

For the first time in his career, Mies

Rohe considered while building the

carried out entirely at the Pavilion,

pavilion (in bare 8 months) was his

consisted of the realization of the “free

selective choice of materials and colors.

plan” and “floating rooms”. A large water

Glass, travertine, marble, onyx and steel

basin sprawled out towards the south-

were his only few choices. As far as colors

east. Its floor slabs project over the edge

selection, Van Der Rohe let the natural

and gives an impression that water’s

materials speak for themselves and

surface continues underneath the plinth.

added only black rug and red curtains in

A second smaller basin was situated on

one area of the pavilion which not only

30 | R e p o r t

Figure 25 View of Barcelona Pavilion showing the roof, large water basin and the stone on the edge of basin.

the north side, where the plinth is

before the larger pool planted with lilies

bordered by a green marble.

then turns to enter the building. A

The circulation routes through the

narrow entry corridor flanked by green

various spaces of the building complex

marble slabs on the left and the eastern



outer glass wall on the right wall into the

coordinated with carefully composed

main interior space; a rectangular space

views. Ascending the stairs to the

cut by one long plane of onyx dore in

building’s podium, the visitor stands

front of which chairs and table sit on a



Figure 26 Interior view of the pavilion showing the furniture, the red silk curtain, onyx dore wall on the right of the furniture and the milky-glass wall lit by lighting.

31 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s

black carpet, shielded from the glass

for the visitor for momentary pause from

window-wall behind by a rich red silk


curtain. Left of the onyx wall is a ‘light-

International Exposition.

wall’; a translucent box of milky glass lit

It was planned as an exhibit in the

artificially from within. Like all the other

Exposition and so it was intended to exist

walls, this box wall also rises from the

only for a limited time. The small time-

floor to ceiling. Other wall elements

frame, budget and relatively outdated

break up the regularity of the wall

building methods on site was accounted

changing from glass to marble, leading

for some difficulties in construction and

the visitor to a small court open to the

some structural flaws, resulting in water

sky with the smaller pool. In this pool,

damage. Completed in 1929, it was torn

stands an over-life-size sculpture of “Der

down completely in 1930. Though, in

Morgan” (The Morning) by sculptor

1983, some Spanish architects, with the

Georg Kolbe. This sculpture rises from

help of photographs and careful study,

the water and gestures towards the

rebuilt the whole structure.

rising sun. Turning left, past the statue, the visitor re-enters the building behind a beautiful slab of onyx with a view down to the light box in the depth. One can also leave the interior here, walk down the long side of the back and away from statue. An exit to the right leeds directly to the “Spanish Town” assembly of the exhibition. Alternatively, visitor can also turn into a covered open space outside the glass box and overlooking the large pool again. Travertine bench along the side of pool invites a rest and a look back across the long back side. At the time it was constructed, the critics characterised the assemblage as an oasis 32 | R e p o r t




Figure 28 The covered space by the side of the large pool and the travertine benches.

Figure 27 Exclusively designed furniture for the Pavilion adjoining the onyx dore wall.

33 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s

3.5.2 FARNSWORTH HOUSE (1951) The Farnsworth house was an entirely steel and glass built structure that lies in near the secluded woods by the Fox River. This open glass house was Mies’s most radical domestic design. It was meant to serve as a weekend getaway house which deploys eight I-shaped columns to support roof and floors framework. The steel is highly finished

floor, and a roof. Welded to the leading edge of each plane are steel columns which keep them all suspended in midair. Because they do not rest on the columns, but merely touch them in passing, these horizontal elements seem to be held to their supports by magnetism. Floor and roof appear as opaque planes defining the top and bottom of a volume whose sides are

Figure 29 Farnsworth House, Illinois

and is painted in white, in a dramatic

simply large panels of glass. The

contrast to the black enamel paint which

Farnsworth House is, indeed, a quantity

was the staple of Mies in the IIT campus.

of air caught between a floor and a roof."

When built it was unlike any known

In spring the pavilion stands on a carpet

house, and a description written by the

of daffodils, in summer upon a green

American critic Arthur Drexler soon after

meadow, in autumn amid the glow of

its completion in 1951 captures its

golden foliage; and when the adjacent

essence: The Farnsworth House consists

river overflows the house resembles a

of three horizontal planes: a terrace, a

boat floating on the great expanse of

34 | R e p o r t

water. It is in effect a raised stage from

reality and becomes an exalted place for

which an entranced viewer may not

contemplation -safe, serene and perfect

merely observe ever-changing nature,

in all its smooth, machine-made details.

but almost experience the sensation of being within it.


It is Mies van der Rohe's last realized

The living room was extensive and

house, built to provide a cultivated and

tranquil, enclosed by glass walls so

well-to-do urbanite with a quiet retreat

transparent that the outer landscape

where she could enjoy nature and

and sky seemed almost to form the room

recover from the cares of work.

boundaries. The room was subtly zoned into conversation, dining, study and

[a] SITE

library areas by only two or three free-

In a low-lying meadow beside the Fox

standing partitions and a few precisely-

River at Piano, Illinois, stands a serene

placed pieces of furniture. It was virtually

pavilion of glass, steel and travertine.

empty except for these artwork-like

The house stands about 1.6 metres (just over 5 ft.)



surrounding meadow, leaving



completely undisturbed and giving its occupants a magnificent belvedere from



to the

Figure 30 Farnsworth House, Illinois during the Fox River floods. During the floods, the house can only be approached by a canoe.

surrounding woodland. The practical reason for the raised floor is that the meadow is a floodplain, but Mies has characteristically managed to transmute a technical solution to an aesthetic masterstroke. Being elevated,

items of furniture, and there was no allowance for pictures on the walls. In





Farnsworth House the colours were predominantly neutral and unassertive.

the house is detached from disorderly 35 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s

The floor was covered in creamy, off-


white linoleum. There was a black silk

The basic structure of Farnsworth House

curtain before the glass wall by the

consists of eight wide-flange steel

winter garden; a silver-grey silk curtain

stanchions, to which are welded two sets

before the main glass wall; the library

of fascia channels to form a perimeter

could be closed off by a white velvet

frame at roof level, and a similar

curtain; and a black velvet curtain ran

perimeter frame at floor level.

between the onyx wall and the winter

Sets of steel cross-girders D and E are



welded to the longitudinal channels, and

heightened the dramatic effect of a few

pre-cast concrete planks I and N placed

carefully devised focal points - the rich

upon these to form the roof and floor

black-and-brown ebony curved partition;

slabs respectively. The loading imposed

the tawny-gold onyx flat partition; the

upon C by the floor construction is

emerald-green leather, ruby-red velvet,

obviously greater than that imposed on

and white vellum furniture claddings;

B by the roof, but for the sake of visual

and the lush green jungle of plants filling

consistency Mies has made them of

the winter garden.

equal depth – an example of the primacy

Bedrooms face east so that the sleeper

of 'form' over 'function' to which he was

wakes to the glory of the morning sun, a


dining area to the west, and a general

stubbornly emerges in almost all his

sitting area between the two. The

mature work.

sleeping zone is served by a freestanding

The steel stanchions stop short of the

teak-faced cupboard.

channel capping, making it clear that the

Outside, the raised terrace to the west is

roof plane does not rest on the columns

a splendid place for sitting at the end of

but merely touches them in passing, thus

the day, watching the sunset. Turning

helping to create the impression alluded

from internal to external planning, it

to at the start of this essay - that the

seems to have been decided that

horizontal elements appear to be held to

allowing motor vehicles to drive right up

their vertical supports by magnetism.


to the pavilion.

36 | R e p o r t






37 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s Figure 31 Floor plan of Farnsworth House, Illinois showing the surrounding vegetation and the interiors

38 | R e p o r t

Figure 32 Elevations and sections of Farnsworth House, Illinois

Above the roof slab is a low service


module containing water tank, boiler,

Passing on from the steel-and-glass

and extract fans from the two bathrooms

envelope, the other materials used in the

and a flue from the fireplace. Beneath


the floor slab is a cylindrical drum

restricted to travertine (floors), wood

housing all drainage pipes and incoming

(primavera for the core walls, teak for

water and electrical services.

the wardrobe) and plaster (ceilings).

Aesthetically the steel frame lent itself to

The range of colours is equally limited,

clear structural display, and was 'honest'

the better to set off the few artworks and

and free of rhetoric or historical




inside, and the framed views of nature

characteristics to the future-worshipping

outside - white columns and ceiling, off-

avant-garde of the 1920s. From a

white floors and curtains, and pale

practical standpoint the steel frame

brown wood. Such sobriety was a long-

allowed open-plan interiors in which

standing Miesian characteristic.








walls could be freely disposed. Mies





connections in the less visible parts of his






structures, but in exposed positions he

Farnsworth House performed poorly

wished his elegant steel members to be

before the implementation in the 1970s

displayed cleanly, uncluttered by bolts,

of corrective measures. In hot weather

rivets or plates; and here he defied

the interior could become oven-like

normal practice by using more expensive

owing to inadequate cross-ventilation

welded joints, preferably concealed and

and no sun-screening except for the

invisible. If the weld could not be totally

foliage of adjacent trees. To create some

hidden he would have the steel sections

cross ventilation occupants could open

temporarily joined by means of Nelson

the entrance doors on the west and two

stud bolts and cleats, apply permanent

small hopper windows on the east, and

welding, and then burn off the holding

activate an electric exhaust fan in the

bolts and plug the holes.

kitchen floor, but these measures were often inadequate. In cold weather the underfloor hot water coils produced the

39 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s

pleasant heat output characteristic of

ash. The worst cold-weather failing was

such systems (partly radiant, and with

the amount of condensation streaming

temperatures at head level not much

down the chilled glass panes and


collecting on the floor.





Figure 33 The living room in Farnsworth House, Illinois. In here are the furniture that were designed by Mies; the Barcelona Couch, MR Chair and the Tugendhat Chair.

insufficient in midwinter. Underfloor systems also have a long


warming-up period that is ill-suited to an

Efficient rainwater disposal requires



sloping surfaces, a characteristic that is

increase the supply of heat, and give

somewhat at odds with the perfect

quicker warming, hot air could be blown

horizontals of Mies's design, but the

into the living area from a small furnace


in the utility room.

Farnsworth House. Behind its level fascia

There was also a somewhat ineffective

the roof surface slopes down to a single

fireplace set into the south face of the

drainage pipe directly above the utility

central core, facing the living area, which

room stack. The steel fascia and its

it is said to have covered with a layer of

capping stand sufficiently high above the

40 | R e p o r t








roof surface to conceal the sloping roof from all surrounding sight-lines, and to prevent water spilling over the edge and staining the white paint. The travertine-paved terrace has a perfectly level upper surface and yet remains dry. This has been achieved by laying the slabs on gravel beds contained in sheet-metal troughs with water outlets at their lowest points. Rainwater therefore drains down between the slabs, through the gravel beds and out via the base outlets.

Steel frame A - Steel stanchion B - Steel channels forming perimeter frame at roof level C - Steel channels forming perimeter frame at floor level D - Steel cross-girders at roof level E - Steel cross-girders at floor level F - Intermediate mullion built up from flat steel bars Roof Construction G - Waterproof membrane on H - Foam glass insulation on I - Precast concrete planks Floor construction J - Travertine slabs on K - Mortar bed on L - Crushed stone on M - Metal tray on N - Lightweight concrete fill on precast concrete slabs

Figure 34 Isometric section of Farnsworth House showing joining details, materials and steel members used in construction

41 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s

3.5.3 SEAGRAM BUILDING (1958) The


for the


Building on Park Avenue, New York came to Mies’s office by the efforts of Phyllis Lambert, daughter of Seagram owner. According to design guidelines, the building needed to be not only suitable for its high profile site but also extremely sophisticated. After Mies secured the commission, he brought Philip Johnson into the project as an associate. The Seagram Building was Mies’s first foray into tall office buildings. It was considerably bigger that the earlier

Figure 35 The Seagram Building, Park Avenue, New York

projects that he undertook and involved a central urban gesture. He removed the


vertical slab of the building from the

Paved with granite slabs, containing two

street edge and inserted a generously

shallow pools and flanked by marble

open plaza at the fromt, neglecting

bench-like blocks, the plaza represents

strictly economic considerations. This

an essential part of the architecture,

helped Mies to distance the building

functioning as a podium that visitors

from the New York urban morphology

must cross before they pass through the

and the conventional economics of a

columns of the entrance lobby. Raised a

skyscraper construction. Mies created an

few steps above the street, the plaza

alternative urbanism, one in which the

forms a plinth akin to that of a Greek

big building also paid its debt to the

temple and denotes a space set apart

society by fostering civic life.

from the hustle and bustle of the

The Seagram Plaza had two direct


effects: it influenced the revision of New

The broad plane of the Seagram Plaza

York’s zoning codes in 1961 and in turn

sweeps through the entry doors into the

led to a higher tax premium for the


building’s low floor area ratio.


42 | R e p o r t

lobby, between

marking indoors

strict and

outdoors. The white ceiling of the lobby

Indeed, the basement, put on a

stretches out through and over the entry

sumptuous marble plaza with fountains

doors, further eroding the edge between

dry, houses the lobby, however the

inside and out maintaining the continuity

ground in the ground floor is cleared and the building is supported on piles, the shaft remains undifferentiated for the succession of office floors, which ends in a triple body height, while continuing strictly the volume of the tower, is expressed plastically as the pinnacle of the whole. To access the plaza area, we must undergo a staircase between two large

Figure 36 The Plaza in front of the Seagram Building. It spans around 30 mt. from the edge of road.

between horizontal sweep of plaza and

pillars or pedestals, where they spread sheets of water in symmetry, which is very characteristic of classical antiquity.

glazed space of the lobby. In the office spaces above, most of them furnished by Johnson, flexible floor plans were lit

The building is 157 meters high, spread over 39 floors.

throughout with luminous fabric ceiling. In addition to window panes of grey


topaz glass for sun and heat protection,

It is a rectangular building supported on

the window coverings were regulated so

piles. The floor of the Seagram's, as in the

that building’s Venetian blinds could be

Lake Shore Drive, a rectangle of 5x3

fixed in a limited number of positions for

squares structural modules. But the

the sake of visual consistency from

elevation of the building achieves its



Mies designed his building to the manner

column with its three constituent parts

of ancient columns, with bases, shaft and



His typology shows clearly the structure




in front, meeting both an ornamental 43 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s

Figure 38 Typical Floor Plan from 2nd to 38th floor, Seagram Building, Park Avenue, New York

Figure 37 Ground Floor Plan, Seagram building, Park Avenue, New York

44 | R e p o r t

role, consisting of steel beams and

Part of the expressive minimalist Mies

columns of bronze that without a

van der Rohe in this work reaches its

structural role fits perfectly the large

maximum level of refinement: the

windows that are the most visible

"mullions of Curtain-wall" which are

epidermis of the work.

special I double profiles have been added

As a building for offices and not leisure

at both ends of the outer wing edges

activities, its facade is very simple, which

outgoing to generate a subtle emphasis

betrays the time to observe the

of shape.

functional characteristics of the building.

The refinement showed that Mies on the

The ornamentation of the structure

Seagram extends to the choice of

borne by the facilities of steel beams and

materials: metal profiles and panels in



bronze and glass light shades of pink, in

columns were to be built of steel but

the curtain wall facade help to give this

because of complaints the company by

work a kind of charming New Yorker

resource economics decided to make

which lack the above examples, more






The detailing of the exterior was




thoroughness. carefully determined by desired exterior

Steel profiles seen in American buildings

expression. Just like Lake Shore Drive,

are rarely identical to the building

here Mies sheathed the exterior in a

structures, because the legislation police

non-structural metal skin of bronze that

fire prevention prescribes the steel liner.

articulated an idea about the structure

Thus the "structure" visible symbol of

but inflected frame underneath.

hidden reality, as in the Renaissance had symbolized the pillar columns. But the relations of Mies pseudo constructions


more convinced with the real. With the

Due to the fire law in force in 1954, at the

standard alphabet in steel production,

time of concrete construction was used

profiles I, H and L, Mies form welded

as a structural material, both outside and

profiles that are the equivalent of the


carved profiles of the past. Careful proportion of the skeleton, the ranking 45 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s

of the various components of heavy to light, elegance sure their profiles and the subtle transitions in the corners or at points where various materials match. The maximum reflection and artistic understanding has never been attained by their followers. The architect also used travertine marble and also granite for the front plaza.

Figure 39 Construction in progress for the Seagram Building, New York.

Figure 40 Interior view of the office space overlooking the New York city

46 | R e p o r t

Chapter 4

studying architecture by going to see


them." His first interest in architecture

actual building, and reading books about

was nourished in Tadao's 15 by buying a book of Le Corbusier sketches. "I traced the drawings of his early period so many times, that all pages turned black," says Tadao Ando: "in my mind I quite often wonder how Le Corbusier would have thought about this project or that."

4.1 LIFE Tadao is a self-educated, having travelled around the world for most of his younger years before opening his practice. When Tadao Ando was born in 1941 in Osaka, Japan. Growing up in that city as Japan recovered from the war, Tadao Ando spent the most of time out of doors, and was raised by his grandmother, whose name was "ando". From the age of 10 to 17


Ando worked



carpenter, where Tadao Ando learned how to work with wood and built a number of models of airplanes and ships.

he reached the age of two, his family decided that he would be raised by his grandmother while his brother would remain with their parents. Ando's childhood neighbourhood contained the workshops of many artisans, including a woodworking shop where he learned the techniques of that craft. As an adult, his earliest design attempts were of small wooden houses and furniture.

His studying was very unusual. "I was never a good student. I always preferred

Ando abandoned his boxing career to

learning things on my own outside of

apprentice himself to a carpenter and

class. When I was about 18, I started to

might have started a career as a builder

visit temples, shrines and tea houses in

instead of an architect except that he

Kyoto and nara; There's a lot of great

kept encouraging his clients to accept his

traditional architecture in the area. I was

unconventional design ideas. He had no

47 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s

formal architectural training. Using a list

Pritzker Prize (1995), Premium Imperiale

of the books architecture students were

(1996), Gold Medal of Royal Institute of

assigned to read in four years, he trained

British Architects (1997) and now is one

himself within one year. He did not

of the most highly respected architect in

apprentice to another architect because


every time he tried, he has explained in

generation of students.






"stubbornness and temper."





The first impression of his architecture is its materiality. His large and powerful


walls set a limit. A second impression of

independence by refusing to establish an

his work is the tactility. His hard walls

office in Tokyo, which is generally

seem soft to touch, admit light, wind and

thought to be essential for architectural


success in Japan. He opened his practice,

emptiness, because only light space

in 1969, at the age of 28, in his native

surround the visitor in Tadao Ando’s




Osaka. His firm, which is managed by his wife, Yumikio, is still based in Osaka.







Consequently, the great majority of his buildings are in or around Osaka,

Ando first achieved recognition with the

including several projects in nearby

Azuma House which received the


Architectural Institute of Japan's annual award in 1979. Completed in 1976, and

Tadao Ando took a number of visits to

also known as the Rowhouse in

the United States, Europe and Africa in

Sumiyoshi, this small house in a working-

the period between 1962 and 1969. It

class section of Osaka introduced all the

was certainly at that time that Tadao

elements of his later work: smooth

Ando began to form his own ideas about

concrete walls, large expanses of glass,

architectural design, before founding

uncluttered interiors, and an emphasis

Tadao Ando Architectural & Associates in

on bringing nature into contact with the

Osaka in 1969. Tadao Ando 's winner of

residents. Only two stories high and just

many prestigious architectural awards,

over three meters wide, its windowless

for example Carlsberg Prize (1992),

front wall is made entirely of reinforced

48 | R e p o r t

Figure 41 Rokko Housing One, Kobe, Japan (1983)

Figure 43 Azuma House, Osaka Japan (1976)

Figure 42 Chapel on Mount Rokko, Japan (1986)

49 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s

concrete with a single recessed area that

One of Ando's larger well-known housing

shelters the entrance. The home is

projects is his Rokko Housing Complex.

composed of three cubic components.

The complex, which was built in three

The first cube contains the living room on

stages on the sixty degree slope of the

the ground floor, and the master

Rokko mountain, contains open public

bedroom above. The third segment

spaces and insular private apartments.

contains the kitchen, dining area, and

Each apartment features a terrace with a

bathroom on the lower floor, and the

spectacular view of the port of Kobe and

children's bedroom on the upper floor.

the Bay of Osaka. Ando's Church on the

The second section, between the other

Water, in Hokkaido, is a Christian church

two, is a central courtyard.

which features an artificial lake which comes to the very edge of the building.

The courtyard that lies between the two bedrooms is walled but completely open to the sky above. A bridge spans the courtyard and joins with a side staircase that descends to the courtyard. With the exception of the kitchen/dining/bath grouping, one must go outside to pass between rooms even during the winter and rainy seasons. Ando believes the inconvenience and discomfort are not without recompense. His buildings force an awareness onto their inhabitants of their place in the world. Moreover, the introspective design of the home insulates its occupants from the sound and sights of the city and offers a tranquil space which is still open to the sun, wind,

The cubic concrete chapel has one entirely glass wall that slides completely away in good weather. The pews in the chapel face the lake and overlook a large steel cross standing in the middle of the water. Church of Light, in Osaka, which is recognized as another masterful work, is a rectangular concrete box, intersected at a 15 degree angle by a freestanding wall which defines the entrance. Behind the altar, a clear glass cross-shaped opening in the concrete wall floods the interior with light. Water Temple, in Hyogo, is a Buddhist temple built under a lotus pond. The entrance to the temple is a stairwell which bisects the pond and leads to the temple below.

and clouds. Ando's four-story Japan Pavilion was considered the most impressive work of 50 | R e p o r t

architecture at Expo '92 in Seville, Spain.

Japan, was juxtaposed with such modern

One of the largest wooden buildings in

elements as a translucent Teflon-coated

the world, the pavilion measures 60


meters wide, 40 meters deep, and 25

different from his concrete and glass

meters high at its tallest point.

constructions, the pavilion still exhibits




his style by not having front openings save a single breezeway that allows the sun and wind free passage between the two wings. The focus remains internally oriented with an emphasis on tangible natural participation within the defined space. In 1999, Ando's design for a seminar house for TOTO, a manufacturer of Figure 44 The Japan Pavilion, Seville, Spain (1992)

plumbing equipment, was built. Ando

Unpainted wood, one of the most

had been asked by the firm to "find a site

traditional construction materials in

that would be spiritually refreshing,"

Figure 45 Awaji-Yumebutai, Awaji, Hyogo (2000)

51 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s

according to Peter Davey of Architectural


Review. The spot he chose was on the

Williamston, Massachusetts. His next

top of a hill that looked down over a

building, the new Pulitzer Foundation for

forest leading to Osaka Bay. He went on

the Arts in St. Louis, Missouri, opened to

to design his largest project up to that

the public in October of 2001; it was his

point: a 70-acre garden complex on

first institutional project in the United

Awaji Island in Japan. Ando called it

States. That same year, a Buddhist

Yumebutai, which translates to "a place

temple he designed, called Komyo-ji, was

of dreams." He worked hard to get the

built. Replacing a 250-year-old building,

property transferred to public ownership

the temple incorporated "existing trees,

so that it could be enjoyed by everyone,

stone walls, gatehouse, and bell tower as

not just the wealthy. A hotel, conference

a memory of the old—a decision that

centre, gardens, and water parks were all

produced a more compressed and

included in his plan. "Yumebutai cannot

engaging complex," wrote Architectural



Review’s Michael Webb. The progressive

alone," Architecture’s Tom Heneghan

chief priest had insisted on a light-filled

declared. "It is an overlap between

space for the community which was

architecture, landscape design, event

suitable for concerts, lectures, and


worship. In 2002, fashion designer






environmental art."

and the Clark Institute in

Giorgio Armani commissioned Ando to design his world headquarters building.

In 2001, the Calder Foundation hired Ando to design its new museum in Philadelphia,



according to Interior Design, would "be dedicated




generations of sculptors who shared both a name—Alexander Calder—and a medium." He was also contracted to design




Contemporary Art Foundation in Paris, France (scheduled for completion in 52 | R e p o r t

Ando's task was to turn a former chocolate factory in Milan, Italy, into a suitable place for fashion shows and other events. Architectural Review’s Webb



that how

the Ando

design "has

reinvented the traditional Japanese aesthetic of light and shade, offering linear progression through a walled labyrinth,





concealing and selectively revealing to

build anticipation for the drama to come.

opened this past May, and the Asia

Materials are plain, forms simple, but the

University Art Museum, which has not

effects are thrilling. From Buddhist

yet been constructed.

temple to European fashion house, Ando finds a common thread between diverse cultures






4.3 PRINCIPLES & PHILOSPHIES Ando was raised in Japan where the religion and style of life strongly


influenced his architecture and design.

completed on another one of Ando's

Ando's architectural style is said to

designs, the Modern Art Museum of Fort

create a "haiku" effect, emphasizing

Worth, Texas. "In Ft. Worth he's created


a rich architectural experience of

represent the beauty of simplicity. He

materials and movement—you feel


drawn through galleries that are both


logical and mysterious, simple and

appearance of simplicity. A self-taught

surprising," wrote Newsweek’s Cathleen

architect, he keeps his Japanese culture

McGuigan. Ando's first British project

and language in mind while he travels

involved joining a group that landscaped

around Europe for research. As an

Manchester's Piccadilly Gardens. Ando's

architect, he believes that architecture

work received mixed reviews, however.

can change society, that "to change the

Questions were raised "about the value

dwelling is to change the city and to

and possible loss of local identity. To

reform society". "Reform society" could

what extent is this.... a Japanese garden?

be a promotion of a place or a change of

And is it at home in central Manchester?"

the identity of that place. According to



Werner Blaser, "Good buildings by Tadao

Morant. In 2004, another of Ando's

Ando create memorable identity and

designs, the Langen Foundation, opened

therefore publicity, which in turn attracts

in Neuss, Germany.






















penetration". Recent work by Ando includes the Hansol Museum in South Korea, whose doors






emphasizes the concept of sensation and

53 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s

physical experiences, mainly influenced

mind is the locus of god. Dwelling in a

by the Japanese culture. The religious

house is a search for the mind as the

term Zen, focuses on the concept of

locus of god, just as one goes to church

simplicity and concentrates on inner

to search for god. An important role of

feeling rather than outward appearance.

the church is to enhance this sense of the

Zen influences vividly show in Ando’s

spiritual. In a spiritual place, people find

work and became its distinguishing

peace in their mind, as in their

mark. In order to practice the idea of


simplicity, Ando's architecture is mostly constructed with concrete, providing a sense of cleanliness and weightlessness at the same time. Due to the simplicity of the




organization of the space are relatively potential in order to represent the aesthetic of sensation. Besides Japanese religious architecture, Ando





churches, such as the Church of the Light (1989) and the Church in Tarumi

Figure 46 The Church of Light, Osaka, Japan (1989)

(1993). Although Japanese and Christian churches display distinct characteristics, Ando treats them in a similar way. He believes there should be no difference in designing religious architecture and

Besides speaking of the spirit of architecture, Ando also emphasises the association




architecture. He intends for people to easily experience the spirit and beauty of


nature through architecture. He believes Ando explains, “We do not need to differentiate





Dwelling in a house is not only a functional issue, but also a spiritual one. The house is the locus of mind, and the 54 | R e p o r t





performing the attitude of the site and makes it visible. This not only represents his theory of the role of architecture in society but also shows why he spends so

much time studying architecture from

interior and exterior spaces formed both

physical experience.

inside large-scale geometric shapes and

Ando’s mastery of light, nature, and

in the spaces between them.

space catapulted him onto the global


stage by the mid-1980s. His buildings

The Koshino House, an architectural

derive form from simple geometries that

masterpiece, represented a fresh start

contrast with complex 3-dimensional

for Ando, a famous Japanese architect.

circulation, reflecting his desire for his

He began the work of dismantling the

architecture to be an immersive physical


experience. All Tadao Ando’s work is


characteristically simple, and we can find


similar forms in the first half of 20th

the pieces.

century. The Koshino House, second realisation





completed in two phrases (1980-81 and 1983-84). This house is a masterpiece, and collects all fragments of Tadao Ando’s




prototype the and


Row of




The house, by Tadao Ando for the designer Koshin, is a veritable maze of lights and shadows. Like Barragan, the architect seeks to reconcile the tenets of international modernism with tradition and landscape, in this case, Japanese. So,

mainly the light.

The House Koshin is an example of contemporary architecture built in two

4.4 REALIZED WORKS Tadao Ando's body of work is known for the creative use of natural light and for structures that follow natural forms of the landscape, rather than disturbing the

parallel wings that barely interrupt the landscape.





simplicity and treatment of light, typical features of the architecture of the Japanese.

landscape by making it conform to the constructed space of a building. Ando's buildings are often characterized by complex three-dimensional circulation paths. These paths weave in between

[a] SITE Koshin The house is located in Ashiya, a small town located between Osaka and Kobe two major urban centres in Japan.

55 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s

It is built in a residential area, suburban,

site is transformed into a space as

in the hills of the city.

precisely assembled as craft work.

Located on a mountainside densely

Tadao Ando’s design for the Koshino

wooded, the House Koshin is embedded

House features two parallel concrete

in the ground, irregular shape contrasts

rectangular confines. The forms are

strongly with the sharpness of the

partially buried into the sloping ground

geometric shapes of the building.

of a national park and become a

The effect is achieved through a strong

compositional addition to the landscape.

slope, is that the visitor comes from

Placed carefully as to not disrupt the pre-

above and before entering can see their

existing trees on the site, the structure

feet the roof of the house. Its deep

responds to the adjacent ecosystem

connection to the earth allows for a

while the concrete forms address a more

more private atmosphere.






Figure 47 Koshino House, Hyogo, Japan (1980)


manipulation of light.

He blends together the site and the

The northern volume consists of a two-

building, incorporates the landscape into

storey height containing a double height

the building, and makes use of every bit

living room, a kitchen and a dining room

of the site. The interior space is extended

on the first floor with the master

into the exterior space, and the entire

bedroom and a study on the second

56 | R e p o r t

Figure 48 Architectural drawings for the Koshino Hoouse, Hyogo, Japan

57 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s

floor. The southern mass then consists of

temples and aesthetic scintoisti reduced


by Zen Buddhism.




bedrooms, a bathroom and a lobby.

Ando used the space within the two

Connecting the two spaces is a below

rectangular prisms as a way to express

grade tunnel that lies beneath the

the fundamental nature of the site. This

exterior stairs of the courtyard. The entry

space reveals a courtyard that drapes

of this house, semi batch, is level. From

over and contours to the natural

here go down in the living room with

topography. A wide set of stairs follows

double height.

the sloping land into the enclosed

In one wing parallel to the building,

exterior space and allows the light that

connected through a corridor of almost

penetrates through the canopy of trees

underground, a number of halls and

into the sunken courtyard. This self-

rooms for children, since that can be

governing space represents the fold of

accessed by a long hallway.

nature that has been bound by the

The entire house is structured as a

conditioned structures and become

Japanese garden around a series of


scenic background, designed to boost

Narrow apertures have been punched

awareness of nature.

through the façades adjacent to the

The two big openings in the living room


offer views of the steep slopes, trees and

complex crossings of natural light and

hills in the distance.

shadow into the interior spaces. The

In 1983, Ando was asked to add a study. The addition is totally underground north of the room, the containment wall account of how the circumference of the plant. Although this house is often linked to minimalism can be better understood in the context of archetypal forms of

58 | R e p o r t




patterns provide the only amount of ornament to the simple rooms. Other slots are cut from various planes of the two modules to produce the same effect of complexity throughout the entire house.

Figure 50 Living Room, Koshino House

Figure 52 Access path between two blocks

Figure 49 The back corridor leads to bedrooms

Figure 51 Study Room, Koshino House

Figure 53 The Atelier, added four years after construction

59 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s


way Tadao Ando uses concrete is to

Another factor worth noting is that there

mould them into light homogeneous

are no decorative elements. The view

surfaces. His intent is not to express the

provided by the wide openings along

nature of the material itself, but to use it

with the shadows cast by the narrow

to establish space.

openings and skylights, and the texture of the concrete both combined, operate as the only ornamentation.

[d] NATURAL LIGHTING Light enters through a sky-light between

All the walls are made of this material

the wall and the roof, illuminating a

and are free of ornamentation and in

curved wall; a large window has been

their natural form. Tadao Ando used this

opened in the living room wall. The

material because it is a way to admit light

interior is gradually assimilated into the

and wind within the walls and creating a

beautiful landscape. This house is

sense of serenity and wide open spaces.

composed of two box-like buildings of

Another reason why using this material is

different volumes, arranged in parallel



on either side of a terrace. The main

technological resources to which access

building contains a double-height living

is the architect living in a developed

room, a kitchen, a dining room, and, on

country such as Japan.

an upper floor, the main bedroom.



Widely used to make large glass windows throughout the house. The reason for

The other building is the private

using this material is giving way to large

quarters, accommodating a total of six

quantities of light and offer a view of the

rooms—bedrooms and tatami rooms—


arranged in a row, as well as a bathroom.







unexpectedly smooth because of the added luminous coating, contradicting the



underground corridor. [e] INTEGRITY WITH SURROUNDING


reactiveness of the concrete produces the illusion of a textile surface rather than presenting it as a heavy mass. The 60 | R e p o r t

The two buildings are connected by an

Then there is the terrace between the two buildings—an outdoor living room

where one can fully appreciate the

strong contrast to the existing portion,

abundant greenery. Ando suggests a life

where light from the skylight takes a



linear form; the two parts of the house

continually aware of the richness of

offer different spatial experiences even

nature on a spacious site surrounded by

at the same time of day.





trees. This building, which can be used to accommodate guests on weekends, is

The addition was not anticipated at the

predicated on a lifestyle very different

beginning, but Ando has succeeded in

from that in the city.

forming a landscape of even greater complexity and nuance.

An atelier was added four years after the Ando’s

Ando is a master of additions and

buildings are always formally complete.

renovations. He is always assimilating

Thus, his task is additionally to alter a

images and picturing possible worlds so

form that was once complete in itself to

that, if the slightest opportunity presents

create another complete form. The end

itself, he can immediately try to realize





result must rise to a new level of perfection. Adding a few touches to a work completed in the past is difficult.

them. In 2005, he is in fact in the process of a second renovation of the Koshino House.

In the case of the Koshino House, Ando sought to develop a new overall image by

Twenty-five years after the completion

contrasting the addition to the existing

of the original residence in 1980, he is at

portion. The addition is positioned

work on a new project. His versatility—

higher up on the hillside; a wall

his ability to use a wide range of

describing a quadrant in plan resists soil


pressure like a dam and encloses a space.



additions. This ability has served him we in projects to preserve buildings. That is


because projects to construct new old A slit is opened in the ceiling along the

buildings do indeed need to transcend

curving wall of the addition, and light


entering through the slit takes the form of a curving geometrical figure. This is in 61 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s


Ando chose to use the orientation of the church as the overall layout of the new

Church of the Light was completed in 1989 as an annex to an existing wooden church and minister’s house. Located in a small residential suburb of Osaka, the building layout relates to the existing buildings on the site and the sun. The budget





$250,000 US in construction costs. All

building. This church is seen as a place of retreat where the outside world is forgotten and the natural world is emphasized in a rather abstract manner vis-a-vis Ando's control of the light. This church




simplicity of Christianity with its lowtech, yet powerful design.

costs were afforded by the church's congregation. Ando addressed this issue

[a] SITE

by using his usual pallet of inexpensive materials such as reinforced concrete and wood. Ten years after the chapel's completion Ando was requested to design a new Sunday School building.

In the small town of Ibaraki, 25km outside of Osaka, Japan, stands one of Tadao Ando’s signature architectural works, the Church of the Light. The Church of the Light embraces Ando’s philosophical



nature and architecture through the way in which light can define and create new spatial perceptions equally, if not more so, as that of his concrete structures. Completed in 1989, the Church of the Light was a renovation to an existing Christian compound in Ibaraki. The new church was the first phase to a complete redesign of the site – later completed in 1999 – under Ando’s design aesthetic. Figure 54 The Church Of Light, Osaka, Japan (1989)

The location was where the original church stood, adjacent to the chapel.






neighbourhood in the suburbs of Osaka, the small Christian church made of silky

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smooth concrete sits modestly within its


environment. Ando’s Church of the Light is minimalist [b] CONCEPT

and reductive of religious paraphernalia to a simple cruciform extrusion, which is

For Ando, the Church of Light is an architecture of duality – the dual nature of [co]existence – solid/void, light/dark, stark/serene. The coexisting differences leave the church void of any, and all, ornament creating a pure, unadorned space. The intersection of light and solid raises the occupants’ awareness of the spiritual and secular within themselves.

often criticized as disturbingly empty, void, and undefined. Although it has been stated to be nothing more than six walls and a roof, there is a whole level of design aesthetic implemented by Ando and his contractors that is misread and unrecognized by the occupants. As a modern, minimalist structure the Church of the Light emits an architectural purity that is found in the details. The

The employment of simplistic materials reinforces the duality of the space; the concrete




distinction of traditional Christian motifs and aesthetic. Besides an extruded cross from the east facing façade, the church is composed of a concrete shell; the concrete adds to the darkness of the church by creating a more humble, meditative place of worship. As a testament to minimalist architecture, the crosses void in the east facing wall is

reinforced concrete volume is void of any and all ornament that is not part of the construction process. The seams and joints of the concrete are built with precision and care by master Japanese carpenters, along with Ando, that have worked to create an immaculately smooth surface and accurately aligned joints. So much so, that the seams of the concrete formwork align perfectly with the crosses extrusion on the east side of the church.

the only prominent religious symbol present in the church.

The communal church consists of two rectangular volumes that are both cut at a 15 degree angles by freestanding concrete walls. One indirectly enters the

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Figure 56 Site plan of the church complex showing the chapel, school and minister's house

Figure 55 The edge showing the connection of the tilted entrance wall

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Figure 57 Circular bench outside the school building

church by slipping between the two

the joints in the concrete. At this

volumes, one that contains the Sunday

intersection of light and solid the

school and the other that contains the

occupant is meant to become aware of

worship hall.

the deep division between the spiritual and the secular within himself or herself.






reinforcement of Ando’s principal focus on simplicity and minimalist aesthetic; however, the way in which the concrete is poured and formed gives the concrete a luminous quality when exposed to natural light. Ando’s decision to place the cross on the east façade allows for light to pour into the space throughout the early morning and into the day, which has a dematerializing effect on the interior concrete walls transforming the

One feature of the interior is its profound emptiness. Many who enter the church say they find it disturbing. The distinct void space and absolute quiet amounts to a sense of serenity. For Ando the idea of




different. It is meant to transfer someone into the realm of the spiritual. The emptiness is meant to invade the occupant






the spiritual to fill them.

dark volume into an illuminated box.


Ando’s approach to light and concrete in

The church has an area of roughly 113 m²

the Church of the Light, as well as his

about the same size as a small house.

other projects, has a surreal effect that

The church was planned as an add-on to



the wooden chapel and minister's house

immaterial, dark into light, light into

that already existed at the site. The


Church of the Light consists of three



The space of the chapel is defined by light, the strong contrast between light and solid. In the chapel light enters from behind the altar from a cross cut in the concrete wall that extends vertically from floor to ceiling and horizontally from wall to wall, aligning perfectly with

5.9m concrete cubes (5.9m wide x 17.7m long x 5.9m high) penetrated by a wall angled at 15°, dividing the cube into the chapel and the entrance area. One indirectly enters the church by slipping between the two volumes, one that contains the Sunday school and the other that contains the worship hall. The

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benches, along with the floor boards, are

thick, solid, massive, and permanent.

made of re-purposed scaffolding used in

The main reinforced concrete shell of the

the construction.

Church of the Light is 15 inches thick.

It took more than two years to complete. The delay in completing the work was due to problems in raising the necessary funds. Initially it was feared that it would cost more than the budget and Ando even considered building it without a roof, but the construction firm donated the roof and this became unnecessary. The one element carried through Tadao Ando's structures is his idolization of the reinforced concrete wall. The importance given to walls is a distinct departure from Modernist architecture. They are usually made of 'in-situ' poured in place concrete. Considerable care is taken to see that the walls are as perfect as technique will allow. These walls are

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Chapter 5

The spaces in Mies’s works were designed in such a way that they can be used for multiple purposes rather


than function only as one entity. 

Minimum use of opaque materials

The following inferences are drawn after

like concrete and bricks to achieve a

completing the study the concepts of

structure that responds to nature

minimalism and critically analysing the

and the inhabitant feels connected

works of Mies and Tadao Ando:

to the surroundings.

Minimal design can be achieved only

Since most of the Mies’s work was in

when only those elements are

Chicago (a cold city), use of steel and

included which are adequately

glass in tall buildings helped to

important in a building and omitting

achieve the degree of warmth in the

the needless elements.


Lighting and colors are the key to

Extensive use of glass also caused

define a space designed with

Mies’s a fair bit of problems

minimal approach. Lighting is used

regarding the privacy in privately

for highlighting certain elements


while colors are used in such a way

House was a controversial project

that they bring out an expression

that Mies undertook. The owner

out of the space.

wasn’t happy seeing the outcome of

Materials are other most important

the weekend getaway home as it

aspect as they help in defining the

concerned her of her privacy.

space and deriving the purpose and



The other thing that Mies focused

function of that space.

on was creating the whole space

Mies used materials to define the


space and not physical barriers,

rather than defining the space with

which in turn helped to create a free

a sole function and purpose.

flowing and large space.



Tadao Ando’s work is different in some aspects of the lemenets and

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approach being used, though the

the day time, hence helping to

motive is same as that of Mies:

conserve energy.

creating a clutter and barrier free

space with adequate functionality. 







building itself stands out, not



merging with the nature.

Zen 


Use of open space was prominent in

of designing the building. 

The only thing which Ando couldn’t

Ando’s works too but not as

do was apply his concepts to high

prominent as in Mies’s. There were

rise buildings. Almost all the projects

physical partitions that separated

he did were low height buldings.

different rooms. 

Plain bare concrete facades with window opening was his typical style

elements and simple construction. 


nature’s element in a way that the

architecture which featured serene environments,


building a structure that would defy

His projects are highly influenced by traditional


planning. He conceived the idea of

natural lighting. 


regarding the site layout and




Ando’s use of lights has been the most influencing works. He used strategically placed voids to let the natural light come in. this also helped in creating day lit spaces in

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List of Figures

Figure 1 Social Housing in Monte Hacho by MGM ...................................................................... 1 Figure 2 White Wolf Hotel by AND-RÉ ........................................................................................ 3 Figure 3 Kuehn Malvezzi - House of Prayer and Learning ........................................................... 5 Figure 4 House for Gudrun by Sven Matt.................................................................................... 5 Figure 5 Farnsworth House - Mies van der Rohe ........................................................................ 5 Figure 6 Reykjavik House - Moomoo Architects.......................................................................... 8 Figure 8 Villa Extramuros In Arraiolos, Alentejo by Vora Arquitectura....................................... 8 Figure 7 A church in Germany built with several arches and ellipses, an example of geometrical shapes being used in minimal design.......................................................................................... 8 Figure 9 Weissenhofsiedlung, Stuttgart (1927)......................................................................... 12 Figure 10 Riehl House, Potsdam (1907) .................................................................................... 13 Figure 11 Tugendhat House, Potsdam (1930) ........................................................................... 13 Figure 12 Bauhaus School, Germany of which Mies overtook the directorship in 1933 ........... 14 Figure 13 German Pavilion (best- known as Barcelona Pavilion), Barcelona (1929) ................. 14 Figure 14 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments, Chicago (1951) ............................................ 16 Figure 15 S.R. Crown Hall, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago (1956) .............................. 17 Figure 16 Farnsworth House, Fox River, Chicago (1951)........................................................... 21 Figure 17 The Seagram Building, New York (1958) ................................................................... 21 Figure 18 The Toronto Dominion Centre, Toronto (1969) ........................................................ 22 Figure 19The Brno Chair, which was designed for the Tugendhat House, Brno, Czechoslovakia. .................................................................................................................................................. 25 Figure 20 The Tugendhat Chair ................................................................................................. 25 Figure 21 The Barcelona Chair, Barcelona Couch, Barcelona Stool and the X-Table/Barcelona Table in a living room. These four pieces of furniture are a part of the Barcelona Pavilion and were also used in the Tugendhat House, Brno ......................................................................... 25 Figure 22 The MR Chaise Lounge Chair. There were two versions of this chair made; one with adjustable seat and the other was fixed. It was a part of the MR furniture range designed by Mies. ......................................................................................................................................... 27 Figure 23 The MR Chair in Tugendhat house, Brno................................................................... 27 Figure 24 Floor Plan of the Barcelona Pavilion .......................................................................... 29

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Figure 25 View of Barcelona Pavilion showing the roof, large water basin and the stone on the edge of basin. ........................................................................................................................... 31 Figure 26 Interior view of the pavilion showing the furniture, the red silk curtain, onyx dore wall on the right of the furniture and the milky-glass wall lit by lighting.................................. 31 Figure 27 Exclusively designed furniture for the Pavilion adjoining the onyx dore wall. .......... 33 Figure 28 The covered space by the side of the large pool and the travertine benches. ......... 33 Figure 29 Farnsworth House, Illinois ........................................................................................ 34 Figure 30 Farnsworth House, Illinois during the Fox River floods. During the floods, the house can only be approached by a canoe. ........................................................................................ 35 Figure 31 Floor plan of Farnsworth House, Illinois showing the surrounding vegetation and the interiors .................................................................................................................................... 37 Figure 32 Elevations and sections of Farnsworth House, Illinois .............................................. 38 Figure 33 The living room in Farnsworth House, Illinois. In here are the furniture that were designed by Mies; the Barcelona Couch, MR Chair and the Tugendhat Chair. ........................ 40 Figure 34 Isometric section of Farnsworth House showing joining details, materials and steel members used in construction ................................................................................................. 41 Figure 35 The Seagram Building, Park Avenue, New York ........................................................ 42 Figure 36 The Plaza in front of the Seagram Building. It spans around 30 mt. from the edge of road. ......................................................................................................................................... 43 Figure 37 Ground Floor Plan, Seagram building, Park Avenue, New York ................................ 44 Figure 38 Typical Floor Plan from 2nd to 38th floor, Seagram Building, Park Avenue, New York ................................................................................................................................................. 44 Figure 39 Construction in progress for the Seagram Building, New York. ................................ 46 Figure 40 Interior view of the office space overlooking the New York city............................... 46 Figure 41 Rokko Housing One, Kobe, Japan (1983) .................................................................. 49 Figure 42 Chapel on Mount Rokko, Japan (1986) ..................................................................... 49 Figure 43 Azuma House, Osaka Japan (1976) ........................................................................... 49 Figure 44 The Japan Pavilion, Seville, Spain (1992)................................................................... 51 Figure 45 Awaji-Yumebutai, Awaji, Hyogo (2000)..................................................................... 51 Figure 46 The Church of Light, Osaka, Japan (1989) ................................................................. 54 Figure 47 Koshino House, Hyogo, Japan (1980) ........................................................................ 56 Figure 48 Architectural drawings for the Koshino Hoouse, Hyogo, Japan ................................ 57 Figure 49 The back corridor leads to bedrooms ....................................................................... 59 Figure 50 Living Room, Koshino House ..................................................................................... 59 Figure 51 Study Room, Koshino House ..................................................................................... 59 71 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s

Figure 52 Access path between two blocks .............................................................................. 59 Figure 53 The Atelier, added four years after construction ...................................................... 59 Figure 54 The Church Of Light, Osaka, Japan (1989)................................................................. 62 Figure 55 The edge showing the connection of the tilted entrance wall .................................. 64 Figure 56 Site plan of the church complex showing the chapel, school and minister's house .. 64 Figure 57 Circular bench outside the school building ............................................................... 64

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Bibliography 




73 | S t u d y o f P r i n c i p l e s & W o r k s o f A r c h i t e c t s


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A Dissertation Report on Minimalism in Architecture  

A report on the contemporary trends in minimalist architecture around the world that takes it cues from the masters of this style, Mies & An...

A Dissertation Report on Minimalism in Architecture  

A report on the contemporary trends in minimalist architecture around the world that takes it cues from the masters of this style, Mies & An...