Rethinking Mies

Mies 2011 Thomas Ruff d.p.b.08






Food for thought on the 125th Birthday of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
in the Coronation Hall of the historic town hall of Aachen

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was born in Aachen in 1886. Mies has shown the discipline of architecture new ways into Modernism and, in doing so, determined the relationship between technology and aesthetics, between idea and artifact in a new and at the same time lasting manner. Hence, it is not surprising that even during the architect's lifetime, the corpus of Mies's oeuvre was regarded as outstanding. His works, exemplary in many ways, were documented, inventorized, published and preserved. They are still the point of origin of comments and appropriations. However, it is not primarily a hagiographic laudation on the person, the work and its reception history which we consider the objective of an appraisal. Rather, the occasion of Mies von der Rohe's 125th birthday should serve to outline the essence of Mies's work - in a figurative sense his "genetic code" - and to pursue the question of how important the spiritual legacy of Mies van der Rohe is today. Can one call the architect's attitude "classic"? Did it contribute to the development of a modern canon? Are the central contents of Mies's thinking still up-to-date and seminal for the future?

We want to interpret Mies's principles in the light of our times by taking up a dialogue with important persons who have contributed significantly to the furthering of current architecture as well as art and architectual theory. Which new interpretations are thinkable? Which relations to current building and to different contexts of current art and culture can be verified or constructed?

In the sense of a transdisciplinary discourse, the symposium's lectures and panel discussions are structured into five thematic sections:

  • Ingenious architecture ? On the question of technical and aesthetic standards
  • Mies Mimesis ? Model and imitation in the era of Modernism
  • Over the border ? Mies, building and the arts
  • Iconic architecture ? Mies and the images of Modernism
  • Open spaces - the landscapes of Modernism

The symposium is supposed to be the starting point for a permanent discussion of Mies and meant to further the search for a new interpretation of modern positions. The contributions to the symposium will be documented in the form of a book as well as an exhibition.

The symposium is initiated and organized by:
aachen_fenster : raum für bauen + kultur
Prof. Klaus Klever, Projektmanager Mies 2011 und
RWTH Aachen University ? Fakultät für Architektur
Prof. Axel Sowa, Lehr- und Forschungsgebiet Architekturtheorie

Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst
Dr. Brigitte Franzen
M:AI Museum für Architektur und Ingenieurkunst
Ursula Kleefisch - Jobst

Tickets: Verbindliche Reservierungen sind voraussichtlich ab dem 1. September 2011 möglich. Es kann allerdings eine vorläufige Reservierung erfolgen.