Ebert on Architecture

Posted by Whet Moser on Tue, Jul 13, 2010 at 3:06 PM

Not sure why it's kick Mies around day, but any day is a good day for that, I reckon.

Mies was nevertheless a great creator, an original, whose buildings are at least forthright in their deliberate simplicity. (Please don't inform me of his infinite attention to proportion: I know.) But he and his generation seem to have pointed us down the road to an architecture that is totalitarian in its severe economy.

No one could have predicted that an inorganic, ahistorical architecture lavishly devoted to austerity and control ("proportion") would be popular among rich people, bureaucrats, and large firms.

Comments (6)

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Why is Mies, the least cuddly of all architects, the only one with whom we are on a first-name basis? Nobody ever talks about "Frank" or "Louis."

There'd be a distinct upside to talking about Frank rather than Wright: it would license the use of the adjective "Frankloid" in relation to the larger Prairie School. I'm just sayin'.

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Posted by Cliff Doerksen on 07/13/2010 at 3:32 PM

Mies's first name is Ludwig.

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Posted by Jerome Ludwig on 07/13/2010 at 4:02 PM

"Frankophone"?

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Posted by whet on 07/13/2010 at 4:33 PM

So, is there anything on which Ebert does not have an opinion?

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Posted by FGFM on 07/13/2010 at 5:41 PM

"Frank" and "Louis" = "P.T.". All charlatans are more easily identified by their last names. As in "Mies".

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Posted by Marty Hackl on 07/13/2010 at 8:03 PM

To his credit, Mies was very aware of one of the basic principles of vernacular architecture: humanity's relationship to its environment. His followers' only relationship to any environment is, as Ebert pointed out, maximizing financial return.

Like any form of art, architecture only has meaning insofar as it takes us -- people -- into account. (I mean as human beings, not just abstract cogs.) Mies' residences are much more in line with that little dictum than are his larger buildings, while the "major works" of his followers seem to have lost sight of it completely.

There's no place to get out of the rain.

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Posted by Robert M. Tilendis on 07/14/2010 at 7:57 AM
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