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Architect by Robert McCarter, Frank Lloyd Wright

By Robert McCarter, Frank Lloyd Wright

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14, 15] The majority of the rooms in the Krefeld villas housed the very material culture that Mies emphatically and programmatically rejected. ”). [16, 17] With little effort one could imagine that despised nineteenth-century interior being the architect’s own twentieth-century villa in Krefeld. But why is this apparent similarity dangerous? Because it was understood, by Mies and his early biographers, that the architect’s purported contribution to modern architecture could not be squared with anything short of a revolution in the culture of dwelling.

5 Klein visited the villa in the summer of 1960 and again in the late fall. He was encouraged by the architecture he discovered. The organization of the exhibition was captured on an annotated plan sketch produced by the artist. [3] The living room was to become a blue zone, hung with large blue mono- chromes. The former man’s room became the equivalent in pink, the adjacent drawing room a zone of gold, the woman’s room a zone of mixed works, and the dining room a second blue zone. At the entrance to the villa, Klein proposed a jet of fire, and to terminate the exhibition on the garden terrace, he conceived of two additional fire-works: a single fire-fountain and a fire-wall consisting of a matrix of fifty Bunsen burners.

Mies had become the essential antidote to, rather than the expression of, the thrust of the dominant material culture. Bürger would undoubtedly see the rational, perfectible Miesian tower as a clear example of the affirmative project. All this is nascent in the Krefeld work. What Lange and Esters sought, and what Mies appears to have given, was a confirmation that certain traditional values were compatible with rapid modernization. Consider the image of Lange’s Biedermeier desk against the backdrop of what was then one of the largest sheets of glazing in a residential setting.

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