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A number of reasons have led us to the complete publication of Mies van der Rohe's single-family houses. To begin with, this publication responds to the lack of such a publication about Mies's domestic work; the most complete one to be found was published in German in 1981: Tegethoff, Wolf, Mies van der Rohe: Die Villen und Landhausprojekte, R. Bacht, Essen, 1981 (English version: Mies van der Rohe: The villas and country houses, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1985). Notwithstanding its rigour, it omitted the early European work and some of the unbuilt American designs, focussing on what we might call the architect's classic phase. The repercussions of this book were enormous and it opened up new perspectives in the study of Mies's oeuvre, shedding light on buildings that were hitherto all but unknown. In his American phase, when his work was beginning to be valued in all its magnitude and he was the object of exhibitions and publications, Mies van der Rohe consciously concealed his early buildings, and very few of them came to light in the first monographs on him. The destruction of the documents stored in his Berlin studio on Am Karlsbad in the mid-1920s contributed, without a doubt, to the image Mies himself wanted to give of himself.
A few years after the publication of Tegethoff's study, Sandra Honey would devote a volume to Mies's European work (Mies van der Rohe. European works, Academy Editions, London, 1986), which increased the amount of information about the architect's early work enormously. Since then, publications about Mies's oeuvre have followed one another, but none has focussed in full on this domestic facet of the architect.
Added to which, we thought that the trite division into two classic phases, European and American, no longer had much meaning and that it was preferable to try and trace connections between the two rather than set up barriers to separate them. As a result, the decision to commission all the photo coverage from a single photographer (who doesn't specialise in architecture but comes from the world of art) has been crucial. With its precise, unifying vision, the work of Hans-Christian Schink enables the houses to be understood as a single whole, one beyond chronological or stylistic issues.
Comprehensiveness has been paramount and it has been thought important to include all the built houses, regardless of the state of preservation of the very early ones; although their exteriors might seem more than acceptable, their interiors have undergone successive changes that make it almost impossible to find features of the original work. Two of the important houses have disappeared (the Wolf House in Gubin, destroyed in the World War II, and the House for a Childless Couple, dismounted after the exhibition), so that they are presented in the only way possible, using archive material.
Although Mies never got to build too many single-family houses, he did receive quite a few commissions that were never built. In order to understand the true dimension of the domestic facet of his work, it was necessary for all these designs to appear, and they have been collected together in the final section of nexus. Neither of these two parts of the publication, the built and the unbuilt houses, can be understood independently of the other.
As far as possible we have tried to accompany the projects with the few comments, written or verbal, that Mies left behind about his houses-after all, who better than the author to comment on his own buildings?
Last but not least, it is worth highlighting the work of research in numerous archives, which has enabled us to bring together, in a single volume, documents that in some instances were either unpublished or had been published in bad quality reproductions. Current techniques for digitalising documents permit us to see a hitherto unusual amount of detail.'
Copyright of the text: the authors
Copyright of the edition: Editorial Gustavo Gili SL
This 2G double issue presents for the first time all the houses that Mies van der Rohe built and designed both in his German beginnings and his USA stay. Together with new photographs -specially commissioned to the prestigious German photographer Hans-Christian Schink-, the original drawings and historical photos offer a new view on Mies's residential work.
This material is completed with two essays by beatriz Colomina and Moisés Puente, wich give a new perspective over this particular field of Mies's work. All the unbuilt houses are compiled in the 'nexus' section.
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Description du livre Editorial Gustavo Gili SL, 2009. Paperback. Etat : New. Never used!. N° de réf. du vendeur P118425221889
Description du livre Editorial Gustavo Gili SL, 2009. Etat : New. book. N° de réf. du vendeur M8425221889