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Mies van der Rohe: A Critical Biography New edition Edition

8 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0226740607
ISBN-10: 0226740609
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

A biography of the man and his ideas, with secondary emphasis on the build ings. Schulze (Art, Lake Forest Col lege) has had the full cooperation of the Mies Archives at the Museum of Mod ern Art and has done extensive re search and interviews with Mies's con temporaries, students, and intimates. The picture of Mies which emerges is honest and detailed, fair and balanced. Coupled with David Spaeth's Mies van der Rohe ( LJ 5/1/85), which is more de tailed on Mies's architecture, Schulze's book gives a picture in the round. It is well written and flows smoothly, with particularly good attention to Mies's youth in Aachen and the background of Weimar culture. Occasionally one misses illustrations which the narrative implies, but this is still an excellent book. Recommended. Jack Perry Brown, Art Inst. of Chicago Libs.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“Franz Schulze’s 1985 biography of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe has always been acknowledged as the most comprehensive and thoughtful biography of one of the key figures in twentieth-century architecture. This revised edition with significant new scholarship by its two authors will undoubtedly come to occupy the same position.”
(Dietrich Neumann, Brown University)

 “A herculean, generally successful effort to present Mies’s work in terms of both character and context. . . .This book has obviously been a long labor of love and respect for which no source has been left untouched.”

(Ada Louise Huxtable, on the previous edition)

“[A] distinguished and eloquent biography.”

(Paul Goldberger, on the previous edition)

“The most comprehensive book ever written about the master designer and, by any measure, the best. . . . Because no writer has ever before probed into Mies’s life at such depth, we have here the first definitive reconstruction of the architect’s personal habits, loves, fears, triumphs, loneliness and (in his old age) agonies.”

(Paul Gabb, on the previous edition Chicago Tribune)

“This excellent revised edition of a work originally published in 1985, has 138 illustrations, incisive descriptions of Mies’ innovative creations and a fascinating account of his Pyrrhic victory in a lawsuit against his disaffected client Edith Farnsworth.”

(Booklist, Starred Review)

"One recent book, however, has been largely overlooked by reviewers, perhaps because it appears to be merely a revised edition of a volume that Mies lovers already have on their bookshelves. Other than the title, though, the book is a completely different animal. . . . Fresh research into Mies’s American commissions, among them the troubled history of his most alluring American residential work—a transparent glass house for the eminent nephrologist Dr. Edith Farnsworth—has resulted in an almost entirely new book.”

(Architectural Digest)

“This authoritative biography of Mies van der Rohe has been updated through building records, the recollections of students and a court transcript. It's a gripping read, even if you're not a fan.”

(Christopher Woodword Building Design) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 380 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press; New edition edition (October 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226740609
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226740607
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,389,779 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
While much is known about the works or Mies van der Rohe, little is ever revealed about the man himself. After reading Franz Schulze's book I found myself reflecting quite deeply on my own direction in the great field of Architecture.
Schulze gives readers a honest perspective on the mysterious personality of Mies. He tells much about his marital life, his relationship with his daughters, and his political life; three aspects of the man which had significant influence on his career.
In the end Mies is painted as one who did what was necessary to become great, but never lost sight of the true essence of arguably the most influential of all art forms.
Schulze appears to have a deep respect for Mies and is therefore very frank in this book. However, he is not merely spouting rhetoric. Much of the biography is based on interviews with those close to Mies, including his grandson, Dirk Lohan, who himself is a successful architect in the Chicago area.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
As a fan of modernism and a resident in a Mies Van Der Rohe-designed Commonwealth Plaza building in Chicago, I have an acute appreciation for Mies' vision and mastery of form and function in architecture. I borrowed this book from a friend and was mesmerized by the depth in which Mr. Schulze chronicled some of Mies' best works. I received incredible insight into the philosophy of this master architect. The text was accompanied by black and white photos of the buildings and designs and was perfectly matched. The black and white layout of the book focuses the reader on the form of these buildings and its importance, thereby giving a glimpse of the thoughts behind the designs. The book is incredibly comprehensive and a must for anyone with an interest in architecture and modernism. Unfortunately, the book is not in print and I have been constantly searching for my own copy, preferably new. I hope that the University of Chicago Press, itself part of a highly-regarded academic institution, to quickly offer a reprint of this valuable book. I would love to obtain a hardcopy version, as I strongly feel that this is a collection-quality book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Russell Guest on December 9, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a biography and a very complete one at that. It is not strong on illustrations, drawings, or theory but it is the best book at understanding Mies as a person and in his private life. If you are interested in his work more so another excellent book is David Speath's Mies Van Der Rohe the two of these books together will give an understanding of of mies the man and his work, which to really understand both are nessisary. This book is about the man who reminded us that the simplest solution is the stongest solution.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nicholas T. Fox on July 2, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a great book you'll come back to again and again and if you don't have it, then your library is incomplete. Shulze has obviously did his research and come up with a readable and fascinating story that tracks Mies's work all the way from Aachen to Chicago. I can't say enough in praise of this work. Where other authors skim the surface when writing about Mies and his work, Schulze dives deeply into the pond and reveals some fascinating background information on the man, his time and his work. I cannot recommend this book enough and feel it should be a text for all architectural students. My only regret is that I should have read it 20 years ago.
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