This inspiring 288-page volume from Metropolis books captures the convivial atmosphere the authors found at Detroit's Lafayette Park, a housing developement designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe that encompasses 32 hectares of towers, townhouses and parks. I visited the area 15 years ago, the book took me right back to its quiet streets, green spaces and distinctive glass and steel design. The three editors (also the book's graphic designers) bring Layfayette to life, primarily through interviews with residents and photographs of them in their apartments. The images provide an intruiging glimpse of how personal style rarely conforms to strict Modernism. (Helena Grdadolnik Azure Magazine
Thanks to a master plan by architect Mies van der Rohe, urban planner Ludwig Hilbersheimer, landscape architect Alfred Caldwell and the spirit of its residents, the neighborhood turned out to be one of the most successful communities in Detroit.
Or, as essayist Marsha Music, who lives in one of the 183 town-houses of Lafayette Park, puts it: "The peace here may be a reward, bequeathed through the ages, for having the commitment and audacity to maintain an integrated community in one of the most segregated cities in the United States. God is certainly in these details, as Mies might say."
It's the prime achievement of "Thanks for the view, Mr. Mies" to show those details in all their significance, and to show them in a very clever and never all too earnest way. See glossy photos of bathroom doorknobs and mail slots, learn more about early community newsletters, whistle with the neighborhood bagpiper.
In two words: Be amazed. (Sebastian Hofer The Detroit News
In their new book, "Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies," which is due out at the end of the month (Metropolis Books, $29.95), the editors Danielle Aubert, Lana Cavar and Natasha Chandani, graphic designers all, offer a portrait of Lafayette Park very different from the classic Mies monograph.
Contents include interviews with residents of Lafayette Park's towers and town houses; archival materials from the complex's history; an account of nine days spent trying to climate-control a corner apartment; and essays on Mies in Detroit, the Lafayette Park landscape, bird-watching and a record of bird-strike deaths (birds and plate glass don't mix).
At-home portraits of residents by Corine Vermeulen show Mies's architecture as a strong frame for personal expression. Some homes look like shrines to 1958, while others reflect the lived-in décor of decades. Jacqueline Neal, an interior designer and 12-year resident of the Pavilion, the smallest of the complex's three towers, spoke last month about living and accessorizing with Mies. (Alexandra Lange The New York Times Home
"Thanks for the View, Mr. Mies" explores how Modernist architecture improves lives in the Lafayette Park section of Detroit, which has the world's largest concentration of Mies van der Rohe buildings. (It's also one of the most racially integrated neighborhoods in what might well be America's most segregated city.) (T: The New York Times Style Magazine