Regular or Super - Views on Mies van der Rohe
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Mies began his architectural career in Germany early in the 20th century and during the Thirties taught at the famed Bauhaus School of Art and Design in Berlin. In 1938, after the school was shut down by the Nazis, Mies emigrated to Chicago where he designed 22 buildings for the Illinois Institute of Technology. Over the next three decades, in a radical break from the predominant beaux arts style, he refined a distinctive, modernist architectural style emphasizing glass and steel in a variety of buildings whose structures creatively integrated surrounding public space.
Featuring stylish cinematography and an evocative jazz score, REGULAR OR SUPER illustrates many of Mies' classic buildings, combining these striking facades with observations from some architecture superstars, including Rem Koolhaas, Elizabeth Diller and Phyllis Lambert, which are interlaced with anecdotes from customers and neighbors of the gas station, plus comments from his biographer and family members.
REGULAR OR SUPER is a fascinating and informative introduction to the work of one of the 20th century's most influential architects and a thought-provoking demonstration of the social and artistic contributions that architecture at its best can make to our urban environments.
* * * * [4 out of 4 stars!] Should be seen immediately! --The Gazette
A fitting tribute to the work of Mies van der Rohe, legendary architect of the 20th century. --Le Devoir
Top Customer Reviews
The DVD mainly concentrates on commercial/high rise buildings and although it gives some attention to the Riehl House, both Villa Tugendhat and the Farnsworth House are almost totally ignored (you do see a model of Tugendhat and a pan across the deck of Farnsworth, which appears to be a photograph. Given the proximity of the Farnsworth House to Chicago, where a great deal of this documentary was shot, its omission is surprising. What I found particularly annoying was the amount of time spent on a service station Mies designed shortly before his death. It is from this service station that the documentary takes its title (I'm lost as to the importance placed on this building by the director); for me this just went on and on and on and while nice to look at, it's really not that interesting a structure. Clearly, however, the director was quite fascinated by it.
They do say that great architecture needs a great client and Mies had some excellent clients who are given the recognition they rightly deserve, particularly Herbert Greenwald a Chicago developer with whom Mies had a close professional relationship.
Franz Schulze, who wrote an excellent biography on Mies, appears and has some pertinent things to say about Mies and his work as do his colleagues and other architects. Dirk Lohan, Mies's nephew and the restoration architect for the Farnsworth House, also appears and has some interesting insights into Mies the man.
I can't say I'd recommend this DVD as something you have to have in your collection and personally I think Schulze's book is the ultimate source for anybody interested in the work of Mies van der Rohe. For me poor camera work, bad direction and a lack of storytelling let this DVD down quite badly and it has many rough edges. The documentary appears to have been made (in a hurry) for French speaking Canadians so you'll have to change the language setting to English (if that is your native language) as the subtitles are incomplete and very badly done.
Amazon only had a couple copies and I got one of them, the others are probably also gone by now since they were ordered from Amazon by my friends