Mies. Skomplikowane życie architekta minimalisty

Agustín Ferrer Casas

13,50 €

The comic book Mies. The Complicated Life of a Minimalist Architect is a fictionalized biography of both Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and the “heroic” era of modern architecture. The reading makes us realise who one of the most elegant and most imitated architects of the 20th century really was. We see here a man who seems to fear nothing, a stonemason’s son hungry for knowledge, a young man who complicates his life without hesitation, and a man who does not miss any opportunity to have fun.

The famous architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe flies to Berlin for the laying of the foundation stone of his project, the Neue Nationalgalerie. He is accompanied by his grandson Dirk Lohan, also an architect. In the conversation during the flight, memories of the most important moments in Mies’ private life - projects, clients and customers, the war, enemies, friends and lovers - return.

This is a historical comic book. The most important facts are confirmed in the sources: that Goebbels wanted an injection of fresh blood in German art, and that Hitler trampled on the Reichstag project submitted by van der Rohe. That Mies signed - to the disgust of his Bauhaus colleagues - a manifesto in support of the Führer, and that he fled Germany when he realised he would never build anything there again. Also real are the patient wife, the grandson Dirk with whom Mies speaks, the loyal Lilly Reich and the beautiful Lora Marx.

But the character who perhaps best illustrates the difficulty of reconciling fame, architecture and truth is the nephrologist Edith Farnsworth, whose dream of a house was mistaken for a desire for a relationship, and after all that house she sold and moved to Italy. However, her name survives forever in the name of the building that for several years allowed her to believe in a better world.

The greatest achievement of the author of the comic strip, Ferrer Casas, can be summed up by Flaubert’s aphorism, which Mies liked to quote, crediting his authorship: God is in the details. The architect’s suits, his cigar, his martini glass, the winter garden of the Tugendhat villa in Brno or the views from the building on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago are all authentic details that build the story.

The foreword was written by world-renowned architect Norman Foster, winner of the 1990 Mies van der Rohe Award and the 1999 Pritzker Prize.

publisher description

Book in Polish only