In the rolling landscape around the former industrial German city of Krefeld, Robbrecht en Daem architecten realized a striking temporary pavilion based on a design for a golf course clubhouse by Mies van der Rohe dating from 1930, which was never built. Christiane Lange, art historian and curator for Projekt MIK, invited the Belgian architectural firm of Robbrecht en Daem architecten to create a temporary objet d’architecture using the series of historical sketches of the project that were discovered during research into the Mies van der Rohe
Archive at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. The temporary installation by Robbrecht en Daem architecten is open for viewing from 27 May to 31 October 2013 at the original location of the project.
The installation of 84 by 87 m is b uilt primarily of wood. It is be ing conceived as a life-size model whose abstraction brings out the essence of Mies’s architecture and spatial concepts. Along with the two other famous Mies projects in K refeld – Haus Esters and Haus Lange, characterised by their brick volumetries and classical plan – the pavilion serves as a lovely illustration of the evolution that Mies brought to Modernism.
Krefeld, an industrial city on the edge of the Ruhr area, already housed two masterpieces from the early European career of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe: the twin project consisting of Haus Esters and Haus Lange, which date from 1927-1930. Those two projects, along with a handful of other project from Mies’s hand, an extensive collection of furniture, several exhibition scenographies and the corporate building Verseidag bear witness to the good contacts that Mies had with the textile industry in Krefeld in the inter-bellum period.
Art historian Christiane Lange – granddaughter of textile manufacturer Hermann Lange, for whom Mies built Haus Lange – has been heading up a research and art project into the creations that Mies did for Krefeld.
The research project ‘Mies in K refeld (Projekt MIK)’ has already seen two publications, an exhibitions and a documentary film around the theme. During research into the Mies van der Rohe Archive at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City, Lange stumbled upon a series of sketches that Mies had made in 1930 for a pavilion at the golf course close to Krefeld, that had never been built.
The unique archive material for the clubhouse includes sketched plans and perspectives that, in spite of being only few in number, manage to give a good impression of Mies’s ambitions for the project. The design was to be part of a series of experiments into the spatial principles of the plan libre. The sketches show a spacious roof surface on slender columns, combined with a s trongly rhythmical floor design and a few well positioned dividing walls that encapsulate the space. Along with the Esters villa and the Lange villa, known for their brick volumes and their open, yet classical plan, the clubhouse would have served as the perfect illustration for the evolution that Mies brought to Modernism.
For Christiane Lange, the unique archive material was the inspiration to curate an ar tistic project linking her historical interest in the persistent relation of Mies with the Krefeld based silk industry and its protagonists, with the broader question into the significance of Mies’s architecture for contemporary architectural practice. She challenged the Belgian Robbrecht en Daem architecten to develop a new interpretation of Mies’s design and to create an objet d’architecture to scale at the original site of the project.
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