Tuesday, 2 March 2021


From a photograph by PJ Leher   https://www.instagram.com/pjlehrer


 you stub your toe on the miracles of Modernist architecture sooner or later you’ll discover Mies van der Rohe, (1886 – 1969) the Prussian titan of the Modernist movement, last director of the Bauhaus, a man for modern times. Get this far and you’ll find the Seagram Building! A black shimmering lovely that lives at 375 Park Av. New York  


Completed in 1958, it is a proud 515 feet tall, designed as the corporate headquarters of Seagram and Son, the Canadian distillers. The CEO’s daughter Phyliss Lambert gave ‘Mies’ (that is how we refer to him by the way) an unlimited budget. What she and her dad got was one of the most influential buildings in the canon of American architecture. Oh, and at a cost of $41 million it was the world’s most expensive skyscraper at the time of its completion. 



he building’s 38-story structure combines a steel moment frame, a steel and reinforced concrete core for lateral stiffness. In terms of its construction approach, it grabbed a number of ‘firsts’ for the use of concrete and steel.


The Seagram Building and the Lever House across Park Avenue set the architectural style for New York City skyscraper for several decades. Lever House was covered here in October https://draft.blogger.com/blog/post/edit/5255565130713497508/4663686501684903198


Joseph Seagram sold the building in 1979, today it is owned by Aby J. Rosen the West German-born American real estate tycoon who lives in New York City. As the co-founder of RFR Holding, which owns a portfolio of 71 properties across the US. I am sure the Seagram Building is a favourite, not least because it has three restaurants. Perhaps Aby gets a discount?



ies called his buildings "skin and bones" architecture. He was always concerned with expressing the spirit of the modern era. He is often associated with his fondness for the aphorisms, "less is more" and "God is in the details".


Mies van der Rohe did a lot of impressive work in Germany in the early part of the 20th century; until he left 1937. The Bauhaus was closed in 1933, having been raided by the Gestapo in April of that year. 


He settled in Chicago and worked from his studio there for his entire 31-year career in the US. He created over 40 significant buildings in the US and Canada. Returning to Germany in 1968 he designed the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin.


Best-ever profile here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_Mies_van_der_Rohe

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Thank you very much for your comments - Tim