Mies and Dark Transparency

Rosemarie Haag Bletter 

Barcelona Pavilion, 1928-1929

Mies’s architecture is synonymous with modernism and modernism is synonymous with glass. Glass is also commonly associated with the presumed rationalism of modern architecture. Yet the mythic trajectory of glass follows a more oblique route than the simple modernist storyline that connects, for instance, Joseph Paxton’s Crystal Palace to Mies’s glass pavilions and skyscrapers. Mies’s first public discussion of his projects occurred in Frühlicht, a short-lived Expressionist periodical edited by the architect Bruno Taut. Although Mies was not generally associated with the Expressionists, his brief encounter with them was significant for his subsequent use of glass, which addresses more than its pragmatic property – the admission of light – and hides strange conceptual spaces and irrational passages... [+]

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