To insure that its rich architectural legacy is preserved for generations to come, Docomomo US/Midwest Chapter raises the awareness and appreciation of modern architecture in Chicago and environs through lectures, meetings, walking tours and site visits. After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, architects like William LeBaron Jenny, Daniel Burnham, John Wellborn Root and Louis Sullivan flocked to Chicago to help rebuild the decimated city. The high-rise buildings that rose from the ashes redefined the architecture of the late 19th and early 20th century. They shed classical forms and heavy ornamentation in favor of structural expression. This spirit of innovation was tempered by the onset of the Great Depression and World War II, which brought a virtual halt to new construction. After World War II, Chicago once again established its commitment to architectural innovation. With the arrival of Mies van der Rohe from the Bauhaus in Germany to head up the newly formed architecture school at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1938, Chicago became a major center for post war modernism. Mies’ influence can be seen in work of a whole generation of modern architects. His pared down aesthetic of "less is more" became the definitive catchphrase for architecture of the mid-century. In the ensuing decades, Chicago-based Skidmore, Owings & Merrill became one of the most influential architectural firms in the nation, helping to define the look of modern corporate headquarters.
Buildings at Illinois Institute of Technology, Mies van der Rohe:
S.R. Crown Hall, a Mies masterpiece built in 1956 as the school of architecture building was recently named a National Historic Landmark and also received a matching grant from the Getty Foundation for restoration. (City of Chicago Landmark)
The Robert F. Carr Memorial Chapel of the Savior, Mies van der Rohe; simple and elegant chapel was originally built in 1952.
The Commons building by Mies in 1953 is now linked with the adjacent new student center designed by Rem Koolhaas.
Wishnick and Perlstein Halls, Mies van der Rohe earliest academic buildings on the campus were completed in 1946.
The Farnsworth House, Plano, IL, Mies van der Rohe - 1951 The National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Landmarks Preservation Council of Illinois recently purchased the Farnsworth House from Lord Palumbo. The house will remain in the public realm.
860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments, Mies van der Rohe 1949-51 (City of Chicago Landmark)
Federal Plaza, Mies van der Rohe – 1959-74
Daley Center, C.F. Murphy – 1965 (City of Chicago Landmark)
John Hancock Center, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill - 1970
Inland Steel Building, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill – 1957 (City of Chicago Landmark)
Marina City, Bertrand Goldberg -1959-64