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the German-American architect who pioneered the glass and steel architecture of the 20th-century International style, a style that was characterized by its severe simplicity and the refinement of its exposed structural elements. In two early masterpieces, the German Pavilion for the 1929 Barcelona exhibition (for which he also designed the famous chrome and leather Barcelona chair) and the Tugendhat House (1930) in Brno, Czech Republic, he produced long, low glass-sheathed buildings in which the interiors were treated as a series of free-flowing spaces with minimal walls, usually of rare marbles and woods. Although not the first architect to work in this mode, he carried rationalism and functionalism to their ultimate stage of development. His famous dictum "less is more" crystallized the basic philosophy of mid-20th-century architecture. Rigidly geometrical and devoid of ornamentation, his buildings depended for their effect on subtlety of proportion, elegance of material (including marble, onyx, chrome, and travertine), and precision of details. Mies was born in Aachen, Germany, on March 27, 1886, received his principal training as an employee of the architect and furniture designer Bruno Paul (1874-1968) from 1905 to 1907 and then as an employee of the pioneering industrial architect Peter Behrens from 1908 to 1911. Mies opened his own office in Berlin in 1912. He received relatively few commissions during his early years, but his completed works illustrate the styles that were to occupy him throughout his career. Mies was director of the Bauhaus School of Design, the major center of 20th-century architectural modernism, from 1930 until its disbandment in 1933. He moved to the U.S. in 1937, where, as director of architecture (1938-58) at the Illinois Institute of Technology, he trained a new generation of American architects. He produced many buildings in the U.S., including skyscrapers, museums, schools, and residences. His 37-story bronze-and-glass Seagram Building in New York City (1958; in collaboration with the American architect Philip Johnson) is considered the most subtle development of the glass-walled skyscraper, while his glass-walled Farnsworth House (1950, near Fox River, Ill.) is the culmination of his residential architecture. With the French architect Le Corbusier and the American architect Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies was one of the three most influential 20th-century architects, and his skyscraper designs in particular have been copied or adapted by most modern architects working in the field. He died in Chicago, Aug. 17, 1969.
MODEL: Mies van der Rohe had another famous aphorism: "God is in the details." Pay attention to "the details," the extra little things that make a difference. For instance? Learn to spell. Add one letter -- the letter "s" -- to the marvelous word laughter and what do you have? Slaughter. Ugh.
Your Birthday Today:
Han Solo. If you were born on March 27, you are very individualistic. You are a fast learner, but quickly break away to follow your own path. Some March 27 people are the originators and innovators of their field, while others make small but very unique contributions. Ruled by the number 9 and the planet Mars, you are strong-willed and a trend setter.
Hard-liner. Despite your open-mind, you are very practical and difficult to fool. Lying and pretense have no place in your life. Your uncompromising, direct nature may ruffle a few feathers, but others may value this honest, straightforward quality. You are not overly affectionate, sentimental or empathetic when it comes to dealing with people. You may even be hardened from years of struggle to succeed.
Techno -shell. You are mechanically inclined and have a scientific mind. Thus, you can often be found taking things apart to see how they work. You may lose yourself and your emotions in these technical pursuits. You may only break free of your shell in fits and bursts, startling others.
A feel for trends. No matter what you do for a living, you are able to sense what will jive with people and what will not. You are not a genius when it comes to human behavior, but have an intuitive understanding of society's motivations and values. In fact, you get along with groups better than individuals.
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