Der Garten von Mies

Mies van der Rohe

The New National Gallery in Berlin is considered to be one of the highlights of modern architecture. Its creator, Mies van der Rohe, ranks among the great archictects of the twentieth century. Born in Aachen in 1886, he left school early, worked in his father's stonemasonry, and left at the age of nineteen to study under the architect Peter Behrens in Berlin. He had his own architectural office in Berlin starting in 1912, he was active in the Deutscher Werkbund, and he served as Director of the Bauhaus in Dessau until it was shut down by the Nazis. In 1938 Mies left Germany for Chicago. In the USA he was able to put his revolutionary ideas on modern architecture into practice, building several sensational public and private buildings. Nevertheless, much of his work was considered too bold and rigorous, and remained unrealized.

His last great oeuvre was the New National Gallery in Berlin, inaugurated in 1968. neglect today.

Mies died in Chicago in 1969. The "secret" to Mies van der Rohe's epoch-making success lay in his concentration on clear and organized structure. The New National Gallery is the most consistent expression of this perception of architecture: the rectangular, glass-walled pavillion rests on a broad, raised terrace. The picture gallery beneath the pavillion receives natural daylight from the west directly via the sculpture garden, its extension. Here is a synthesis of the arts of immense compactness and composure, albeit one that shows signs of neglect today.