top of page

Crown Hall - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe



Project Specifications:

Location :

Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), Chicago, Illinois, United States

Official name :

S.R. Crow Hall

Design :

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Year :

1950-19561945-1950

Category :

School

 

Crown Hall, located on the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) campus in Chicago, is a building that was designed by Mies van der Rohe as part of a masterplan for the campus. The masterplan covers approximately 50 hectares and includes 20 buildings, making it the largest concentration of works by Mies in the world.

Image courtesy by - Arch.iit.edu

The American Institute of Architects has recognized IIT as one of the most significant buildings of the 20th century. Crown Hall itself is a notable building, built in 1954 using innovative technology that combines steel and glass. It was originally intended to be used as the School of Architecture.


Mies' original plan for the campus centered on two main buildings: a campus for students and a library. However, due to economic restrictions, he had to adapt his plans. It was not until the post-World War II period, when the architect was able to create his modernist monuments, including Crown Hall.


Mies designed a new building for the School of Architecture that was more ambitious and daring than the previous one on the campus. However, during its construction, he encountered numerous obstacles, such as resistance from the University Council due to its high cost and objections from building inspectors who required the columns to be coated in concrete for fireproofing. As a result, Mies chose to register the building as a warehouse in order to avoid having to meet fire resistance standards.

Image courtesy by - Eric Allix Rogers

During the construction of Crown Hall, the architect faced an objection from building inspectors who required the inclusion of handrails on the stairs for safety purposes. However, Mies' design for the handrails was ultimately approved due to its elegant minimalism. Despite these and other obstacles, the building was completed in 1956.


It is known for its transparent structure that exemplifies Mies' focus on both maximum and minimum design. In 2005, the building underwent a major renovation that improved accessibility, functionality, and energy efficiency, and restored the building to its original appearance from 1956.


 

Design Philosophy :


Crown Hall is surrounded by green areas on the IIT campus, which helps to insulate it from external noise. The buildings on the campus are separated from one another and are generally three or four stories tall, which allows for unobstructed views and natural light. From inside the buildings, it is possible to see the skyline of Chicago to the north.

Image courtesy by - Eric Allix Rogers

The building has four sides, allowing for natural light to enter and for views to be enjoyed from inside. The main entrance is located on the south facade, and the north facade has windows that provide natural light and a view of the city of Chicago.


The building is oriented south to north in order to maximize the use of natural light and minimize the intensity of east-west light, which can be more difficult to control.


Crown Hall is a rectangular, two-story building that is self-contained and surrounded by a large green area with trees. Its four walls are made of glass, which gives it an industrial aesthetic and allows for a clear view of the surrounding environment.

Image courtesy by - wikiarquitectura

The building is defined by its simplicity, particularly in its steel frames. It is designed to be separate from the other buildings on campus, while still respecting the context in which it is located.

 

Material & Façade :


Mies was known for his use of modern materials in his buildings, and Crown Hall is a prime example of this. The building is characterized by its use of steel and glass, which were innovative materials for the time. The steel frames provide the structural support for the building and the glass walls allow for natural light to enter the space and provide views of the surrounding environment.

Image courtesy by - Hagen Stier

The glass walls also contribute to the industrial aesthetic of the building. In addition to steel and glass, the building also features concrete flooring and exposed structural elements, such as columns and beams, which further contribute to the industrial look of the building.


Mies' use of these materials, along with his focus on simplicity and minimalism, helped to define the modern architectural style known as International Style. The combination of steel, glass, concrete, and exposed structural elements give Crown Hall a sleek and modern appearance that has made it a notable building on the IIT campus and a destination for fans of modern architecture.

 

The construction :


During the construction of Crown Hall, Mies faced numerous obstacles. One of the main challenges was the initial resistance from the University Council, who believed that the project was too expensive. There were also objections from building inspectors who required the inclusion of handrails on the stairs and the coating of the steel columns with concrete for fireproofing purposes.

Image courtesy by - Eric Allix Rogers

In order to bypass these requirements, Mies registered the building as a warehouse in order to avoid having to meet fire resistance standards. Despite these challenges, the building was completed in 1956.


In 2005, Crown Hall underwent a major renovation in order to improve accessibility, functionality, and energy efficiency, and to restore the building to its original appearance from 1956. The renovation included repairs to the steel and glass exterior, as well as the concrete flooring. The building's mechanical systems were also updated to increase energy efficiency.

Image courtesy by - Hagen Stier

This included the installation of new HVAC systems and the replacement of old windows with more energy-efficient ones. The renovation allowed Crown Hall to continue serving as a functional and modern building on the IIT campus. The updates made during the renovation not only improved the functionality of the building, but also helped to preserve its historical and architectural significance.

 

Drawings :

 




10 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Kommentare


bottom of page