ARTS & CULTURE
03/27/2013 12:45 pm ET

Mies Van Der Rohe Birthday: Celebrating The German-American Architect With A Look Back At His Work (PHOTOS)

Today is the birthday of German-American architect and Bauhaus great, Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe. The master of modern architecture would turn 127 years old if her were miraculously still alive today.

ludwig mies van der rohe

This picture taken in 1931 shows an outside view of the Tugendhat Villa in Brno, Czech Republic. The famous modern villa designed by German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and completed in 1930 has undergone a major two year refurbishment and is set to open to public March, 6, 2012. (AP Photo/Brno City Museum Archive)

Working in the period after World War I, Mies embarked on an architectural style all his own, incorporating modern materials such as plate glass and steel to create minimalist structures marked by their open spaces. His work, often referred to as "skin and bones" architecture, abided by a mantra he famously popularized -- "less is more." Two well-known buildings that embody this philosophy are the the temporary German Pavilion he designed for the Barcelona exposition in 1929 and the Villa Tugendhat in Brno, Czech Republic, which he finished in 1930.

Throughout his career, Mies continued to use modern ideas developed by theorists of his day to mold his art. He leapt from the aesthetic mindset of Russian Constructivism to the design attitude to Adolf Loos, often gravitating toward credos that allowed him to replace decadent ornamentation with simple materials. Before WWII, he served as the last director of the disintegrating Bauhaus institution, a position he left in order to emigrate to the United States.

Settling himself in Chicago, he quickly established his distinct teaching methods at the Illinois Institute of Technology, creating an education system known as the Second Chicago School. Much of his later work would be built in the Midwest and abroad, including sections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the National Gallery in Berlin.

Although remembered for his modern building designs, his furniture, including pieces like the Barcelona chair and table and the Brno chair, remain influential to this day.

Scroll through the slideshow below for a look inside Mies' iconic building, the Villa Tugendhat. Let us know how you are celebrating his birthday in the comments.

PHOTO GALLERIES
Tugendhat Villa in Brno, Czech Republic

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