CHICAGO — The pandemic. The unrest that adopted the killing of George Floyd. Rampant looting in downtown Chicago. In opposition to that chaotic backdrop, it was going previously this 7 days to working experience the profound tranquil that characterizes the architecture of learn modernist Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
On the to start with flooring of a recently renovated building at the Illinois Institute of Technology, the campus on Chicago’s South Facet that bears Mies’ unmistakable imprint, floor-to-ceiling glass framed a serene perspective of honey locust and hawthorn trees. The looting that experienced ransacked downtown outlets earlier that early morning seemed considerably away.
The setting up I was touring was not S.R. Crown Hall, the apparent-span, metal-and-glass masterwork that is home to IIT’s architecture school. It was, alternatively, George J. Kacek Corridor, a workhorse 9-tale creating that Mies built in the mid-1950s as school, staff and married student housing and that Chicago architect Dirk Denison has creatively converted into an undergraduate dorm.
Kacek Hall’s concrete and brick exterior is squat, lacking the ideal proportions and sophisticated refinements of Mies’ legendary, metal-and-glass substantial-rises at 860 and 880 North Lake Shore Drive. But it speaks with an sincere, sometimes stirring, voice.