Mies Van der Rohe's Krefeld Villas
Kent Kleinman, Leslie Van Duzer
40 color illustrations, 60 b/w illustrations
Publication date: 6/1/2005
|With all of the attention Mies van der Rohe has received over the last few years, it's hard to believe that there could be a pair of "undiscovered" buildings begging for even the slightest consideration--and receiving none. Such has been the fate, however, of Mies's Krefeld Villas, a pair of neighboring brick residences of typically restrained elegance built from 1927 to 1930. Their anonymity is, to some degree, Mies's own doing; in 1959, in his only public comment about the projects, he quipped that he would have preferred to use more glass, but the clients objected. "I had great trouble," he said.
As historians Kent Kleinman and Leslie van Duzer show in this carefully researched, eminently readable study, sometimes it's best not to take the architect at his word. Here they guide us through the two villas, which were converted into a joined museum of contemporary art after World War II. Each chapter begins with a study of an artist who has created a site-specific installation within the villas. By analyzing how Yves Klein, Sol LeWitt, Richard Serra, and Ernst Caramelle chose to engage Mies's architecture, they arrive at a truly original understanding of these two forgotten masterworks.
Kent Kleinman and Leslie Van Duzer, authors of Villa Muller: A Work of Adolf Loos Princeton Architectural Press,1994) and Rudolf Arnheim: Revealing Vision (University of Michigan Press, 1997), teach at the State University of New York in Buffalo and the University of Minnesota respectively. They have taught at schools throughout Europe and the United States and have published in numerous international journals. Kleinman, a 2005 Fellow at the Canadian Center for Architecture and a 2002 Public Goods Senior Fellow at the University of Michigan, is currently writing on the work of William Muschenheim and early modernity in the United States. Van Duzer, a recent Fulbright recipient, is currently preparing a book with Maria Szadkowska on Adolf Loos's complete Czech oeuvre.