Chicago’s preservation advocacy groups did not rally to save the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe-designed hut (behind fence) at the Illinois Institute of Technology. (Tribune photo by Abel Uribe)

Here’s a sentence I never thought I would write: It was good to see the demolition crews pulling down the building by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Mies, as all architecture buffs know, was the master of steel-and-glass modernism, a towering intellect who loved to smoke a good cigar and to toss off aphorisms like: “We don’t invent a new architecture every Monday morning.”

But the building, whose demolition began in earnest on Monday, isn’t one of his masterpieces. It’s a squat brick hut at the southwest corner of the Illinois Institute of Technology that a cadre of earnest bloggers have attempted to elevate to the status of a minor gem.

Never mind that Chicago’s preservation advocacy groups did not rally to their cause. Or that Mies’ grandson, Chicago architect Dirk Lohan, said of the building: “Mies probably told some junior member (of his office) to do this thing. … You can’t write architectural history with that building.”


Blair Kamin
Chicago Tribune