The Other Mies van der Rohe

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886 - 1969) in S.R. Crown Hall at IIT College of Architecture PHOTO: Hedrich Blessing

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886 - 1969) in S.R. Crown Hall at IIT College of Architecture PHOTO: Hedrich Blessing

A few years ago, BTLA had the opportunity to work on the iconic Farnsworth House, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. (images in our portfolio). So we were particularly pleased to hear that Elmhurst Art Museum plans to unveil the original facade of the other Mies-designed home in Chicago's suburbs - McCormick House (which has been obscured by an addition connecting it to the museum). The iconic facade of this historically significant building will be visible for the first time in 20 years as part of Elmhurst Art Museum’s 20th anniversary celebration.

The Chicago Tribune's Blair Kamin wrote about the project in this article a few days ago, as did Architectural Digest, discussing the history of the building and the effort to bring it back to life. The McCormick House was moved from its original site in Elmhurst in 1994. In 1997, a design by Chicago architects DeStefano + Partners (now Lothan Van Hook DeStefano Architecture) made it possible for the house to be incorporated into the then-new museum. Here's a video, featuring Avram Lothan, discussing Mies and the McCormick House: 

 “The decision to connect the house to the museum in 1997 was with Mies’ idea of universal space in mind,” says Executive Director Jenny Gibbs. “The museum has since evolved its thinking and I am thrilled to lead the charge in unveiling our hidden treasure.”

According to museum staff, Heritage Architecture Studio will be working with Elmhurst Art Museum Executive Director Jenny Gibbs to oversee the work of Berglund Construction to be completed in 2017. Barry Bergdoll (architecture and design curator at MoMA) is advising on the project and curating a long-term exhibition, Mies In Chicago which will open in 2018.