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The Legacy of Mies van der Rohe & Dirk Lohan


Evanstonians packed the small auditorium in Block Museum Tuesday evening to hear a lecture from the museum’s architect, Dirk Lohan, on his work and his grandfather, famed Chicago architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

“Chicago is an extraordinary place for architecture and both men have had a tremendous impact on the Chicago skyline,” said Ingrid Zeller, senior lecturer in the Department of German, who helped to organize the One Book One Northwestern event.

Lohan’s lecture progressed through his grandfather’s life from his start building classic homes in Germany as a 19-year-old prodigy to establishing himself as an “upper class society architect,” to the development of his own, now-ubiquitous modern style.

After discussing some of his grandfather’s most famous works, including the Illinois Institute of Technology campus, the Farnsworth House and 860-880 Lake Shore Dr., Lohan transitioned to his own works, including Block Museum.

“It’s always a pleasure to talk in your own building,” said Lohan, who noted that elements of the building were inspired by Mies van der Rohe’s Berlin’s New National Gallery, a building which he helped to complete.

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