Princeton Architectural Press
April 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.
144 p., 26 x 20 cm