The Significance of Mies van der Rohe’s Core House
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Despite the extensive literature available on the work of Mies van der Rohe, it is still possible to identify significant gaps on the subject. As previously demonstrated, historians have generally overlooked the Core House’s size variations, what becomes evident in the way the project has been commonly named. Despite the possibility of having different sizes, after many decades the Core House did not become a custom house produced, just like a piece of clothing, in small, medium and large sizes. To blame this destiny for a certain lack of privacy while praising the house’s transparency and fluidity, is to establish a paradox, for these qualities are associated. But most of all, as it was demonstrated, this project was not really intended to be built. It was primarily developed as an experiment where, under ideal circumstances, the architect would be able to challenge certain architectural concepts and test their limits. Indeed, through the Core House, Mies van der Rohe formulated concepts that would successfully inspire future designs. This influence becomes more evident when one realizes that its theoretical ideas had to be adapted in order to attend the specific circumstances and practical demands of the commissioned projects. Therefore, to consider the Core House as just a project too impractical to be built is to neglect its important achievements. Instead of a prototype that did not work, it is rather a source of alternatives to expand established boundaries.
In this sense, the Core House is an outstanding example of a theoretical project. Besides innovating and influencing later designs as much as many built works, the Core House can also be considered a crystalline exemplar of modern architecture, expressing the historic...
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...ked if he often designed buildings without being commissioned. He answered:
This is interesting because most of our designs are developed long before there is a practical possibility of carrying them out. I do that on purpose and have done it all my life. I do it when I am interested in something. I do it just to hope that one day the building will be lived in and liked.
Through the mentioned examples, from Étienne Boullée to Bernard Tschumi, and more specifically through Mies van der Rohe’s Core House, it was demonstrated that theoretical projects can be very relevant to architecture. These projects can be as important as any built work for their intrinsic qualities and capacity to express their epoch. Yet, their relevance is increased when they fulfil their greater potential to become agents of change, stimulating progress and giving birth to evolution.