Mies van der Rohe: The Brick Villa


For Mies, architecture was neither a technical problem nor applied sociology but rather, as he wrote in 1928, using words that are as ambiguous as they are emphatic, “the spatial implementation of intellectual decisions.”

—Christoph Asendorf, “Ludwig Mies van der Rohe—Dessau, Berlin, Chicago”

The full essay, “Completing the Mies van der Rohe Brick Country House, An Odyssey” can be found at Numéro Cinq here. It is a literary essay that I hope adds some extension and insight. It looks back to the Greeks and forward to recent architecture, adding reflections on Modernism and raising questions about current work along the way.

Pictures of the model can be found after the break.





3D sketch






Possible second floor plan:

2nd. floor



Another version of this essay can be found at Archinect here.

Toshimasa Sugimoto, Department of Architecture, Hiroshima University, has made 3D CAD renderings of the brick villa with a different interpretation, which can be found here. Other interpretations can be found on the Internet.

Asendorf’s essay found in Bauhaus, edited by Jeannine Fiedler and Peter Feierabend.

Drawings found at Archinect, “5 Projects: Interview 5 – Alex Maymind,” referenced with others in Alex Maymind’s proposal for a public art institution, about which he says,

These structures that begin and end with the grid are less invested in the ability to organize, unify, and contain as they are in its ability to perpetuate its own logic endlessly, even to the point of irrationality.

About his own design:

Despite this interest in analytical clarity, the architecture also wanted to exceed the diagram, to not be reducible to an abstract diagram, in a similar way that Eisenman’s houses series might exceed their descriptive analytic diagrams, which, despite their promise of clarity and spatial reasoning, perhaps are always more of a puzzle and set of clues rather than an explanation for complex form.

About the model

I have no special interest in modernist architecture, but Lego bricks accommodate it well, one reason I built this. Also the brick villa is an intriguing building in its own right and provides possibilities for variety when one is constrained to flat surfaces and right angles.

Proportions for the overall exterior walls are close, interior walls on the floor plans less so because of the scale and width of bricks.

Windows should be one piece, floor to ceiling. To support the thin, overhanging parts of the roof, I placed plates beneath and behind the flat tiles, visible in some of the pictures.

There should be a slight overhang of the roofs above all walls for guttering, but I was not able to produce this convincingly with Legos. A one-brick width, the basic unit, would have been too much.

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