860-880, which was built between 1949 and 1951, consists of two 26-story, exposed steel and glass apartment towers set at right angles on an irregular travertine plaza. Based on ideas and theories Mies had been perfecting since his earliest days as an independent architect in 1920s Berlin, the buildings redefined highrise living for the post-war generation.
Many architects and critics believe 860-880 is the closest Mies ever came to achieving his goal of less is more “skin and bones” architecture. According to the American Institute of Architects’ Guide to Chicago, “No other building(s) by Mies had as immediate or strong an impact on his American contemporaries, and the influence of these structures was to pervade much of modern architecture.”
860-880 is the third and largest Mies commission Krueck & Sexton, a firm more noted for its original work, has completed in recent years. The other two, all are in Chicago: Crown Hall on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology and the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, born Maria Ludwig Michael Mies (March 27, 1886 – August 17, 1969) was a German-American architect. He was commonly referred to and addressed by his surname, Mies, by his colleagues, students, writers, and others.
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, along with Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier, is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of Modern architecture. Mies, like many of his post World War I contemporaries, sought to establish a new architectural style that could represent modern times just as Classical and Gothic did for their own eras. He created an influential 20th century architectural style, stated with extreme clarity and simplicity.
His mature buildings made use of modern materials such as industrial steel and plate glass to define interior spaces. He strived towards an architecture with a minimal framework of structural order balanced against the mplied freedom of free-flowing open space. He called his buildings “skin and bones” architecture.
He sought a rational approach that would guide the creative process of architectural design, and is known for his use of the aphorisms “less is more” and “God is in the details”.