Archive for the ‘Japanese’ Category


That great ‘Japanese’ architect, Mies van der Rohe.

At Crown Hall, especially since the restoration, the translucent glass looks like Japanese screens. The shadows of twigs dancing on them from behind are living calligraphy.

One of the joys of living in a Mies building is its zen-like simplicity, derived from a sensitivity to space and materials, and pared down seemingly over many lifetimes.

(I spoke about all of this once on Japanese television. But of our long conversation I think the part the producers liked best was about how Mies loved martinis!)

A favorite book on my shelf is West Meets East / Mies van der Rohe

in which the great photographer of modernism, Werner Blaser, posts a photo of a work by Mies and on the facing page, a photo of a piece of architecture in Japan. They are enchantingly similar.

I’m pleased to report that beginning June 16th, the Mies van der Rohe Society and IIT will put on an exhibition of Blaser’s work,

West is East is West / Mies van der Rohe
IIT exhibits photography studying Mies’ concepts
and Eastern philosophy

The Mies van der Rohe Society presents an exhibition created by Swiss architect and author Werner Blaser opening June 16. Ten pairs of large-scale black and white photos by Blaser compare the work of pioneering Western architect Mies van der Rohe and the building traditions of the East. Blaser has published 101 books, 15 about Mies or his buildings. He is a former student and colleague of Mies’.

West is East is West / Mies van der Rohe runs through July 29 at the Mies masterpiece, S.R. Crown Hall, 3360 S. State St., Chicago. Hours are 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. daily. Admission is $5.00, or free for those taking the tour of campus.

Lucky us, the exhibition will be right there- in the temple – Crown Hall.

-Edward Lifusanu

(as they called my father and mother, when they lived in Japan after the Korean War. They brought some prints, sculptures, fans and other artwork home, so I grew up with that aesthetic. And I heard wonderful tales of the beauty there, and the Japanese love of, and respect for beauty. Maybe that’s partly why in Chicago I live in a Mies?)