MIES-OMA. IIT Chicago

October 02, 2008

MIES-OMA. IIT Chicago

In his first project in America, Mies puts his Puritan philosophy to practice (see The moral condition of materials, by Javier Mozas) and, adapting to the urban grid of Chicago, he lays out a campus split into two by the elevated tracks of the Chicago L.

Rigour, purity, order and truth. Standardisation, module, steel and glass. These are words that have been excessively associated to the work of Mies and stand out on his buildings. But the collection of objects that make up the campus was missing something. Its owners realised that all this architectural excellence wasn't noticed by most of the students who visited the area. Perhaps the problem wasn't in the objects that Mies had designed, but in the space left between them, the elevated train tracks divide the setting in two and a certain no-man's-land extends to both sides and disconnects the academic buildings from student residences.

This is where Koolhaas came in. The OMA project for the Campus Center of the IIT is located right below the tracks, incorporating an existing and practically isolated building, the Commons Hall, and its ground plan responds to the paths students draw daily as they cross the campus. The overabundance of spaces, colours, materials, finishes, images and graphic resources might overwhelm some, but it is quite possibly the best way to confront Mies.

Photos taken by Javier Mozas and Javier Arpa, available under request.



IIT Student Center


IIT Student Center




IIT Student Center


IIT Student Center


IIT Student Center


IIT Student Center


IIT Student Center


IIT Student Center


IIT Student Center


IIT Student Center


IIT Student Center




IIT Commons Hall + IIT Student Center


IIT Crown Hall




IIT Crown Hall




IIT Crown Hall











 


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