Architecture: Museum Without Walls

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who died four years ago at the age of 83, was by general consent one of the three grand masters of early modern architecture, along with Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier. Mies' pure, honed elegance, as seen everywhere in his works, from his famous Barcelona chair (1929) to his glass-curtain walls, has transformed the appearance of every major city on earth. No modern architect has been more widely (or in most cases more clumsily) imitated.

Until 1958, when the success of his bronze Seagram building in Manhattan...

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