Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s “The Office Building” (1923)
Translated from the German by Philip
Johnson. From Mies van der Rohe.
(Museum of Modern Art. New York, NY: 1947).
• • •
The office building is a house of work, of organization, of clarity, of economy.
Broad, light workspace, unbroken, but articulated according to the organization of the work. Maximum effect with minimum means.
The materials: concrete, steel, glass.
Reinforced concrete structures are skeletons by nature. No gingerbread. No fortress. Columns and girders eliminate bearing walls. This is skin and bone construction.
Functional division of the workspace determines the width of the building: 16 meters. The most economic system was found to be two rows of columns spanning 8 meters with 4 meters cantilevered on either side. The girders are spaced 5 meters apart. These girders carry the floor slabs, which at the end of the cantilevers are turned up perpendicularly to form the outer skin of the building. Cabinets are placed against these walls in order to permit free visibility in the center of the rooms. Above the cabinets, which are 2 meters high, runs a continuous band of windows.
[From G, No. 1, 1923]