Crown Hall
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Architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
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Location Chicago, Illinois   map
Date 1950 to 1956   timeline
Building Type architecture school
 Construction System steel and glass
Climate temperate
Context campus
Style Modern
Notes At the Illinois Institute of Technology. exposed, expressed steel frame, roof suspended from spanning I-beams.


Photo, exterior overview

Photo, exterior, entry facade

Bays, southeast corner


Elevation Drawing

Plan Drawing

Plan Drawing

Detail Drawing

Detail Drawing

Section Drawing

3D Model
3D Massing Model (DesignWorkshop 3dmf)

3D Spatial Model (DesignWorkshop 3dmf)

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Discussion Crown Hall Commentary

"One of Mies van der Rohe's last building erected on the Illinois Institute of Technology campus is Crown Hall, a superb example of his clear span designs. The roof is suspended from the underside of four steel plate girders which in turn are carried by eight exterior steel columns. These columns are spaced 60 feet apart with the roof cantilevered 20 feet at each end....Crown Hall, in which architecture, city planning, and design are taught, has a symmetrical plan about its short axis. Free-standing partitions at the height of the window muntins partially subdivide the space. Only two enclosed service ducts interrupt the ceiling. A pair of interior stairways leads to a basement level used for workshops, offices, toilet rooms, and mechanical equipment. ...Natural ventilation is provided by louvers at floor level.

— A. James Speyer. Mies van der Rohe. p73.

The Creator's Words

"The essence of space is not determined by the mere presence of limiting surfaces but by the spiritual principle of this limitation. The true task of architecture is to let the structure articulate the space; it is not the building that is the work of art but space."

— Mies van der Rohe. from Mies van der Rohe. Less is More. p86.

Mies, in response to the challenge that his early buildings for the IIT campus would be considered outdated in comparison to his later works there:"I was not afraid of that. The concept would not become outmoded for two reasons. It is radical and conservative at once. It is radical in accepting the scientific and technological driving and sustaining forces of our time. It has a scientific character, but it is not scientific. It uses technological means, but it is not only concerned with a purpose but also with a meaning, as it is not only concerned with a function but also with an expression. It is conservative as it is based on the eternal laws of architecture: Order, Space, Proportion."

— Mies van der Rohe. from John Zukowsky, organizer. Mies Reconsidered: His Career, Legacy, and Disciples. p23.


Interior space dimensions: 120' x 220' x 18'

Sources on Crown Hall

Werner Blaser and Monica Stucky. Drawings of Great Buildings. Boston: Birkhauser Verlag, 1983. ISBN 3-7643-1522-9. LC 83-15831. NA2706.U6D72 1983. plan and section drawings, p159. — Available at

Peter Carter. Mies van der Rohe at Work. London: The Pall Mall Press, 1974. NA1088.M65C37 1974. ISBN 0-269-28304-8. photo of view from south-west, f208, p86. drawing of main level plan, p87. drawing of section, p87. drawing of south elevation, p87. drawing of plan detail, p90. drawing of section detail, p90.

Francis D. K. Ching. Architecture: Form, Space, and Order. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1979. ISBN 0-442-21535-5. LC 79-18045. NA2760.C46. perspective drawing of facade, p29.   A nice graphic introduction to architectural ideas. Updated 1996 edition available at

Roger H. Clark and Michael Pause. Precedents in Architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1985. grid geometry diagram, p194.   Updated edition available at

Johnson Architectural Images. Copyrighted slides in the Artifice Collection.

Spiro Kostof. A History of Architecture. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985. ISBN 0-19-503472-4. LC 84-25375. NA200.K65 1985. p731, f 28.6   Available at

Byron Mikellides, ed. Architecture for People. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1980. ISBN 0-03-057489-7. LC 79-48067. exterior overview photo, commentary, f3.

Mies van der Rohe. Less is More. Zurich: Waser Verlag, 1986. ISBN 3-9080-8020-7. NA1088.M65B572 1986. p86.

Dennis Sharp. Twentieth Century Architecture: a Visual History. New York: Facts on File, 1990. ISBN 0-8160-2438-3. NA680.S517. exterior photo. — Available at

A. James Speyer. Mies van der Rohe. Chicago: Hillison & Etten, 1968. NA1088.M65S6. p73.

Marcus Whiffen and Frederick Koeper. American Architecture. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1984. exterior photo, f285, p255. — An excellent survey of American architecture. Reprint Edition available at

John Zukowsky, organizer. Mies Reconsidered: His Career, Legacy, and Disciples. Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, New York: Rizzoli International Publications, 1986. ISBN 0-8478-0771-1. LC 86-17303. NA2707.M55A4 1986. p23.

Kevin Matthews. The Great Buildings Collection on CD-ROM. Artifice, 2001. ISBN 0-9667098-4-5.— Available at  Find books about Crown Hall


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