ALMOST NOTHING Mies Van Der Rohe and his "Three courtyards house"
Updated: Jul 25, 2019
Meant to depict Friedrich Nietzsche’s ideal of the super-human in a transparent urban society, this house by the German architect Mies Van Der Rohe occupied a single lot within an ideal urban block.
He later composed a master plan with similar buildings in a variety of lot configurations. The house and its boundaries establish a dialectic between the traditional city and the contemporary one by means of a brick wall which is penetrated only once along the urban street side.
Three building materials are used in the representation of the building: a blackened brick on the boundaries of the lot (symbolizing the death of the traditional city in the hands of industrialization) and glass and steel (symbolizing the progressive interior and evolution of the new super-human of Zarathustra).
This is not a traditional family abode but a place of encounter for the protagonists of a New Society. The house lacks the traditional room distribution of a typical town house and replaces it with a fluidity of spaces beneath a floating flat roof - held by thin steel columns as if it was pure magic. Three unique courtyards delivered the configuration of the “T” building type: a landscaped forecourt with a straight path into the house, a paved yard at the rear of the living room, and a service courtyard in the remotest corner of the house plot.