(W 7) The Seagram building and it’s discoveries

Beyond the challenges of having overlapping layers of expertise from several different architects and the conflict it may cause, the completion of such a project allowed the enlightenment of a quite fascinating aspect of architecture. These observation led me to value the presence of several educated minds on such projects, the contrast of such experts may cause friction in the working space, however the end result seems mean more than those differences.

Philip Johnson and Mies Van de Rhoe had their differences and reading through the Seagram article enabled me to understand the depth of the upside this situation stimulated. Van de Rohe’s expertise is highlighted through the articulation of the structure and it’s materiality, however these features were sometimes altered to match Philip’s concept of the lighting condition the building would hold at night. For example, the picture of the Seagram I chose above was taken at night and it highlights a great amount of transparency allowed by a repetition of the same glass pattern. This pattern inspired by Phillip and Kelly’s work on the glass house, enables the artificial light created by the building to reach farther into the exterior and catch the visitor’s attention from the corners of the streets.

It was not until Mies Van the Rhoe came up with the option that the building would be well lit up after daylight that Philip’s input on the project dramatically increased and somehow the AIA came up with disregards upon Mies’s license. These events justify the lack of Mies’s expertise into the making of the final design of the Seagram building, however, regardless of Johnson’s takeover after Mies’s rerturn to Chicago,  Phillip still had to work with the spatial condition Van de Rohe had initially constructed as a structure. Without Mies’s contribution, the Seagram wouldn’t be shaped into the spatial condition that it is and on the other side of the coin, the absence of the combination of Phillip and Kelly wouldn’t have allowed the magical effect that stemmed out of their expertise to happen.

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