Mies van der Rohe McCormick House Transformed

Mies van der Rohe McCormick House Transformed

The Elmhurst Art Museum has unveiled details of a new installation taking place in the Mies van der Rohe-designed McCormick House in Chicago. Designed by Luftwerk, a Chicago-based artistic collaborative of Petra Bachmaier and Sean Gallero, the “Parallel Perspectives” installation is a site-specific exhibition that uses color and light interventions to activate and interpret the house, celebrating the use of geometry in the mid-Century prefab prototype.

The installation plays heavily on the use of color to transform the home’s architectural nuances, a move inspired by original developers Robert Hall McCormick and Herbert S. Greenwald, who offered to tint the windows of the prefab housing “almost any shade of the rainbow.” Leaving the windows plain, Luftwerks instead unpack the color spectrum inside the space with several light and color works with static and dynamic changing relationships.

Included in the installation is an immersive light piece that transforms the bedroom, neon pieces with mirrored effects, pulsing lightboxes, and colorful glass panes. The use of color throughout the domestic environment therefore shifts traditional spatial perceptions of the home, celebrating Mies’ modular prototype for prefab housing.

Originally designed in 1952, the McCormick House is a rare and important example of Mies’ mature style, incorporating elements of his Farnsworth House and Lake Shore Drive schemes from the previous year. The house is one of three single-family homes designed by the architect in the United States, serving as a home for the McCormick family and a prototype for a proposed group of smaller, affordable mass-produced modular homes in western Chicago suburbs.

The exhibition is on show from May 11th to August 25th, 2019. The Parallel Perspectives exhibition is part of Bauhaus 100, a global celebration of the German Art School, where Mies once served as director.

Reference: Elmhurst Art Museum

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