When I clicked on Google on Tuesday, I realized that it was the 126th anniversary of the birth of famed “less is more” architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. There are two iconic Mies van der Rohe buildings in Baltimore, one of which I passed every day on my way to the office.
The most well-known of the two buildings in One Charles Center, a building which started the renaissance of downtown Baltimore in the 1960’s. One Charles Center is a 24 story office building, with an exterior curtain wall of dark brown-finished aluminum, and grey glass. It’s an eight-sided building, although not octagonal, but to fit the building site. It’s a stark contrast to some of the older, more elaborate buildings surrounding it, but because of the tall, elegant columns supporting the building, it fits the space and appears almost airy from street level. One Charles Center was built in 1962 and renovated in the 1980’s and again in the 1990’s when it was returned to it’s original design and condition.
The other building is an apartment building, Highfield House, located in one of Baltimore’s most posh neighbourhoods, filled with beautiful old homes, and lawns with not a blade of grass out of place.Again, this building sits on a series of column, with the ground level open and airy, and of course, with a central lobby filled with Barcelona chairs. On the north and south sides of the lobby, there are open areas, giving the building a lightness. Read about one of the units that’s for sale, here.When Highfield House was built in 1964, a major concession was made to appease the surrounding neighbourhoods – the building needed have a strong horizontal line, accomplished by designing column-to-column windows, making the building seem shorter than its 15 floors.
Happy Birthday, dear Ludwig!