While Frank Lloyd Wright built a veritable temple to himself in Oak Park, Mies van der Rohe chose a more utilitarian route, which certainly fits with his Bauhausian background. The great modernist, who designed the landmark Farnsworth House, the Federal Center, the IBM Building, 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartments in Chicago, to name just a few, had a basic loft-style office in the Streeterville neighborhood of Chicago.
Wright's Oak Park studio is marked with the limestone plaque he created that boldly reads, "Frank Lloyd Wright, Architect." The stone tablet ensured Wright's permanence, and underscores his outspoken and oft overbearing personality.
Mies is another matter. In photographs, wearing handsome bespoke suits and often holding a cigar, he appears distinguished, quiet, even distant. The simple, clean, nondescript building that housed the office of the great builder of mid-century skyscrapers matches his image, and pretty much sums up his observation that "less is more."
No trace of his presence remains at this humble building. I once asked the building porter if he knew on which floor Mies had his office.
"Mies who?" he replied.
When you visit the Farnsworth House with Off the Map Chicago, we'll stop by where Mies worked, and also catch a rather surprising [shocking to some!] look at where Mies lived.