Happy Birthday, Mies Van Der Rohe, Architect Who Influenced Midwest Cities

We don’t often send birthday wishes to architects, but Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe is special to the Midwest. On what would have been his 126th birthday, he’s being honored with a Google Doodle that brings to mind his famous saying, “less is more.”

Chicago sunrise over two of Mies' Black Boxes/photo by Micki Maynard

Much of his best-known work was built in the 1950s and 1960s, when urban identities were an active topic. Mies was instrumental in designing the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology, which includes some of the best examples of his Chicago portfolio.

I lived in a Mies designed apartment building in Chicago, one of the Four Black Boxes that sit at the bend on Lake Shore Drive. Even more than 50 years after it was built, it is a modern marvel.

Mies also played a big role in Detroit, too, helping create what is now known as Lafayette Park.

Here’s a video from WDET on Mies’ contribution in the Motor City.

WDET Presents: Mies van der Rohe (The Detroit – Berlin Connection) from WDET on Vimeo.

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Midwest Memo: A $3 Billion Idea To Stop Asian Carp, New Plans For Navy Pier And Streetcars In Milwaukee

The $3 billion fish What’s the best way to keep invasive Asian Carp from entering the Great Lakes and terrorizing the sport fishing industry? A new report says Lake Michigan should be disconnected from the Mississippi River. The two water bodies have no natural connection, but they’ve been connected by a series of man-made canals. Problem is, undoing that work will cost at least $3 billion.

Plans for the Pier Chicago’s Navy Pier is planning an $85 million face-lift. The Chicago Tribune has a look at five ambitious plans for the pier. One official admits to the paper that all the plans would exceed the budget for the project. But he’s hoping to generate enthusiasm for the Pier – and maybe some donations.

Streetcars in Milwaukee A plan to put streetcars in downtown Milwaukee moved one step forward yesterday. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that federal regulators say the plan will have no negative environmental impact. The question of paying for the rail line is more complicated.

Homeless, not hopeless The number of homeless children in Ohio has nearly doubled since 2006. Partner station ideastream Cleveland has a look at one program trying to keep those kids in school.

A visit from the Veep Less than a week after President Obama visited Ann Arbor, Mich., Vice President Biden will be in the Mitten State for a speech in Grand Rapids on Wednesday. Partner station Michigan Radio has the details.