Mies van der Rohe, famed architect, designed this home for a fraternity

Plans from 1950s were shelved, unearthed decades later; work almost complete on what will be part of Indiana University’s architecture school

National Weekend Edition /
Sep.September 26, 2021 12:00 PM
Mies Van Der Rohe-Designed Building Nears Completion (Getty Images, iStock)

Work is nearly complete on a 10,000-square-foot building on the Indiana University campus, from what had been a long-shelved design by famed architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

Blueprints date to the early 1950s, but it wasn’t until 2013 that then-university president Michael McRobbie heard about the design and pursued the construction, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Mies designed the boxy building as the new home of the Alpha Theta chapter of the Phi Lambda Phi fraternity, according to the report. But the fraternity couldn’t cobble together the money for construction.

After the project petered out, the modernist architect’s plans were passed down to successive fraternity presidents, and eventually donated to the Mies archive at the Museum of Modern Art in 1996.

A Phi Lambda Phi member and future founder of Sandor Development, Sidney Eskenazi, was familiar with the plans. He told the story of the scrapped project to McRobbie, who set the development wheels in motion.

Eskenazi and his wife Lois Eskenazi donated $20 million to the school’s architecture program, including $10 million that went toward the development of the Mies building. Upon its completion, it will be called Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design Mies van der Rohe Building.

Among his works, Mies’ first high-rise building in Chicago’s Hyde Park, the 22-story Promontory Apartments, was granted landmark status in 2019.

[WSJ] — Dennis Lynch


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