Spaces for the elevated personal life: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's concept of the dweller, 1926-1930.

Tanja Poppelreuter

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    3 Citations (Scopus)
    460 Downloads (Pure)


    Within the discourse that sought to develop housing during the inter-war era in Germany, standardisation was regarded as a means with which to create adequate solutions for the working class. Housing needs were subsumed into a set amount of common denominators that led to beliefs that the design of the house would alter and enhance the conduct of the inhabitant. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s declaration in the catalogue of the 1927 housing exhibition in Stuttgart-Weißenhof, that standardisation, while suitable as a means must never be the goal of architecture, bespeaks of his critical view towards such normative solutions and attempts to coerce the dweller towards a prescribed way of living. In consulting the writings of a number of contemporary philosophers and critics, Mies was able to develop an alternative understanding of the dweller. The book Body – Soul – Unity by the psychiatrist Hans Prinzhorn provided Mies with a way of thinking about the inhabitant not as a human being whose lifestyle had to be remediated, but as one who is confident and in harmony with the world. The concept of man and worldview as outlined in Body – Soul – Unity was one of the fundamental intellectual tools that helped Mies in developing his spatial designs of the late 1920s.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)244-270
    JournalThe Journal of Architecture
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 31 Mar 2016


    • Architecture
    • Mies van der Rohe
    • Modernism
    • Space


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