Baukunst and Zeitwille between Europe and America





Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing


Mies enjoyed great prominence in Europe and America. Starting in Europe, his first incursions resulted in the German Pavilion for the Barcelona International Exhibition (1929), the Tugendhat House (1930) and the Krefeld silk factory and houses. The Illinois Institute of Technology (1943-1957), the Lake Shore Drive (1951), the Farnsworth House (1951), the Seagram building (1958) and the Toronto-Dominion Centre (1969), bear witness to his work in North America. Back in Berlin, The Neue Nationalgalerie (1968) testifies to the sublime and perfect achievement of his path towards Baukunst and Zeitwille. These ideas, which one may translate, respectively, as the art of building and the will of the time, are anchored in the Mies’s belief that architecture should be metaphysically charged with creative life force. This led him to the modern achievement of developing a new kind of freedom of movement in space, following his sense of order and his very unique conception of urban space.

How to Cite

Tostões, A., & Ferreira, Z. (2017). Baukunst and Zeitwille between Europe and America. Docomomo Journal, (56), 2–3.




Author Biographies

Ana Tostões, University of Lisbon

Ana Tostões PhD is an architect, architecture critic and historian, and is president of Docomomo International and Editor of the Docomomo Journal ( Her mandate in Docomomo International, since 2010, has been marked by the transformation of the organisation into a truly worldwide network and the Docomomo Journal into the only international periodical which regularly provides a critical look at the contemporary context focused on a broad vision of the Modern Movement Architecture and its reuse. She is a Full Professor at Técnico, University of Lisbon, where she teaches Theory of Architecture and Critical History, and coordinates the Architectonic Culture research group.

Zara Ferreira, University of Lisbon

(Portugal, 1988). Architect, MSc in Architecture (2012, Técnico – University of Lisbon, thesis: The modern and the climate in the Lusophone Africa. School buildings in Mozambique: the Fernando Mesquita concept (1955–1975)). She was the secretary general of docomomo International and co-editor of docomomo Journal (2014-2018). She is currently undertaking a PhD focused on post-WWII European housing estates (Técnico – University of Lisbon), with the support of the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (SFRH/Bd/115196/2016).


Fritz Neumeyer, The Artless Word: Mies van der Rohe on the Building Art, Cambridge, The MIT Press, 1991, 245-247 [Berlin, Siedler, 1986].

Peter Blake, Mies Van der Rohe: Architecture and Structure, Baltimore, Penguin Books, 1964.

Phyllis Lambert, “Punching through the clouds: notes on the plate of the Toronto-Dominion Centre in the North-America oeuvre of Mies”, in Detlef Mertins (ed.), Presence of Mies, New York, Princeton Architectural Press, 1994.