Restoring the “God Box”: Mies van der Rohe's Carr Chapel at IIT


  • Gunny Harboe




Modern Movement, Modern architecture, Modern housing


Perhaps no building designed by Mies van der Rohe better exemplifies his dictum, “less is more”, than Carr Chapel. Its rectangular prismatic form and unadorned architecture led to its being called “the God Box” by the students it served at the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT). When a building is so simple and direct, every little detail needs to understood and attended to with great care in its conservation treatment. Combined with a chronic lack of funding, a seemingly simple project can become quite challenging and take over a decade to complete.

How to Cite

Harboe, G. (2017). Restoring the “God Box”: Mies van der Rohe’s Carr Chapel at IIT . Docomomo Journal, (56), 72–77.




Author Biography

Gunny Harboe

FAIA, Fellow US/ICOMOS, President of Harboe Architects. He received his M. Arch. from MIT, (including study in Copenhagen, Denmark), a MSc in Historic Preservation from Columbia University and an AB in History from Brown University. He also completed the ARC98 course at ICCROM. He has been working in the renovation of works by Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan. He was a founding member of docomomo US, and a founding member and current vice president of the ICOMOS ISC20C. He is also an Adjunct Professor at IIT.