So he came to New York, and he lived at the Berkeley Hotel. Philip became associated with him. The architect of the Seagram Building is not Mies van der Rohe, it’s Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson. Mies was I think 68 then, and Lou Crandall
Said, “Well, what happens if Mies croaks?” Plus Mies was really taciturn, and he didn’t get along easily with people, and Philip is just Mr. Gadabout, so I mentioned this to Mies, and Mies asked Philiphe was obviously quite flatteredand he said, “Oh, I thought I’d cry.” The three of us used to go out to lunch practically every day, and Mies would always have one or two martinis. Though he didn’t say very much, he was always quite congenial. Alsoin terms of Mies as a personwe used to have wonderful parties. The architect Frederick Kiesler would come. Theo van Does-burg’s wife, Nelly, would comethere used to be all sorts of things at people’s houses. Mies used to come over to my place. I had a friend who was a big jazz fiend, and who drank a lot also. So I’d go to bed, but they would stay up all night.
MH: I always thought that Mies would deplore American popular culture. PL: Why would he deplore anything? The only thing he ever deplored was neoclassical or neo-Gothic buildings; he would say, “Yah, don’t tell me they’re still doing that!”Mies said later, “I wouldn’t do a garage like a cathedral or something like that,” but he did. He used the same building type for a design for a highway restaurant and had fun doing it. He ran the trusses along the length of the building to get something big enough so it could be seen on the highway. There’s a marvelous remark that someone made once: “Well, if that had gotten built, you’d have golden trusses, not golden arches, all over America!” pata 118
Michael Hays is a professor of architecture theory at Harvard.
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