Film Review: Regular or Super

June 9, 2014

By ArchitectureInMotion

“The long path through function to creative work has only a single goal: to create order out of the desperate confusion of our time.”

Mies Van der Rohe (1886-1969)

“Regular or Super: Views on Mies van der Rohe” is a 2004 film that offers a fascinating glimpse on the life and works of one of the 20th century’s most influential architects to-date, and a pioneer of modern architecture to whom the famous motto “Less is more” is attributed.

The movie embraces this motto as a starting point, beginning with one of the last projects that Mies worked on before he died: a simple gas station in Nun’s Island in Montreal, created in 1976. From there, the tale of the legendary German-American architect begins: from his early works in Berlin, to his role in the Bauhaus School in the 30s until it was shut down by the Nazis, through his departure to the United States and his vast amount of work in Chicago. The viewers are taken on a journey of discovery of some of the most important buildings of our times, such as Manhattan’s Seagram Building, Berlin’s Neue Nationalgalerie, and Chicago’s towering apartment houses on Lakeshore Drive.

The question pondered: What makes this architecture special? What makes Mies’s “glass boxes” different? Mies rejected traditional ornamentation and cluttered classical styles, instead taking on as his mission to introduce a new language that represents the modern era, with an emphasis on glass and steel, and extreme attention to the smallest details.

With fascinating cinematography and beautiful original jazz music, the movie offers a holistic introduction to Mies’s 30 years of work. It presents commentaries and observations from some of today’s best architects, including Rem Koolhaas, Elizabeth Diller, and Phyllis Lambert.

*ArchitectureInMotion presents a screening of this film this Tuesday at 7iber Cafe.

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