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House 1-4 of Weissenhof Estate

Stuttgart, Germany
1 of 1k_man123

Mies van der Rohe designed the House 1-4 of Weissenhof Estate . It is a four-storey residential block of four row houses. The skeleton structure enabled Mies to achieve his objective (and declared principle) of designing flexible ground plans for his apartments. The only fixed points in his design (as determined by the service installations) were the kitchen, the bathroom and the toilet. The remaining areas had adjustable walls, allowing residents to subdivide them as they saw fit. Mies said that he had chosen this design to accommodate people's changing needs, their expectations concerning apartments and their related desire for maximum freedom in designing their own interiors.

The building contract was awarded to the Stephan company on 5 March 1927 for RM 263,500, although the final account rose to the substantially higher amount of RM 310,085.63 for the construction costs alone. This increase was due to massive problems that arose during construction.

A bitter dispute flared up between the architect, the contractor, and the site manager Richard Döcker when the building company - as was its standard practice - wanted to modify the construction plans Mies had prepared in such loving detail for his building complex. Döcker repeatedly had to ask Mies for more plans for both his building and the development as a whole. Mies supplied them, but with some delay. Construction was held up considerably, and even had to be stopped for a while, because the contractor made some unauthorised changes, causing a number of problems. To complicate matters, it was the first time that the contractor had been faced with the task of manufacturing a steel frame.

Communication between Döcker and Mies continued to deteriorate. This, and Hilberseimer's warning that construction of his building was running well behind schedule, induced Mies to have his own site manager, Ernst Walther, sent to Stuttgart. The conflict escalated to the point where the city, including Mayor Sigloch, considered firing Mies as director and replacing him by Döcker. The conflict was only resolved after Peter Bruckmann intervened and explained the importance of retaining Mies as artistic director.

Owing to pressure of time, the exterior of the building had still not been painted by the time the exhibition opened. Today it displays the same pale-pink tone it was given on completion in 1927.