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The Chicago Convention Hall

Chicago, United States of America
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Morphological implementation of the large scale structure in the context of the city structure.

Departing from his earlier techniques of assemblage, in which spatial arrangements were created through the layering of planes of material (such as wood veneer, photographs, and acrylic sheets) with architectural drawing, Mies van der Rohe populated this postwar proposal for a convention hall using a picture of attendees at the 1952 U.S. Republican National Convention, taken from Life magazine. Several copies of the image are montaged together to create multiple vanishing points. The activity of the floor is contrasted with the ceiling above- a two-way grid of interwoven deep steel trusses that takes up half the page. Veined green marble hung with presidential seals and an appliqued American flag bounds the arena. The clear-span structure of the Convention Hall evokes a new spatial order made possible by modern technology: a column-free, open interior space. The cut-and-pasted reference to real events brings with it an ambiguous, uneasy relationship to politics and media culture.