Indiana University Inaugurates Long-Lost Project Designed by Mies van der Rohe

Indiana University opened a shared facility for its Eskenazi School, Architecture + Design. It incorporates a Mies van der Rohe design. New York-based Thomas Phifer and Partners was entrusted with the 1952 project to build a fraternity house at the same IU Bloomington campus. The design, which was intended to be a fraternity building, was adapted to current building codes and the academic function. However, the original architectural aesthetic was preserved. Students and faculty have officially been welcomed to the 930 square meter, two-storey building.

© Image courtesy the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design, Indiana University. © Hadley Fruits

Mies van den Rohe was given the commission to design Indiana University’s fraternity houses in 1950. However, the project was abandoned by the university due to lack of funds. The blueprints were finally donated to The Museum of Modern Art decades later. This design has a striking resemblance with Farnsworth house or the Illinois Institute of Technology. It features a white steel frame, large floor-to-ceiling windows, and a wide roof. While the ground floor is mostly open, the upper level features a central square atrium.

© Image courtesy the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design, Indiana University. © Hadley Fruits

Thomas Phifer and Partners was commissioned to execute the project and adapt it to modern use. The new building has spaces for workshops, lectures and offices. Mies and Florence Knollhave designed furnishings that complement the building’s design. The original Mies van der Rohe design was modified to add a stair at west end, modify the east end stair to meet current safety codes, and install a hydraulic elevator.

© Image courtesy the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design, Indiana University. © Anna Powell Denton

On April 8, a reception and open house will be held. Thomas Phifer and Partners is also responsible for the design of the Ferguson International Center, which is currently being constructed across from the Mies Building.

© Image courtesy the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design, Indiana University. © Hadley Fruits