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landhaus lemke - mies van der rohe haus
ludwig mies van der rohe, one of the greatest architects of our century, designed the "landhaus lemke" house for karl lemke, owner of an art institute and manager of a berlin printing works, in 1932. It is the last house which mies built in germany before he emigrated to the usa in 1938. the building of the house took place during the period between the closure of the bauhaus in dessau in 1932 to its termination in berlin in 1933. although in comparison with other of mies works, this brick-built house is rather simple and modest, it is nonetheless a demonstration of his unmistakable formal expression. the house is on ground level only and has a flat roof. an unusual transparency is created by the large integrated glass areas on the garden side of the house causing the interior and exterior space to merge. the rooms situated in the right hand corner of the house are visually connected via the terrace. the quality and distinctive character of this house reveals the sense of clarity and proportion.
the house and adjoining garden are situated in the park landscape of the lake obersee. in 1977 the house was registered as a listed building and has been open as a work of architecture to the public since 1990. exhibitions of modern art corresponding to the character of the building are shown in the house. decades of misappropriation, which brought with it significant alterations, have disturbed the original architectural spatial effect. it is hoped that the planned reconstruction should once again exhibit mies' intention as well as enhancing the present public and cultural function of the house.
in 1930 karl and martha lemke buy a double piece of land by the lake obersee. in february 1932 mies van der rohe is given the contract to design a house for the couple. numerous designs are produced. in july 1932 permission is granted for the execution of the architectural plans; some changes to the project ensue. in august 1932 building work begins, by September 15th the structural inspection is complete and in march 1933 the final inspection is carried out. in may 1933 further additions to the project are granted building permission.
from 1933-1945 the house is occupied by the lemkes. some pieces of furniture are probably designed for the house by lilly reich - the garden is landscaped by the studio of karl foerster. in may 1945, soviet troops requisitioned some of the houses by the obersee, including the lemke country house. the house is used by the soviet army as a garage and storage space and serious structural damage occurs. e.g. demolition of the entrance area and bricking in of the terrace windows.
in 1962 the east german ministry of state security takes control of the house. further alterations are made to the structure of the building and to the garden.