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Mies believed his ideas could be translated into an architectural language that could objectively be taught and learned, and that this language could be applied, and give an appropriate solution, to any type of building. Spoken languages have dictionaries, and in the case of Mies’s architectural language, we have thousands of drawings, sketches, models, letters, articles and more, each a small but crucial piece when it comes to fully understanding his life, his work, his vision, and his legacy.

For the sake of this challenge, consider that the IIT is planning to bring many of those pieces back to its campus to establish the new “Mies Memorial Library,” a building not only meant to preserve, but also to celebrate the life, works and contributions of one of the founding fathers of modern architecture. A building that will look into the future without forgetting the past. A building capable of encouraging young architects to be ambitious and remind the established ones to never settle.

The Mies Memorial Library will stand within Mies’s own masterplan at the IIT campus in south-Chicago. The new building will need to consider the other buildings already on campus, some of which are catalogued and international landmarks, and establish a dialog with its surroundings, in order to be able to stand up for itself while also elevating the status of the campus as a whole.

The new library’s aim is not to become an isolated fortress or museum, but a necessary complement to the needs of the Architecture School and the IIT campus. It will help ease the burden on the Graham Resource Center, located inside the Crown Hall and which has already been expanded twice. This will free up space inside the Crown Hall to accommodate more offices, classes and workshops. The new library will also be a complement to the Paul V. Galvin Library, which is IIT’s main library.

Submission Requirements

In addition to an A1 panel, all teams are asked to upload their renders, drawings and texts, separately and independent from each other. The presentation technique is free. Renders, collages, models, watercolours and sketches — you are free to use the techniques you feel more comfortable with, as long as it can be photographed or scanned and be submitted in a digital format.


Registration is open to any student actively enrolled in an undergrad program. Master students can also be eligible as long as they started their masters no longer than 18 months after finishing their undergrad program. You must meet the above-mentioned criteria between the first day of the special registration period and the last day of the regular registration period. This brief is especially tailored towards architecture students, however, students from other fields, related to architecture or not, who have an interested in participating are also welcomed to do so, as long as they meet the previously mentioned

Teams can be “solo” teams, made up by a single student, or group teams, made up by up to 8 students. Members of a team can be from different schools, countries and be enrolled in different majors, as
long as they all meet the eligibility criteria established for this competition.

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