Born in Germany in 1886, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (commonly know by his surname, Mies) was one of the many modern architects to make the transition from the more ornate, traditional styles of the 19th century to the sleek, minimalist styles of the 20th century. After quickly establishing his reputation in residential work in his home country, he was chosen to design the German Pavilion for the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona. He is also known for designing Barcelona chairs, cantilevered chairs with steel frames. In 1937, however, he moved to the United States, where he served as longtime director of (and designed the campus for) the School of Architecture at Chicago's Armour Institute.
While in the United States, he designed many well-known skyscrapers, including the Seagram building in New York City and the Lake Shore Drive apartments in Chicago. As he sought to reflect the Industrial Age in his building designs, he often featured exposed structural steel. And always emphasizing that "less is more," his designs display simplicity and elegance without excessive ornamentation.