Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, born Maria Ludwig Michael Mies (March 27, 1886 – August 17, 1969) was a German-American architect. He was commonly referred to and addressed by his surname, Mies, by his colleagues, students, writers, and others.
Mies worked in his father's stone-carving shop and at several local design firms before he moved to Berlin joining the office of interior designer Bruno Paul. He began his architectural career as an apprentice at the studio of Peter Behrens from 1908 to 1912, where he was exposed to the current design theories and to progressive German culture, working alongside Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier. Mies served as construction manager of the Embassy of the German Empire in Saint Petersburg under Behrens. His talent was quickly recognized and he soon began independent commissions, despite his lack of a formal college-level education. A physically imposing, deliberative, and reticent man, Ludwig Mies renamed himself as part of his rapid transformation from a tradesman's son to an architect working with Berlin's cultural elite, adding his mother's more impressive surname "van der Rohe". He began his independent professional career designing upper class homes in traditional Germanic domestic styles. He admired the broad proportions, regularity of rhythmic elements, attention to the relationship of the manmade to nature, and compositions using simple cubic volumes of the early 19th century Prussian Neo-Classical architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel, while dismissing the eclectic and cluttered classical so common at the turn of the century as irrelevant to the modern zeitgeist.