S. R. Crown Hall, designed by the German-born Modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, is the home of the College of Architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, Illinois.
Widely regarded as Mies van Der Rohe's masterpiece, Crown Hall is one of the most architecturally significant buildings of the 20th Century Modernist movement. Crown Hall was completed in 1956 during Mies van der Rohe's tenure as director of IIT's Department of Architecture.
Centrally located on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology, two miles south of downtown Chicago, Illinois, the building houses the architecture school. The two level building is configured as a pure rectangular form, 220' by 120' by 24 feet high, enclosing a column free interior space on the upper level sitting above a sunken lower level. The roof is supported by exposed steel columns supporting exterior steel girders visible above the roof. Crown Hall is characterized by an aesthetic of industrial simplicity, with clearly articulated exposed steel frame construction. The steel frame is infilled with large sheets of glass of varying qualities of transparency, resulting in a light and delicate steel and glass facade wrapping the open plan, free flowing interior of the upper level. While the lower level consists of compartmentalized rooms, the high upper floor level, occupying almost 50% of the total area of the building, is dedicated to a single glass-enclosed architecture studio space. Mies called it a "universal space", intended to be entirely flexible in use.
Upon its opening, Mies van der Rohe declared it "the clearest structure we have done, the best to express our philosophy". One critic calls it the Parthenon of the 20th Century.
S.R. Crown Hall was named a Chicago Landmark in 1997, a National Historic Landmark in 2001, and the remainder of the IIT Main Campus was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 2005.
In August 2005, a major renovation was com...