Mies van der Rohe, one of the influential architects behind the rise of modernist architecture, was very specific with the projects he wanted to design. As opposed to fellow modernists Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright, he insisted on “making the existing city beautiful” rather than creating utopian visions that can also be concluded as fantasies.
True to his beliefs, the Mansion House Square was conceived. But it was only after his death that inquiries were made and the design was consequently denied. It was Mies’ classic “skin and bones” architecture with all the meticulously detailed planning and industrial steel. In one smart move, it would have been able to address the complicated traffic grid surrounding the Bank of England. And, adjacent to the City Mayor’s residence, a public square would have been created for the people – an ingenious yet controversial scheme.
The discussion about Mies’ unbuilt Mansion House Square still continues on to this day, 50 years after its conception. With the help of the REAL Foundation, the grand design which is, according to Richard Rogers, “the culmination of a master architect’s life work,” will soon be published as a book. Check out the project’s Kickstarter for more information.