New Book Celebrates the Historic Significance of Mies van der Rohe, Father of the Modern Skyscraper

Collectible edition by Robert Sharoff and William Zbaren of the American City Project tells the story of Miesian Architecture, including The Langham, Chicago

CHICAGO, Oct. 7, 2014 — (PRNewswire) — The Langham, Chicago is featured in an exciting new book published by The Images Publishing Group. "Last is More: Mies, IBM and the Transformation of Chicago", was written by Robert Sharoff with photographs by William Zbaren. These celebrated architectural photojournalists are focusing their sharply defined insights on one of the most important buildings in the history of modern architecture – and the home of The Langham, Chicago – 330 North Wabash, the former IBM Building, and the last project executed by the famed Modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

The Langham, Chicago/Last is More: Mies, IBM and the Transformation of Chicago

The title "Last is More" is a play on words, referencing Mies's oft-repeated "Less is More" aphorism that has come to define modern, minimalist design. The book chronicles Mies' "Chicago Period", specifically leading up to the birth of the IBM Tower, the last project Mies completed before his death at age 83 in 1969.

"Mies spent the last three decades of his life living and working in Chicago and his style eventually came to define the city in much the same way Baron Haussmann's does Paris and Bernini's does Rome," said author Robert Sharoff.  "In many ways, the modern steel and glass city was created in Chicago."

The IBM Building, in addition to being Mies' last completed projected, was one of the first high-tech skyscrapers in the United States. The fifty-two-story tower – which is now both a city and national landmark -- incorporated everything Mies had learned over the course of his long career during which he introduced a new style of minimalist steel and glass design that transformed cities around the globe. Today the building houses The Langham, Chicago, the first hotel ever  to be situated in a Mies building.

"We were inspired to build The Langham, Chicago because of the opportunity it afforded us to work within a Mies van der Rohe building," said Dr. K.S. Lo, Chairman of Langham Hospitality Group. "The publication of this book, chronicling the life and achievement of Mies, especially as it pertains to this building and to the Chicago architectural landscape is a momentous occasion for our company. We are thrilled to be included in 'Last is More', a book that is sure to become a collector's item for architecture buffs around the world."

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe emigrated to Chicago from his native Germany in 1938, at the age of fifty-two, to become director of the Architecture School at the Illinois Institute of Technology. This period, known as Mies's "Chicago Period", is perhaps the greatest "second act" in the history of architecture. During this period, Mies realized a host of iconic projects, many of which he began planning more than a decade earlier. These include the Farnsworth House and 860-880 Lake Shore Drive in Chicago and the Seagram Building in New York City.

Mies's work during this period as well as that of his students and acolytes not only defined the look and feel of Chicago but of modern American architecture in general. Many of the structures that continue to dominate Chicago's skyline – such as the Willis Tower, the John Hancock Center, Lake Point Tower and the Daley Center -- were designed by architects who either studied under Mies or were influenced by his sensibility.

Photographing these Modernist classics was a challenge for Mr. Zbaren. "The scale of the buildings is overwhelming," he said. "At the time that they were built, they were some of the largest, most innovative structures in the world. It was a period when what got built in Chicago had global importance."

Langham Hospitality Group incorporated Mies into many of the interior design elements found throughout The Langham, Chicago. The art collection adheres to the curatorial statement, created by curator Lauren Rottet, of "Bauhaus Revisited", a nod to Mies' time spent as the Director of the Bauhaus School in Germany (1930-33).

Langham also hired the architect Dirk Lohan to design the new hotel's ground floor lobby, which features furniture based on unproduced Mies designs. Mr. Lohan, who is Mies van der Rohe's grandson, began his career working in his grandfather's office where one of his first assignments was working on the IBM Building.

Published in hard cover by The Images Publishing Group, "Last is More" will be available at select book stores around the world, including several in Chicago; at Flavours of Langham, the retail shop located at The Langham, Chicago; on; and as a digital book via Google Play. Advanced copies for press review will be available in July 2014.

About the Authors
Robert Sharoff (writer) and William Zbaren (photographer) are based in Chicago and cover architecture and design for the New York Times and other publications. The pair, who are personal as well as professional partners, have published six books, including "American City: Detroit Architecture 1845-2005" and "American City: St. Louis Architecture: Three Centuries of Classic Design." They also have had exhibitions devoted to their work at the Detroit Public Library, the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, Chicago's Willis Tower and the General Motors Tech Center in Warren, Michigan.

Langham Hospitality Group
As the wholly-owned subsidiary of Great Eagle Holdings, Langham Hospitality Group encompasses a family of distinctive hotels under The Langham, Langham Place, and Eaton brands that are located on four continents. The Group takes its name from the legendary Langham in London which was widely recognized as Europe's first Grand Hotel. For almost 150 years, this flagship hotel has represented sophisticated and gracious hospitality, a philosophy that reflects elegance in design, innovation in hospitality, genuine service and captivation of the senses across all properties. For reservations, please contact a travel professional or access the website at  

Photos from the book are available by contacting:
Louise O'BrienEmail Contact
Kelly ChrischillesEmail Contact


Photo -

SOURCE The Langham, Chicago

The Langham, Chicago
The Images Publishing Group


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