Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House in Elmhurst, Illinois
Two Field Reports on How it Feels to Live with and in Bauhaus Architecture
The McCormick House in Elmhurst, Illinois is a single-family home that was designed in 1952 by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the last director of the Bauhaus. This is one of only three residences designed and built by Mies in the US. John McKinnon, the executive director of the Elmhurst Art Museum and artist Claudia Weber give first-hand impressions of living with and in a house designed by a master of the Bauhaus.
John McKinnon on the Preservation of a HouseAs director of the Elmhurst Art Museum, I have been met with numerous challenges and rewards around the McCormick House designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. This little-recognized prefab prototype is one of only three single-family homes built by the famed architect in the US, and it is a host to its own complexities and history.
John McKinnon | Photo: The Adamkovi John McKinnon was appointed Executive Director of the Elmhurst Art Museum in 2017. He has recently overseen restorations to Mies van der Rohe's McCormick House, and an expansion of the museum's programming. He currently serves on the City of Elmhurst's Public Arts Commission and the Arts DuPage Advisory Committee. His previous positions include Program Director of the Society for Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago, and Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Milwaukee Art Museum.
Claudia Weber on Reoccupying a MuseumFrom February to April 2019 I moved into one wing of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House to temporarily challenge its current role as a museum by reoccupying it as an actual home. Since the house lacked a kitchen and a functioning bathroom, my first steps included the expansion of the house’s floorplan to the Elmhurst Art Museums’ education center and the YMCA to create some basic living conditions.
I designed a flexible table, the top of which doubled as an image frame with changing motifs. Activities like working, having coffee, eating or playing cards overlaid each motif with the traces of daily life
A visitor is preparing the “Exquisite Corpse” card decks for a group game
One time I prepared a rigid grid with the cards to see how visitors would respond to it
A few hours later the grid had changed into a more dynamic constellation, one that seemed based on a game that I had suggested in an accompanying rulebook
A group of visitors are following a structure where only word cards (from Discourse and Ephemeral) are being use
Claudia Weber | Photo: Andrew Finegold In her art practice, Claudia Weber addresses the reciprocal relationship between the built environment and the status-quo. She works variously with photography, sculpture, and/or text as part of her conceptual and site-responsive approach. Weber has exhibited internationally, including at Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House / EAM, Elmhurst; Lehmann Maupin Gallery, Thierry Goldberg, and White Columns, all New York; CAC Bretigny (France); and Kunstraum Kreuzberg / Bethanien, Berlin. She has received a year-long New York Stipend by the Federal State of Berlin, a travel & study grant by the Jerome Foundation, and is a 2019 grantee of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, New York. Weber has also participated in numerous residencies, including McDowell Colony, Peterborough (NH) as well as the Workspace residency at the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York. As the founding editor of Plot.online, she brings together critical thinkers from a wide array of disciplines to address the narrative networks of images.