Table Top

Table clothes: Ad that was posted in Business Week to announce House Beautiful’s upcoming April 1953 issue “The Next America” and editor Elizabeth Gordon’s “The Threat to the Next America” feature article, which makes the argument that (European) Modernist architecture in general and Mies van der Rohe’s architecture more specifically is detrimental to the American lifestyle. 

Former Kitchen Area

Former kitchen area in the McCormick Houser

McCormick House (Former Children’s Wing)

Photographer: Jim Prinz

Works / Checklist


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Horizontal Considerations

Installation Days

Mater/space relations. Compression/decompression as spatial practices.

The Artist Is Moving In

Move-in Day

On June 23, 1952, reporters followed John and Philomena Dougherty (photo cropped) as the first family who moved into their new home in Levittown, PA. Mies van der Rohe’s McCormick House was also built in 1952, but the houses’ programs and contexts couldn’t have been more different. The Levitt house was part of an affordable housing initiative on a massive scale by developer Levitt and Sons Inc., who had just built Levittown, NY, and continued to promote more traditional housing styles, creating starkly homogeneous towns from scratch. The McCormick House was built by an architect in a modernist style for a wealthy client as a prototype. But the McCormick House was also Mies van der Rohe’s attempt to develop a prefabricated structure that would allow the simultaneous construction of several units on dedicated lots in suburban areas. (…)Read More

Former Children’s Wing

These photographs of the former Children’s Wing of the McCormick House were taken in between exhibitions. The current layout differs significantly from Mies van der Rohe’s original floor plan from 1952. Several wood panels have been removed and others reconfigured. The photographs show clockwise from top left: the former kitchen area; the former living room / playroom / girl’s room / utility area; the hallway to the maid’s room; the boys’ room.

Testing a Prototype

I will move into one wing of the McCormick House for two months as part of an experimental exhibition project. 

Relocation of the McCormick House in 1994

The house was sold in 1991 by its last occupants, Ray and Mary Ann Fick, to the Elmhurst Fine Arts and Civic Center Foundation, and in 1994 the steel structure was cut in half and each transported by truck from its original location at 299 Prospect Avenue to the new campus for the planned Elmhurst Art Museum (EAM) in Wilder Park. 

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Mies van der Rohe’s Prototype Home

Source: Hedrich Blessing Archive / Chicago Historical Society

Mies van der Rohe built the McCormick House (1952) in Elmhurst, IL, as a prototype for prefab housing that then could be developed on a larger scale in the western Chicagoland area. (…)

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