1st Edition

Mies Contra Le Corbusier The Frame Inevitable

By Gevork Hartoonian Copyright 2025
    208 Pages 51 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    In Mies Contra Le Corbusier, Gevork Hartoonian embarks on a captivating exploration of the architectural ideologies embodied in the works of Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier.

    Focusing on the non-synchronicity inherent in their approaches to the tectonics of the column and wall, Hartoonian conducts a comparative analysis of carefully selected diachronic projects from each architect. This insightful journey unravels the architects' ideological stances within the ongoing dialogue between modernity and tradition. Hartoonian sheds light on the inclination of Mies and Le Corbusier towards a frameless architecture, a characteristic prominently displayed in their late works. Drawing inspiration from Marxian philosophy, the author contends that significant technological developments play a crucial role in shaping subjectivities across the cultural spectrum, creating an uneven dissemination. The frame, in Hartoonian’s lens, transcends the boundaries of a single building, becoming a lens through which to frame a nuanced understanding of the urban landscape and tectonics. Mies Contra Le Corbusier stands as a thought-provoking exploration that not only unveils the intricacies of architectural history but also offers profound insights into the cultural and technological forces shaping the built environment.

    This book will be of interest to researchers and students of architectural history and theory. Additionally, it offers a timely discussion of Mies and Le Corbusier’s contributions to architecture’s contemporaneity for the younger generation of architects.

    List of figures



    Chapter 1: Space-Time Tectonics: an overview

    Chapter 2: The Late-Earliness on Frame

    Chapter 3: The Late-Earliness on Wall

    Chapter 4: Two Dreams in One Bed

    Post-Script: Delay: a historiographic project



    Gevork Hartoonian is Emeritus Professor of architectural history at the University of Canberra, Australia, and holds a Ph. D from the University of Pennsylvania, USA. He is the author and editor of numerous books including the most recent ones, The Visibility of Modernization in Architecture: A Debate, and Towards a Critique of Architecture’s Contemporaneity: 4 Essays, both Routledge 2023. Hartoonian has taught in American universities, including Pratt Institute and Columbia University, NYC.

    “In his latest re - interpretation of the received history of modern architecture Gevork Hartoonian reveals the  ideological consequences of the fundamentally different approaches taken by Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe to the challenge of the technological invention of framed construction in either steel or concrete in relation to the continued partial use of load bearing masonary .This differentiation made itself particularly evident in the attitude that they each took towards the articulation of the column versus the wall. As Gevork points out it was their rereading of the new in terms of the classical Greek past that was particularly symptomatic of the differentiated manner in which they both interpreted the technically new in relation to the past in terms of a specific cultural difference between the wall versus the column that was not always understood by their respective acolytes.”

    Kenneth Frampton, Emeritus Professor of Architecture at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation at Columbia University, New York


    “This insightful parallel analysis of Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier through the lens of the non-synchronicity inherent in their approaches to the tectonics of the column and wall provides a fertile terrain for exploring the cultural and technological forces shaping the built environment. At the core of Gevork Hartoonian’s captivating and inspiring book is the intriguing idea of relating the ways in which the two modernist architects conceived tectonics to a historiography centred on a new way of understanding temporalities and the criticality of modern architecture.”

    Marianna Charitonidou, Senior Lecturer and Senior Researcher in Architecture and Urban Studies at Athens School of Fine Arts and the University of West Attica, and Stanley J. Seeger Visiting Research Fellow at Princeton University.