S.R Crown Hall and its Proportional Philosophy


The proportional philosophy underlying the architectural techniques of Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe’s is evident on how S.R Crown Hall has been designed attributing to it being a national historic landmark in Chicago. S.R Crown Hall is one of the major buildings of 20th century architectural modernist movement. The philosophy and the principles adopted by this renowned architect ascribes to an innovative approach integrated with a unique modern architecture art. This has made this historic landmark become a key interesting destination to modern architecture fans globally. The bottom-line innovative approach adopted is the combination of steel and glass. The architect had presided this with modern architectural principle, structure, ideas, geometry and proportions that underlie such modern building construction.

Concept and theory

There are notable architectural concepts and theories that Mies adopted evident on how Crown Hall has been designed. Core major is its construction and materiality expression whereby its structure has transcend into an art thus becoming a National Historic Landmark. The building has been refined and innovated uniquely thus S.R Crown Hall has contributed immensely to the history of architecture. S.R Crown Hall is rectangular shaped on two levels and it is self-contained configured. The building exhibits an aesthetic industrial simplicity represented by the use of steel frames. In addition it has four walls of glass, its surrounding green with trees cover thus the building is always glazing.


Mies’ design of this building demonstrates its innovative approach where there is the column-free open plan thus allowing change of use and other adaptations by the creation of a universal space. Its expansive size of the floor and the ceilings facilitates classes with minimal disruptions while creativity and interactions between the students and faculties enhanced.


The buildings cover has a series of exterior columns of steel tangent to the wall. This architectural philosophy and technique allows intermediate support thus maintaining a standard thickness. The plant is also partially supported in the frame. The roof is suspended from the underside of four steel plate girders which are supported by exterior steel columns.


The core major materials are steel, glass and reinforced concrete and in the recent years the building has been renovated where the original painting of the steel is replaced. The glasses have been replaced in its entire panels to meet wind load requirements. The wood panels in the interior have been replaced as well as its wiring systems in the entire building.


The proportional philosophy underlying S.R Crown Hall is highly influenced by Mies van Der Rohe’s modernist style. This design has resulted into simple elegance of its transparent design that makes the building a historic landmark in Chicago and global at large.