by Joseph Masheck
OCT 2018 | 1 by 1
The Lemke House, built between 1932 – 33 for Karl and Martha Lemke, who had no children, on a pair of lots in the Berlin suburb of Hohenschönhausen (now Berlin-Lichtenberg), is modest. It’s the last house that Ludwig Mies van der Rohe built in Germany, before closing the Bauhaus, owing to Hitler, and moving to Chicago. Karl Lemke, who ran a graphic arts business that catered to the art world, was a friend of the architect. That this work entailed a great deal of thought on Mies’s part is attested to by a huge quantity of preliminary drawings, starting from much more ambitious ideas.3 The economy was taking its toll; yet something excellent was envisioned. Two significant features of the project do not seem acknowledged, however: the role of a woman designer, and the fact that the house, small as it is, is an extraordinary example of the influence on Mies of his most admired living philosopher, Romano Guardini.