Mies van der Rohe's Crown Hall To Be 'Played' By Chicago Artists at IIT

Apr 25, 2001, 01:00 ET from Illinois Institute of Technology

    CHICAGO, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- When Claude Debussy said "music is the
 arithmetic of sounds as optics is the geometry of light," he probably never
 thought that architecture could be the basis of music.  At this year's
 Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture's Open House,
 architecture will give rise to music when, for the first time, Mies van der
 Rohe's Crown Hall will be strung and played like a gigantic instrument.
     Each year, the College of Architecture reinvents Crown Hall for its Open
 House.  One year, Kentucky Blue Grass covered part of the floor, another year
 student art was hung on monolithic glass walls.  This year's May 11 Open House
 will concentrate on the immaterial qualities of the famous building.
     "Investigating Crown Hall in terms of its physical qualities -- the glass,
 the steel, etc. -- has always led to material-conscience Open Houses," says
 Mark Schendel, chairman of the 2001 Open House Committee.  "This year we
 wanted to look into it's immaterial qualities and so we decided to focus on
 its relationship to light and sound."
     To discover the sound of Crown Hall, the College of Architecture looked to
 the Chicago-based group of musicians, dancers and artists calls the MASS
 Ensemble.  In the weeks before the Open House, the Mass Ensemble will string
 Crown Hall with 24,000 linear feet of polished brass wire that will create the
 "Crown instrument." When played, the wire strings will cause compression waves
 to resonate throughout the structure and Mies' masterwork will speak for the
 first time.
     "We were intrigued by the Ensemble's ambition to 'play' architecture,"
 says Schendel.  "We were immediately convinced that Crown Hall could become a
 musical instrument and that MASS Ensemble could harness the unique acoustical
 signature of the building."
     MASS Ensemble is internationally known for large-scale architectural
 performance installations where buildings are transformed into gigantic
 stringed instruments.  They have "played" The Field Museum in Chicago, the
 Prudential Building in Boston, the CNN Building in Atlanta and the World Trade
 Center in New York City.
     "Working in Mies van der Rohe's Crown Hall along with architecture
 students from IIT's College of Architecture, allows us to bring the concept of
 architectural instrumentation to a new level," says Bill Close, co-artistic
 director of MASS Ensemble.  "The idea of relating architecture to music as a
 philosophy is being greatly enriched by this special project."
     Open House is a month-long annual event designed to showcase student and
 faculty research and act as a reunion for College of Architecture alumni.
 This year's open house will feature thousands of student drawings and models
 suspended in midair by brass wires attached to the ceiling.  Student work
 created digitally will be projected on sheets of optical light film (OLF), a
 3M product.
     The film has other interesting optical qualities.  When standing directly
 in front of the film, it acts as a mirror, reflecting the viewer.  When the
 viewer walks by the film and looks into it at an angle, the projected student
 work can be seen.
     "Crown Hall, being the monument that it is, has been scrutinized and
 analyzed in every way -- it's material, it's proportions, it's relation to the
 modernist movement, it's transparency -- but it has never been acoustically or
 harmonically analyzed," says Schendel.
     Mies van der Rohe built Crown Hall in 1956.  At the time, he was the Dean
 of IIT's College of Architecture.  Rohe is responsible for designing the Main
 Campus which has # original Rohe buildings.  Crown Hall is slated to be added
 to the National Registry of National Architectural Landmarks in Spring 2001.
     The opening performance by the MASS Ensemble in Crown Hall will be on
 May 11 at 7:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public.  Performances will
 continue throughout the month and will be held on May 17-19 and May 24-26 at
 8:00 p.m.  Tickets are $10 and $15.  Call (312) 243-2366 or visit
 http://www.earthharp.com .  Crown Hall is located at 3360 S. State Street.
 
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                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X03388332
 
 

SOURCE Illinois Institute of Technology
    CHICAGO, April 25 /PRNewswire/ -- When Claude Debussy said "music is the
 arithmetic of sounds as optics is the geometry of light," he probably never
 thought that architecture could be the basis of music.  At this year's
 Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture's Open House,
 architecture will give rise to music when, for the first time, Mies van der
 Rohe's Crown Hall will be strung and played like a gigantic instrument.
     Each year, the College of Architecture reinvents Crown Hall for its Open
 House.  One year, Kentucky Blue Grass covered part of the floor, another year
 student art was hung on monolithic glass walls.  This year's May 11 Open House
 will concentrate on the immaterial qualities of the famous building.
     "Investigating Crown Hall in terms of its physical qualities -- the glass,
 the steel, etc. -- has always led to material-conscience Open Houses," says
 Mark Schendel, chairman of the 2001 Open House Committee.  "This year we
 wanted to look into it's immaterial qualities and so we decided to focus on
 its relationship to light and sound."
     To discover the sound of Crown Hall, the College of Architecture looked to
 the Chicago-based group of musicians, dancers and artists calls the MASS
 Ensemble.  In the weeks before the Open House, the Mass Ensemble will string
 Crown Hall with 24,000 linear feet of polished brass wire that will create the
 "Crown instrument." When played, the wire strings will cause compression waves
 to resonate throughout the structure and Mies' masterwork will speak for the
 first time.
     "We were intrigued by the Ensemble's ambition to 'play' architecture,"
 says Schendel.  "We were immediately convinced that Crown Hall could become a
 musical instrument and that MASS Ensemble could harness the unique acoustical
 signature of the building."
     MASS Ensemble is internationally known for large-scale architectural
 performance installations where buildings are transformed into gigantic
 stringed instruments.  They have "played" The Field Museum in Chicago, the
 Prudential Building in Boston, the CNN Building in Atlanta and the World Trade
 Center in New York City.
     "Working in Mies van der Rohe's Crown Hall along with architecture
 students from IIT's College of Architecture, allows us to bring the concept of
 architectural instrumentation to a new level," says Bill Close, co-artistic
 director of MASS Ensemble.  "The idea of relating architecture to music as a
 philosophy is being greatly enriched by this special project."
     Open House is a month-long annual event designed to showcase student and
 faculty research and act as a reunion for College of Architecture alumni.
 This year's open house will feature thousands of student drawings and models
 suspended in midair by brass wires attached to the ceiling.  Student work
 created digitally will be projected on sheets of optical light film (OLF), a
 3M product.
     The film has other interesting optical qualities.  When standing directly
 in front of the film, it acts as a mirror, reflecting the viewer.  When the
 viewer walks by the film and looks into it at an angle, the projected student
 work can be seen.
     "Crown Hall, being the monument that it is, has been scrutinized and
 analyzed in every way -- it's material, it's proportions, it's relation to the
 modernist movement, it's transparency -- but it has never been acoustically or
 harmonically analyzed," says Schendel.
     Mies van der Rohe built Crown Hall in 1956.  At the time, he was the Dean
 of IIT's College of Architecture.  Rohe is responsible for designing the Main
 Campus which has # original Rohe buildings.  Crown Hall is slated to be added
 to the National Registry of National Architectural Landmarks in Spring 2001.
     The opening performance by the MASS Ensemble in Crown Hall will be on
 May 11 at 7:00 p.m. and is free and open to the public.  Performances will
 continue throughout the month and will be held on May 17-19 and May 24-26 at
 8:00 p.m.  Tickets are $10 and $15.  Call (312) 243-2366 or visit
 http://www.earthharp.com .  Crown Hall is located at 3360 S. State Street.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X03388332
 
 SOURCE  Illinois Institute of Technology