Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was a German-American architect considered one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture. Mies sought to establish a new architectural style that, just as Classical and Gothic did for their eras, could represent modern times. Extreme clarity and simplicity are the trademarks of his influential Twentieth-Century architectural style. Mies utilized modern materials like industrial steel and plate glass. He also developed the use of exposed steel structure and glass to define space and imply freedom of open space; Mies called his buildings "skin and bones" architecture.
Mies served briefly as the last director of the faltering Bauhaus in the early 1930s, until Nazi political pressure forced him to close the government-financed school. During the next few years Mies built very little, his style rejected by the Nazis as not "German" enough in character. He left his homeland in 1937 and settled here in Chicago where he was appointed as head of the architecture school at Chicago's Armour Institute of Technology, which was later re-named Illinois Institute of Technology. In 1944, he became an American citizen. His modern furniture pieces using new industrial technologies, like the Barcelona chair and table and the Brno chair, have become popular classics.