MIES VAN DER ROHE,The interior perspective of the Resor House, 1937-39
Francisco Martínez Mindeguía, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya

The Resor House is the first of Mies’ projects in the U.S. He designed it for Helen and Stanley Resor, publicists and modern art collectors, in a ranch that they owned on both sides of a Snake River’s bifurcation, in Grand Teton Mountains, near Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Back then, Helen Resor was a member of the MOMA Administrative board (between 1938 and 1940), and she was the one in contact with Mies. The couple had a small wooden house in the plot of land, and they decided to build a more modern one which would allow them to enjoy the views better.  Towards 1935 and 1936 they commissioned the project to Philip Goodwin, whom Helen knew thanks to her contacts at MOMA. After some disagreements with him, in the summer of 1936, Marc Peter, who had recently graduated from Harvard, took over the project. In 1937, a part of the building had already been built on the east side of the river, as well as some concrete pillars to withstand a wooden platform, in which the main part of the dwelling had to be distributed. Alfred Barr, director of the MOMA at the time, who was trying to bring Mies to the U.S., convinced the Resors to commission him the project.  Mies arrived in Wyoming in august, 1937, spent a few weeks studying the place and drawing, and finished the project in the winter of that same year, in the studio of two former Bauhaus students, John Barney Rodgers and William Priestley.

This was the elevation of the project,

From the original project, he respected what was already built. Then, he placed a new building block on the other side of the river, and he placed a platform over the river between both volumes, with a steel structure and completely glazed on the north and south sides. On top of this platform he placed the main bedroom and the living room. Finally, the house was never built due to funding issues. Mies did a new project in March, 1939, when a river flood tore down the pillars which were built.

From the interior of this room, Mies does three strange drawings: three perspectives using three photomontages.

In those perspectives, the interior disappears; he only leaves the contours of the metallic pillars and the carpentry. Through it, the Resors’ place and the mountains can be seen. What should appear in the background comes in a first plan, and the first plan disappears.  The interior cannot be seen from the exterior.  Only this matters (it is the image of the ranch).

The view towards the south of the room,

It is a composition with the exterior materials, a painting by Paul Klee, property of the Resors’ (The Colorful (o Gay) Repast), the size of a partition wall and a wood strip which could be furniture (window picture by Rodger). This is the owner’s photo.

And the first image,

Is once again the view facing north, to the Grand Teton Mountains. Here there are no longer any references to the plot of land.

Recommended bibliography:
- Neil Levine, ""The Significance of Facts": Mies's Collages Up Close and Personal", Assemblage, nº 37, 1998, pp. 70-101.

© of the texts Francisco Martínez Mindeguía
Francisco Martínez Mindeguía is a Profesor Agregado at the Superior Technical Architecture School of Vallès (Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura del Vallès), UPC
© by Ruth Costa Alonso and Antonio Millán: English translation

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