Pop Culture

Google Celebrates Mies van der Rohe

Posted on: March 27th, 2012 by David Garber 1 Comment



To celebrate the 126th birthday of famous German-American modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Google has remade their signature logo as a modern steel and glass structure reminiscent of the master's work rendering of his 1956 steel and glass S.R. Crown Hall on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology.

The Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois. (Photo: National Trust for Historic Preservation)

Here at the National Trust, we're big Mies fans. If you didn't already know, one of our own historic sites, the Farnsworth House, was designed by Mies van der Rohe, and it's one of the most famous examples of modern domestic architecture.

And so we join Google in wishing a very happy 126th birthday to Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Through preservation, commemoration, and the continued evolution of an iconic architectural style that he helped form, his legacy certainly lives on.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Downton Abbey and the Pull of Place in Popular Television

Posted on: March 9th, 2012 by Priya Chhaya 7 Comments


I think by now many of the regular readers on this blog know three things about me. I love history. I love writing about history. And I pretty much think about history, and place, and the past about 367 million times a day.

So it shouldn't be a surprise that I think about the power of place and the past when doing the most mundane things -- walking, cooking, and watching television.

The cast of Downton Abbey with the real star in the background. (Photo: Carnival Film & Television Limited 2011 for MASTERPIECE)

Like many, many people, I've been enamored with the British period drama Downton Abbey, which just finished its second season run on PBS. For those that haven't seen it, it begins in pre-World War I England and gives viewers a glimpse into the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants through the intervening years.

Matthew and Lady Mary Crawley, the subjects of one of the great Downton love stories, inside the house. (Photo: Carnival Film & Television Limited 2011 for MASTERPIECE)

What I love about Downton Abbey is that the story centers around the estate, a magnificent house full of both grand (for the lords and ladies) and humble (for the staff) public and private spaces that serves as a mechanism for how a family and their employees lived in the early 20th century. The way the building is used over the two seasons reflects society and class as changes in women's roles, war, and disease take its toll. But Downton is used as more than a set piece. The home is a crucial character in itself, and plays a crucial role for how each of the characters defines themselves.... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Priya Chhaya

Priya Chhaya

Priya Chhaya is Associate Manager for Online Content, Preservation Resources at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. A public historian at heart, she sees history wherever she goes and believes that it is an important part of the American identity.