Jon Lott

A post-Fordist nip-and-tuck rejuvenates the aging prom-queen

It is said that architecture moves too slowly. Perhaps the lagging profession has something to learn from the overnight identity transforming procedures of plastic surgery. Mies van der Rohe’s Seagrams Building, epitomizing late Modernism’s embrace of Fordist repetition, is taken as a case study. Could a strategy of modification, a post-Fordist nip-and-tuck, rejuvenate this aging trophy to let it stand alongside Manhattan’s newest starlet towers?

Jon Lott

‘Lifting Mies is a catalog of such surgical procedures that operate directly on Mies’ canonical decorative I-beam. The techniques eschew the addition of unnecessary material, the conventional approach to ornamentation, and instead rely on the alteration of what exists — as a facelift would. No longer identifiable as something dispensable and separate from the restructured body, surgery allows ornamentation to evade easy recognition, just as the ideal facelift transforms one’s identity without revealing the work of the surgeon. By cutting, reshaping, and stitching, surgical techniques make ornament essential to the body, and the pace of New York image-making.
Jon Lott

‘Lifting Mies was published in its entirety in 306090 v10: Decoration.



Name: ‘Lifting Mies

Year: 2006

Status: study

Location: New York City

Program: facelift

Team: Jon Lott, Brian Price

Publications: 306090 v10 (2006),

How Architecture Learned to Speculate (2009)

All images © PARA