Dispatches from the North · Essays ·

Mies in Canada

Mies van der Rohe's late subtle evolution in Toronto.

mies-tdStanley Kubrick’s science fiction classic, 2001: A Space Odyssey begins with the chapter fittingly titled “The Dawn of Man.” Panning across images of a prehistoric African desert, the camera eventually stops at a tribe of herbivorous apes foraging for food. One scene depicts an ape getting killed by a leopard while another shows the rest of the apes being driven from their water hole by another tribe. The primacy and hopeless desperation of this tribe is portrayed time and time again in these scenes, culminating in their humiliating defeat as they crawl under a small rock to sleep through the night. The next morning is marked by the appearance of a black monolith. As the apes curiously examine it, shrieking and jumping in inexplicable agitation, the iconic C-G-C progression in Richard Strauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra chimes in with epic fashion as one of the apes musters the courage to touch it. Sparking a great epiphany, the ape realizes the bone’s potential as a tool and weapon. Now empowered with their newfound tool use, they take back their water hole. Able to attack greater beasts, they begin to eat meat. The hapless apes that were portrayed with great pity have intellectually evolved.1

The monolith appears again as a recurring theme in Kubrick’s film with each appearance sparking a technological quantum leap for humanity. The coupling of Stauss’ Also Sprach Zarathustra to these pivotal scenes of humanity’s metamorphosis provides an almost too obvious parallel to Nietzsche’s treatise of the same name which detailed and advocated the ascension from ape to man to übermensch—a sort of conceptual super or over man, the final evolution of humanity.2 The comparison of the film to Nietzsche is only one interpretation, but the theme of evolution and advancement is clear in both works. If Nietzsche lends credit to 2001 in regards to progression, then 2001 may lend credit to Mies van der Rohe’s architecture. The black monoliths in 2001 are as obvious a connection to the Miesian commercial tower form as the film’s orchestration is to Nietzsche.

This is not to say that Kubrick or Clarke (who concurrently wrote the 2001 novel) copied Mies, but the similarities in form and both their connections to Nietzschean ascension are strikingly interrelated. Just like Kubrick’s monolith which stood before a group of wildly provoked apes, Mies’ Toronto-Dominion Centre stood before a group of wildly agitated apes—the only exception being that the latter apes wrote essays and articles to voice their agitation. And again, like the monolith, the apes’ anxiety eventually subsided and they learned from the black mass, so did we, from Mies’ towering monuments. However, while the endearing quality of 2001’s monoliths may be traced back to extraterrestrial origins—a detail revealed only in Clarke’s novel3—the germ of Mies’ success is cannot be so tidily summarized.

If the mystery behind 2001’s monoliths was alien intervention, then what of the mystery behind Mies’ TD Centre? Why does the TDC look the way it does? Why was it so derided and then loved? What contributed to its lasting appeal and influence? Unfortunately, as a taciturn man who wrote little and whose most famous epigram was “less is more,” Mies is about as alien as those who built 2001’s monoliths; and while we may forgive Clarke and Kubrick’s unsatisfying explanation as they dealt in film and narrative, Mies’ projects had far greater implications. Mies had wanted to see his tower formula replicated as the de facto tower design, yet ironically, the “prototypes” he built remain as some of the highest refinements in the modernist skyscraper form. What did this old German who was never seen without a tie and cigar do that was so successful? Fortunately though, there is much that could be learnt in the “less” that Mies gave. I believe that Mies succeeded by remaining true to his origins of growing up in a craftsman family which imbued in him a sense of materiality and structure which resulted in an endearing architectural language he perfected over the entirety of his long architectural career.

The TDC was perhaps the most encompassing of all Mies project. This was for many reasons. Being one of his last high rise projects, Mies had many past lessons to learn from. His language had evolved quickly from his semi-glazed Promontory Apartment project in 1946 to the all-glass Seagram Building in 1954.4 From then on, the adjustments he made to his tower form were much more subtle. In Toronto, Mies was offered an opportunity to tie all his ideas together. The original Mies designed plan required two towers, a low-rise banking pavilion, and an underground concourse. As Phyllis Lambert described it:

…the association of a pavilion with high-rise buildings had a special significance in Mies’s oeuvre, for each building type had been central to Mies’s preoccupations since his arrival in North America. The association of these two building types—skeletal tower and free-span pavilion—and their formal relationships at the TDC constitutes a major synthesis of Mies’s work after 1939.”5

The two towers not only allowed Mies to further perfect his tower form, but also allowed him to revisit the asymmetrical spatial arrangements he had developed out of the De Stijl movement.6 Then being the tallest building in Canada, the TDC also provided Mies with opportunities in scale.7 The size was unprecedented for Mies, but it would provide him with a chance to revisit and integrate his most salient building types he had developed for decades and project his language to new a proportion. As the TDC was the zenith of Mies’ architecture, it is perhaps worth noting its influence and the reactions surrounding it.

One of the reasons as stated before which I believe contributed greatly to Mies’ success was his endearing architectural language. The Miesian language may be characterized by the commonalities shared throughout his works. Mies had always been genuine to his materiality. Borne to a working class family, Mies’ must have had great exposure to the crafts. Though much of his formative years remain unknown, it was likely there, in Aachen where Mies had developed a love for materials.8 Even much later in life, in America, Mies had retained this mindful respect of materials, believing it to be integral in the art of building.9 If Mies’ love for material is evident, then of what effect does it have on form? In linguistics, the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis suggests that the structure of one’s language strongly influences one’s world-views as they learn the language.10 If we are to speak of Mies’ architectural language, it can be said that the fundamental basis of Mies’ architecture—the very materials he used—affected the way he conceptualized buildings from start to finish. Perhaps that is why Mies is so distinct and why so many imitations fail. Mies did not design his buildings thinking about design, he designed them thinking about materiality and the best way to present it. Mies’ language is clearly spoken at the TDC, and to appreciate this language, we must try to decipher its vocabulary and grammar.

The “Miesness” of the TDC is manifoldly evident. Anybody with a working knowledge of modernism would be quick to note Mies’ lack of ornamentation, but to assert that Mies was anti-ornament would be inaccurate. Mies did indulge in the ornate, but not in the form of ornamentation, but in detail. One detail shared amongst all of Mies’ commercial highrises and perhaps most often overlooked by his imitators is the I-beam mullion. Why an I-beam? Perhaps Mies felt that a steel beam was most honestly expressed as a structural member. Such considerations regarding the form of materials in relation to their intrinsic qualities was always present in Mies’ work—a point which permeates every design decision at the TDC. It may be aesthetically argued that their presence helps to evoke a spirit of technology and structure, or pragmatically, that they help to stiffen the mullions, but when asked, Mies’ simple reply was that a building without them “did not look right.”11 Perhaps Mies was right; countless Miesian towers have done away with the little detail and few if any have ever commanded the elegance of Mies’ towers. Like a pinstripe suit, the I-beams connoted a further sense of verticality and streamlining; and to again speak sartorially, an always elegant touch to a fashion staple—if one could pull it off.

“God is in the details,” was another aphorism that Mies let part which has become famously associated with him and a visit to the TDC quickly affirms Mies’ conviction. However, it is important not to mistake detail for ornament or excessive articulation. A Miesian space, and this is very much true of the TDC with special relevance to the lobbies, is very often spatially empty. Despite this, Miesian spaces are never void as the thought and care of each detail is always considered. The frugality of distractions produced his clarity of space, but with such Spartan design, Mies knew that to avoid sterility, he would require great care in the attention to detail. If careful, one takes notice of these things, such as the glass-doored compartments in the tower directories, framed in black and labelled “Fire Hose” in an all-capitalized, aptly sans-serif typeface—the same typeface which serves as signage throughout the TDC complex; or the fresh-cut yellow daisies in a bowl on the concierge’s desk—a practice still kept up by those who worked there, but the reason having long escaped the many hands which were trusted with the task.

If God was in the details, Mies would be ever-careful in not drawing away from or cheapening the pithy elements of his spaces in fear of sin. Detail for Mies was not executed in elaboration but in refinement. This is perhaps no better exemplified than through his treatment of materiality. He exercised obsessive attention on what materials could be but what materials were. If we consider what Mies said, that “…each material is only what we make of it,”12 it becomes evident that for Mies, materials were to be made the best of themselves. He had always been genuine to materials and held them with high regard. One only needs to look at his architecture to see an honesty and faithfulness to materiality. Evident as early as the 1928 Barcelona Pavilion, Mies had never shied away from opulence, but opulence was not in form but in material itself. There was nothing extravagant about his rectilinear wall slabs that would have been plebeian by most standards, but Mies used book-matched stone: marble, onyx, and travertine.13 He afforded his materials the dignity he believed they deserved by not altering their form, but by presenting them in the most honest and truthful way possible—the unarticulated surface which best expressed the natural beauty of his epicurean selections.

Every tectonic element in the TDC is clear in its function and material. There is no superfluity to distract the eye or the hand as they see and touch the architecture. Steel is steel and glass is glass. There is very little mystery in what is built with what. The frankness of TDC’s materiality is owed in large part to the same lessons learnt in Barcelona. Materials are not dressed up—they merely are what they are. The travertine in the lobby is kept as true to the material as possible; its porous cavities still discernible despite its polished surface. Woods are allowed to retain their colour and grain while glass—perhaps one of the most apparent materials in the TDC—is allowed to showcase its transient nature; the opacity it exhibits during the day and the transparency at night.

For Mies, honesty in materiality meant honesty in their use as well. It was not enough that the travertine was ostentatiously travertine or the steel was noticeable steel. Mies took care to ensure that the way he used materials—the form they took on—reflected their innate qualities which profoundly affected his approach to structure. Like the Seagram Building, the structure which had to be sealed for pragmatic reasons is reiterated stylistically with his trademark I-beams which line the façade while spandrel panels hint at the floor slabs.14 For Mies, it was not enough that the materials be honest in their qualities, but that the architecture be truthful in their structure as well. When fireproofing regulations forced Mies to sheath the steel structure at 860 – 880 Lake Shore Drive, it hid away the ingenuity of the structure, so his solution was to clad the skin with more steel to reflect the skeleton within.15 If practicalities and regulations muffled Mies’ architectural honesty, he merely restated it until it was heard.

The treatment of façade is unmistakably Mies. His obsession with glass is evident at TDC—unsurprising as he had been fascinated by the material for much of his life—a fascination already made abundantly clear in 1921 with his conceptual Friedrichstrasse Skyscraper Project.16 Just as grammar in speech dictated thought as according to Whorf, glass and steel, the two prominent exterior finishes, dictated the façades at the TDC. Steel, which Mies had adopted its structural I-beam form reinforces both the mullions and the verticality of the tower while dark tinted glass functions doubly as a statement of solidity in the day through its opacity and a celebration of spatial freedom in the night as the interior lighting floods through the now-transparent glass framed by the disappearing structure which becomes enveloped by the night.17

The selection of dark glass worked in tandem with the black I-beam mullions to produce an effect unique to Miesian towers. Viewed from afar, the TDC appear as black monoliths—their substantiality owed to their monochromatic finish and platonic geometry. However, as one approaches closer, details are unveiled. The mullions become manifest, and their “I” profile becomes clearer with proximity. Mies’ architecture reveals different qualities with distance. The same effect is achieved in the lobby where the solid beige masses reveal themselves to be expertly cut travertine—a richness and detail which could be easily missed to the casual observer. This was not carelessness, but merely a humility in material. Mies did not wish to risk meretriciousness—materials were opulent because they suited his architecture, not because he wished to be conspicuously lavish.

It is through Mies’ love and truthfulness to materials that explains his deep attention to detail. This appreciation for material had its origins in his youth as a craftsman’s son, but the influences in his formative years contributed to more than mere surface treatment. Though an architect, Mies’ design methodology was often grounded in the mind of a craftsman. This point could perhaps be no better illustrated than by his strict adherence to the grid. Though the grid became a modernist planning staple, Mies was perhaps the one to embrace it the firmest.18 Even as early modern greats like Le Corbusier dropped the grid in favour of a more sculptural and free approach to design—typified by his later works like the Ronchamp Church—Mies retained it. His incessant return to the grid suggested a design methodology based off a thought process that responded less to personal whim or popular trends in architecture but to a sensible organizational system. Reading a Mies plan would often reveal an explicitly overlain grid with tectonic elements arranged along edges and intersections of that grid. The TDC was no different and the grid was so pervasive in its design that Mies elected to reveal it by paving the site in five by by feet granite squares which marked the base module which served as the generator of the complex’s plan.19 A more subtle execution of the grid was in the elevations which maintained the separation of vertical elements by multiples of five feet as set by the ground plane while horizontal elements on the façade were arranged in nine foot units.20

While Le Corbusier’s works ranged from machine inspired designs like the Villa Savoye to the gentle sloping curves of Chandigarh and Frank Lloyd Wright evolved his low, flat prairie style to the gleaning white Guggenheim, Mies’ language remained unchanged. Mies seemed to have found his “style” as early as his Five Projects in the 1920s and kept it—only refining and perfecting it as technology progressed. The radical transparency of the Friedrichstrasse and Glass Skyscraper projects of 1921 and 1922 would mark Mies’ favour towards glass which he repeatedly utilized ostentatiously in his following projects.21 The Concrete Office Building of 1923 established the archetypical framework—that of column supported slabs with non-load bearing walls in which his latter high rises would be based on.22 In the same year and the year after, he produced two more concepts which fall into his Five Projects portfolio; that of the Concrete and Brick Country House. A look into their plans reveal spatial arrangements heavily inspired by the free-floating planes of the De Stijl movement.23 This sort of asymmetrical composition was seen from the Barcelona Pavilion Plan, with its spatially shifting walls to the arrangement of TDC’s buildings—each seemingly random in their individual placement, yet remarkably balanced in their arrangement when read as a complex.

If Mies’ respect for materiality dictated his treatment of surfaces and articulation of detail, then the lessons learned from the Five Projects coupled with the adherence to the universal grid formed the basis of Mies’ planning and form. However, these lessons also derived themselves from Mies’ craftsman tendencies. The design of each project in his original five again recall the humble origins of Mies. Perhaps it was his craftsmanlike love of materials which were the germ of his glass skyscrapers. Likewise, the Concrete Office Building exhibits the rationality of a skilled craftsman while the country houses appear not to have been produced through an erudite process but from a contemplative exercise in spatial relationships. Unlike the highbrow architecture of men like Le Corbusier or the stylistically personal expressions of Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies’ design methodology was one based on a sort of plebeian rationality. This is not at all to say that Mies lacked the intellectual finesse of his contemporaries. It is rather to suggest that Mies’ design theories were not based off pedantic readings of society and culture but instead were grounded upon an understanding and appreciation of materials and building technologies. When studying the TDC, it is difficult to imagine how else one could have designed it. By distilling architecture to its most essential elements, Mies was able to avoid the intricacies and contradictions which often manifest themselves in the overindulgent theorization exhibited by his myriad contemporaries. The architectonic elements of Mies’ TDC were never superfluous while the planning and articulation could not be reduced without being insipid and meaningless or enhanced without being arbitrary and complex. Even Robert Venturi had to appreciate Mies’ restraint, asserting that had Mies attempted to take on any more, the potency of his architecture would be lost.24

The longevity of Mies’ architectural language, a point made clear with his life-long subscription to it, may be owed in part to his obstinate nature. His stubbornness was evident throughout his life—a point best illustrated in his refusal to leave Germany until the last possible moment. It was only when the Nazis continuously deplored his work and his colleagues abandoning the country that he decided to leave for America.25 Mies’ unchanging philosophy could have been the reason behind the TDC’s ill reception upon its unveiling. By the time the towers were completed in the late 1960s, Mies’ architecture had already become dinosaurs by popular perception—lumbering giants of a bygone era which would have been far less objectionable were it not for their monumental scale. Modernism’s popularity had begun declining, both popularly and academically. The architectural climate of the sixties became abundant with ideas disseminating from theories like Rudofsky’s Architecture Without Architects which advocated a distancing from modernism and a new appreciation of vernacular architecture.26 This provided the germ for a new repertoire of architecture which responded to local contexts—a repertoire which Kenneth Frampton later referred to as critical regionalism.27 Vernacular architecture stood in direct opposition to Mies as his work had always been about establishing a language which could be applied universally. His utilization of the grid and his subscription to steel, glass, and stone in a number of his projects around Europe and North America illustrate quite well Mies’ apathy towards location specific architecture; instead, he was more interested in producing and refining the language he thought most rational and universal. The TDC, while appropriately cosmopolitan, essentially draws nothing from the local context of a predominately Victorian and brutalist Toronto.

However, regionalism was not anti-modern in that at no point did the regionalists claim that modernism and contextualism were mutually exclusive. Its critique would have applied to Mies in that he favoured strict universality over localization—with his aesthetic program derived not from vernacular stylings but from his materiality—but regionalism hardly was the coup de grâce which condemned Mies’ TDC to obsolescence. That title may perhaps be better awarded to postmodernism which directly attacked all that Mies was popularly associated with. Robert Venturi famously twisted Mies’ maxim of “less is more” into “less is a bore” in his seminal book, Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture.28 Classicism and vernacular was making a comeback in both popular and academic architecture—albeit with postmodernism’s colourings of superficiality, palimpsest, and irony. While modernism was far from dead, it no longer remained the sole player in the architectural landscape.

Mies’ conviction towards his architecture had cost him his popularity. While architects were exploring radically new and experimental forms—with the rigidity of the modernist philosophy deplored by postmodernity—Mies laboured on. It would seem that the craftsman in Mies could never die; in the face of mounting adversity, he remained faithful to his materiality and its form. It was perhaps the immobility of Mies’ architectural style which was the crux of Macy DuBois’ damning critique on the TDC.29 Perhaps DuBois was correct in some respects. The TDC could easily be seen as a couple re-proportioned Seagram Buildings with a low rise pavilion reminiscent of Crown Hall thrown in for good measure. However, such a superficial reading of the TDC would be disingenuous. DuBois failed to appreciate the progressive leaps Mies had made at the TDC.

DuBois claimed that “the Toronto-Dominion Centre is twenty years too late because the lessons it teaches were taught to us long ago.”30 Perhaps he is referring back to Mies’ apartments at 860–880 Lake Shore Drive which were completed roughly twenty years prior to the TDC. Lake Shore was Mies’ first steel and glass façade high rise, and thus became the archetype which all of Mies’ following towers would be based on. It was there that Mies established the slab form, grid-derived proportioning, and curtain wall system, lined with the I-beam mullions which had become a Miesian signature. However, the Lake Shore Apartments were hardly where Mies left off. The entrances of the Lake Shore towers were nowhere as refined or monumental as the travertine blocks found at the TDC. Instead, Mies had exposed the interior columns, infilling them with green marble as opposed to encasing them in stone as he did at the TDC.31 While this was in line with Mies’ policy of honesty in structure, it resulted in a lobby with disjointed planes of material cut with thick bands of steel framing. While still elegant, it lacked the unity and monumentality of the lobby spaces at the TDC.

It was also at TDC when Mies first achieved the platonic slab in large scale. While the Seagram Building had been lauded as one of his finest works, many are quick to forget that the building is not a rectangular prism. Seagram featured a protrusion of built space which aesthetically formed an additional shaft attaching flush to the southeastern façade. This detail is curiously hidden from almost all official photographs of the building which deceivingly suggested that the Seagram was a perfect rectangular prism when it was in fact not. This embarrassing issue was eliminated at the TDC when Mies finally combined the platonic geometry of his apartments at Lake Shore Drive—lacking the formal concessions Mies made in the New York tower—and the impeccable dark surface treatment of Seagram together. Even excluding the new challenges of building at the massive scale required by TD, the TDC was not merely a melting pot of past solutions. The banking pavilion, though recalling the free-spanning space first conceptualized at Crown Hall in the fifties, was further refined.32 The massive girders which were necessary to support the elephantine spans at Crown Hall were now discreetly hidden into the roof slab of the banking pavilion.33 This enabled Mies to retain an interior space free of columns, yet tidy up the exterior to maintain a platonic geometry uninterrupted by protruding structural elements.

The TDC afforded Mies the opportunity to investigate his spatial ideas at an urban scale. While his previous tower projects were of a modest size, the TDC was massive with the site covering five and a half acres.34 With the shopping concourse moved below ground, this provided Mies with the freedom to direct the public experience of the complex. Mies had worked with large scale site planning before at the Illinois Institute of Technology campus.35 However, while IIT was a collection of academic low rises, the commercial program and densely urban downtown location of the TDC would pose a new challenge. Perhaps learning from the popular flocks of people that took place unexpectedly on the open plaza at Seagram, Mies set out to allocate spaces for such congregations at the TDC. The large open patch of grass with sculptures of cattle was as much an art installation as it was a gathering area. Ledges were set along the perimeters for seating. The large north facing plaza, provided an open and unhindered circulation path between the buildings while creating a break in the downtown fabric of built claustrophobia. This set the tone of motion and fluidity which had always been characteristic of open Miesian spaces. The careful offsets of the centre’s buildings in relation to each other imply a movement reminiscent of the De Stijl arrangements Mies had drawn up in his Brick and Concrete Country Houses in the twenties and his design for the Barcelona Pavilion. While the scale had been blown up by magnitudes, with the offset room partitions now sized as commercial blocks, the negotiation of the space is no less Miesian—except now, Mies is no longer directing individuals but crowds.

Had DuBois noticed that the TDC was not a savage amalgam of lazy and unfashionable ideas but a timelessly lyrical expression of Mies’ fundamental ideals—the utmost honest expression of form and material—perhaps he would have been less harsh in his judgement. If there was public outcry towards the TDC, it was likely a mere reaction towards modernism in general. It is not easy to produce a landmark as large as the TDC without drawing criticism, and Mies received some of the harshest for building in what was popularly perceived as a tired style. As international style towers proliferated the skyline, now eclipsing Mies’ once record shattering scale, the repulsion towards the TDC seem to have greatly subsided. Retrospection had been good for the TDC as the deaf ears of critical opinion have begun to listen to what Mies had tried to say all along. It was rather unfortunate that it took decades of poor copies of Mies’ architecture for people to notice the idiosyncrasies and nuances of the TDC’s refinements.

For decades after, Mies’ towers influenced a legion of lookalikes. His logic of a stackable and duplicatable plan fit well for budget conscious commercial towers. However, what countless imitators failed to realize was that at the very core of Mies’ architecture was not about formal design or even design at all, but about a presentation of materiality and technology. One cannot copy Mies by observation alone. The “why” was always equally if not more important than the “how” for Mies’ architecture. Copycats failed not because they did not understand how Mies’ towers were built—the simplicity of Mies’ technical specifics would have been little trouble to reverse engineer—but because they did not understand that Mies’ success stemmed from the uncompromising expression of materiality and structure. For Mies, it was less of a question regarding which material to use than the question of how to best use a material. Though the marble and onyx of the Barcelona Pavilion or the bronze-dipped windows at the Seagram building were undoubtedly luxurious, in the hands of Mies, even the mundane brick employed at the Lange and Esters Houses evoked a sense of solemnity.36

Mies’ architectural language, borne from his craftsmanlike interpretation of architecture, was the pervasive force which accounted for the success of his portfolio. It was through those childhood years in Aachen which solidified the fundamental principles which would define Mies’ vocabulary time and time again. It was the craftsman which brought forth the love for material, and the materials which dictated the form that determined the methods of construction. Mies’ lifelong goal had been to manifest the platonic form of architecture—the search for the purest way of composing material and structure. For those who critiqued Mies on form alone without an understanding of his lofty ambition, it appeared as though he was merely a stubborn man, content with his trite designs and either too oblivious or too obdurate to accept the changing architectural climate. But the ones who did recognize Mies’ conviction saw that he was simply a man who toiled endlessly at the service of materiality and craft.

Though it can be easily argued that Mies’ work was banal, such a proclamation would be akin to saying that classical temples were all the same. Such was simply not true. Though they shared a common aesthetic, the subtitles and improvements between them were enough to fill libraries, and Mies was no different. Like 2001’s monoliths, Mies’ TDC towers give an immediate sense of minimalism and simplicity, masking a level of thoughtfulness and complexity—much like how Kubrick and Clarke’s alien monoliths hid the technology behind their epiphanic powers subcutaneously. However, with Mies, if one were to look just a little more carefully—to appreciate the details and the thoughtful touches and to suspend the obvious—it becomes apparent that Mies’ philosophy is as simple as the architectural language itself. Mies may have seen stubborn, but with his immobility lied integrity. There was no trick to Mies, only a frankness of intentions—a refreshing aberrance in an endless sea of high-brow architecture whose processes and intentions could only be accessed via a cerebral elitism. Perhaps the single greatest quality of Mies that allowed his architecture to remain so endearing was his simple dignity, honesty, and easy understandability.

  1. 2001: A Space Odyssey. Dir. Stanley Kubrick. MGM Home Entertainment, 1998. DVD.
  2. Friedrich W. Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra (Plain Label Books, 1960) 31 – 32
  3. Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick, 2001: A Space Odyssey (New York: New American Library, 1968) 166
  4. Franz Schulze, Mies van der Rohe: A Critical Biography (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985) 241, 270
  5. Phyllis Lambert, “Punching Through the Clouds: Notes on the Place of the Toronto-Dominion Centre in the North American Oeuvre of Mies” The Presence of Mies (New Jersey: Princeton Architectural Press, 1994) 36
  6. Schulze, 296
  7. Lambert, 37
  8. Schulze, 12
  9. Schulze, 220
  10. Paul Kay and Willett Kempton, “What is the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis?” American Anthropologist NS, 66
  11. Schulze, 243
  12. Schulze, 322
  13. Claire Zimmermann, Mies van der Rohe: 1886–1969 (Hong Kong: Taschen, 2006) 39
  14. “Canadians Build an Office Complex by Mies van der Rohe in Toronto” Architectural Record Mar. 1971 v.149: 110
  15. Zimmermann, 67
  16. Zimmermann, 23
  17. Peter Maccallum, The Presence of Mies (New Jersey: Princeton Architectural Press, 1994) 1–13
  18. Jack H. Williamson, “The Grid: History, Use, and Meaning” Design Issues 3.2 (1936): 21–22
  19. “Mies van der Rohe’s last work :the Toronto-Dominion Centre forms a magnificently vital new focal point of great structures and open plazas for downtown Toronto” Interiors Sept. 1972, 132.2: 117
  20. Macy DuBois, “Toronto-Dominion Centre” The Canadian Architect Nov. 1967: 30
  21. Zimmermann, 23–24
  22. Zimmermann, 25
  23. Zimmermann, 26–27
  24. Robert Venturi, Complexity and Contradiction (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1966) 16–17
  25. Schulze, 202–204
  26. Bernard Rudofsky, Architecture Without Architects: A Short Introduction to Non-Pedigreed Architecture (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1964)
  27. Kenneth Frampton, “Towards a Critical Regionalism: Six Points for an Architecture of Resistance” The Anti-Aesthetic: Essays on Postmodern Culture (New York: New Press, 1998) 23
  28. Venturi, 17
  29. DuBois, 33
  30. DuBois, 33
  31. Zimmermann, 68
  32. Zimmermann, 70
  33. Schulze, 261
  34. Interiors, 117
  35. Schulze, 220 – 230
  36. Zimmermann, 33