Born Maria Ludwig Michael Mies and known professionally as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe or simply Mies, this German architect was responsible for such modernist masterpieces as the Barcelona Pavilion and the Czech Republic's Villa Tugendhat.
While apprenticing with architect Peter Behrens in the early 1900s, Mies had the opportunity to work with both Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius. As an apprentice, he supervised the construction of the German Empire's Embassy.
In the early 1930s, he served as the final director of a famous German art school known as the Bauhaus. When the Nazi regime rose to power in his homeland, he relocated to the United States, where he headed the architecture department at the Illinois Institute of Technology.
His five-year marriage to Ada Bruhn resulted in daughters named Dorothea, Waltraut, and Marianne; he fathered a fourth child (and his only son) through an extramarital relationship. Throughout his life, he had a number of high-profile affairs, including a nearly three-decade relationship with sculptor Lora Marx.
He and American architect Frank Lloyd Wright were two of the key figures in the modernist architecture movement.