In Mies van der Rohe: A Critical Biography, author Franz Schulze observes Mies’ intentions regarding the purpose of S. R. Crown Hall: “The ‘chaos of directions’ of the modern world in which [Mies] lamented,” writes Schulze, “might here be put to order by the formative, clarifying mind communally and impersonally striving to elevate fact into truth.”
For some architecture students, the notion of a clear mind may at times seemingly want to fly right out one of Crown Hall’s roughly 10x13-foot upper windows during finals week. But since the “one room schoolhouse” opened in 1956, students have delivered on Mies’ purpose, finding their own—often creative—ways to corral the chaos of year-end design projects. Some students have even gone so far as to camp out deskside overnight in order to ready their work for grading or exhibition.
Over time, all-nighters in Crown Hall have become something of a tradition—and a rite of passage for IIT architecture students. In this photo essay, members of the student photography group iitExposure captured life at Crown Hall preceding finals.