Is this a Mies?s project? Disappearances, or the art of being a Mies project Angel Borrego Several years ago I had to solve the structure of Mies House of the Werkbund exhibition of 1931 as an exercise for a course named Structures Projects in the School of Architecture of Madrid. We were offered this house as an exercise because there had been some complaints about having to calculate and deal with ?bad, real, anonymous? architecture widely recognized as such, in so far as it has been widely published, that furthermore had some ideal quality to it, a quality reinforced by the fact that it was not there anymore, one could not go and see it, old and deteriorated, all images we have of it are of a shiny new object: in fact its ideal quality was even present in that it had not even been designed to be a completely real house, as nobody ever lived there and wasn?t supposed to. It was a three dimensional representation of a house, what gave it a further flair of ideality. And it was as well the representation of an idea, and we all liked that. Last but not least, it had Mies to back it up, which promised us the remote possibility of analyzing one of his works in depth, with proper tools (this was a structures course, and we had already read, or heard, something about the importance of structures in Mies?s work.) We were lured by the possibility of reconstructing, if not the pavilion, some of the ideas leading to it. Ideas that were themselves structural, like the ?perfectly regular all columnar structure?, an ideal structure. We had a sensation that we could somehow reproduce the process and thoughts of Mies leading to the solution of a particular work, investigate him in a cuasi archaeological manner, reconstruct the project, as if being able to reconstruct one work we could reconstruct the entire Mies, and placing ourselves in his position replace him, which was to know for once where we were (1). All these thoughts, passed through our minds more or less abstractly, believe it or not, before we realized that we were supposed to imagine that the roof was also supported by the walls and that the plan was lacking two columns, which was short. We could not believe that only to make the exercise more difficult, as it was admitted, the professors would mutilate a Mies work in such a way. The exercise had lost all interest to us and there were some timid protests. The surprise came when, though admitting that the supporting walls had been their idea, the professors said they had not manipulated the plan of the house at all. Some confusion followed, since that seemed quite incredible to us, even more to professors I guess. Two of us went to the library and checkout two books, one being the ?History of Modern Architecture? (the Benevolo as it was known), from where they said to have copied the plan of the house for the exercise, and another book on Mies that included the same project. The Benevolo was actually lacking the two columns, but the other book included them, making clear our point. We were able to reorient the exercise and calculate the house just as Mies had designed it. We, the students I mean, were really happy, since we had a voice in the discipline of architecture: our own discipline since we were the ones being disciplined, and we had been allowed to freely talk our way through it. I had the nice sensation that what happened was curiously and rewardingly similar to, or a kind of metaphor for, the flowing space of the free plan, that was allowed to move through the perfectly regular structure, a most disciplined structure. As Mark Wigley has noted, discipline is intimately related to prothesis. The concept of prothesis (pro-thesis) would be already architectural as ?the act of placing before?, referring to a structure that has to be placed before anything else; it is already a structure, rather than being something added that could be removed..