The two urban villas Haus Esters and Haus Lange were erected in 1927–1928 by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, one of the leading representatives of New Architecture. Originally planned as private homes for the families of two friends active in Krefeld’s silk industry, Hermann Lange and Dr. Josef Esters, they are now venues for the temporary exhibitions of the Kunstmuseen Krefeld.
The two villas are largely preserved in their original states. They document Mies van der Rohe’s aspirations of uniting a new approach to space with the suitability for daily use inherent to residential structures: Clear rectangular forms encounter open sequences of spaces and large windows that connect the interior to the gardens.
Haus Lange Haus Esters are a member of the Iconic Houses Network.
Haus Lange and Haus Esters have served the Kunstmuseen Krefeld as exhibition venues for contemporary art since 1955 and 1981, respectively.
Ulrich Lange, the son of the original owner, donated his house to the city of Krefeld in 1966, earmarking it as site for contemporary art production. Since then, young artists have had the chance to grapple with the architecture first hand and create their works for these buildings. Around 1960, Alexander Calder and Yves Klein were among the first to have conceived on-site exhibitions for the villas; they were followed by artists such as Jan Dibbets, Sol LeWitt, Richard Long and Fred Sandback. John Baldessari, Elmgreen & Dragset, Alicja Kwade and David Reed are some of the artists who have continued this tradition in recent years.