After Mies’ death in 1969, Lohan initially continued running the company with two of his grandfather’s former students under the name of Office of Mies van der Rohe. Starting in 1975, they operated under the name of Fujikawa, Conterato, Lohan & Associates; they subsequently used the acronym of FCL. Since 2004, the name of the firm has been Lohan Anderson. Lohan is now one of five directors and responsible for the design work and long-term strategy of the firm, which is among the major and leading offices in the fields of architecture, urban and landscape planning and interior design in the USA.
In 1972, Lohan assumed the restoration of the Farnsworth House, which was originally built by Mies in the years 1950-1951.
Lohan‘s first contract of his own was a major project from the start: Building the headquarters of the McDonald’s hamburger chain as a corporate campus, which was a loose collection of individual buildings with stone and brick facades placed on the grounds of a tree-covered meadow with a size of more than 32 hectares. Training and research centres, offices, seminar rooms, auditoriums and accommodations were part of the building program.
At first glance, Lohan‘s later designs hardly have anything in common with the modern rigorism of Mies van der Rohe. This applied to other corporate campuses that were commissioned and the many office buildings in the city centre that Lohan built since the 1980s or even the Oceanarium in Chicago.
Yet, there is one exception. Lohan wanted to build the glass high-rise, which was once designed by Mies in the 1920s, at Berlin’s Friedrichstrasse railway station in 1992-1993. Mies’ project was a utopian dream in his day. Lohan could have realized the building with modern technology about 70 years later. However, this and some of Lohan’s other large projects in Berlin after the fall of the Wall were left unrealized. These included the America Memorial Library, the Olympic Hall and the American Business Centre. With great hopes, Lohan had opened his own office in Berlin just for this purpose. However, Lohan did not build anything during his brief interlude in Berlin.
Lohan’s building philosophy is committed to the ethos of truth, just like that of Mies. However, Mies’ view that architecture – if it is good – is always an expression of its time (spatially-conceived will of the time) was adapted by Lohan as a consideration of the contexts. Regional traditions and the local environment are not simply ignored in his buildings. His perspective differs in this regard from that of Mies, who believed in building the same way anywhere in the world. On the other hand, Lohan’s use of currently available technology is somewhat similar to Mies’ approach. Above all, the energy efficiency of buildings – which was ignored during Mies’ times – is an important topic for Lohan in this regard.
It was Lohan’s destiny to learn from one of the greatest architects of modernity and then be forced to prove and assert himself as an architect in postmodern times. The will of the time – at the very latest since the 1980s – no longer tolerated modern purism. The consequence was that Lohan “humanised” modernity within the sense of his contextualism and enriched it with variations and textures, as he expressed it, in order to create individual buildings.
During his visit in Germany on the occasion of various events for the anniversary of his grandfather’s 125th birthday on 27 March 2011, Lohan said: “When I work, I don’t constantly think about how Mies would do this and what would Mies say?” Things also work without doing this. In any case, Lohan’s office cannot complain about a lack of work.