One of the most conventional architectural elements is the plinth. Neither a specifically modern nor Western element, it is a familiar feature of religious buildings, and associated in premodern societies with the altar. The plinth is commonly understood as an expression of the elevation of the structure towards the sacred and its separation from profane daily life. A number of fairly recent publications have discussed the function of the architectural plinth in the twentieth century. The architectural historian Fritz Neumeyer, architectural historian and theorist K. Michael Hays, and architect and theorist Pier Vittorio Aureli have all argued that the role of the plinth in the work of Mies van der Rohe is mediation.1 In this, they modify a common modern conception of the plinth as an element that isolates and separates a building from its environment.