Mies worked as a stucco draughtsman with Max Fischer, in the offices of Göbbels and Dominick and later with the architect Albert Schneider in Aachen from 1904-05. He left for Berlin in 1905 and worked as a draughtsman in the studio of Bruno Paul from 1905-07.
He obtained his first independent commission, a house in Neubabelsberg near Potsdam, for Professor Alois Riehl in 1906. The friendship between the young architect and this renowned expert of the work of Nietzsche opened up a previously unknown spiritual and social world for Mies. He met with the Berlin intellectual elite while working with Riehl, amongst others, the renowned art historian Heinrich Wölflin whose fiancée, Ada Bruhn, he later married. The successful completion of Riehl's house in 1907 opened up the door to one of the most celebrated European studios of Peter Behrens.