[jahsonic.com] - [Next >>]

Modernist architecture

While modern architecture started with the Crystal Palace in 1851 and continued up to art nouveau, modernist architecture started in the 1920s when the straight line, the rejection of ornament and the form follows function credo had come full speed. Modernist architecture is usually characterised by a rejection of historical styles as a source of architectural form, an adoption of the machine aesthetic and an adoption of expressed structure. As such, for the purpose of this site, modernist architecture is a subgenre of modern architecture.[Mar 2006]

Related: architecture - Bauhaus - international style - Le Corbusier - mid-century modern - modernist design - modernism - De Stijl

Case study: Pruitt-Igoe (1954 - 1976)

Architects: Frank Lloyd Wright - Le Corbusier - Frank Gehry - Adolf Loos

“Modern[ist] architecture died in St. Louis, Missouri on July 15, 1972 at 3:32 pm when the infamous Pruitt-Igoe scheme, or rather several of its slab blocks, were given the final coup de grace by dynamite.” -- Charles Jencks

Pruitt-Igoe, 1955
image sourced here.

Pruitt-Igoe, 1972
image sourced here.

Modernist architecture

By the 1920s the most important figures in modern architecture had established their reputations. The big three are commonly recognized as Le Corbusier in France, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius in Germany. Mies van der Rohe and Gropius were both directors of the Bauhaus, one of a number of European schools and associations concerned with reconciling craft tradition and industrial technology.

Frank Lloyd Wright's career parallels and influences the work of the European modernists, particularly via the Wasmuth Portfolio, but he refused to be categorized with them.

In 1932 came the important MOMA exhibition, the International Exhibition of Modern Architecture, curated by Philip Johnson. Johnson and collaborator Henry-Russell Hitchcock drew together many distinct threads and trends, identified them as stylistically similar and having a common purpose, and consolidated them into the International Style.

This was an important turning point. With World War II the important figures of the Bauhaus fled to the United States, to Chicago, to the Harvard Graduate School of Design, and to Black Mountain College. Modernism became the pre-eminent, and then (for leaders of the profession) the only acceptable, design solution from about 1932 to about 1984.

Architects who worked in the international style wanted to break with architectural tradition and design simple, unornamented buildings. The most commonly used materials are glass for the facade, steel for exterior support, and concrete for the floors and interior supports; floor plans were functional and logical. The style became most evident in the design of skyscrapers. Perhaps its most famous/notorious manifestations include the United Nations headquarters, the Seagram Building, and Lever House by Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill, all in New York.

Detractors of the international style claim that its stark, uncompromisingly rectangular geometry is dehumanising. Le Corbusier once described buildings as "machines for living", but people are not machines and do not want to live in machines. Even Philip Johnson admitted he was "bored with the box." Since the early 1980s many architects have deliberately sought to move away from strictly geometrical designs.

Although there is much discussion as to when the fall of the modern movement occurred, criticism of Modern architecture began in the 1960s on the grounds that it was universal, sterile, elitist and lacked meaning. The rise of postmodernism is attributed to the general disenchantment with Modern architecture. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_architecture#Modernism_as_dominant_style [Oct 2005]

Mid-century modern

Mid-century modern is a design term applied most frequently to residential (and some commercial) architecture, interior design and furniture. Related to the Space Age, the International style and Googie, mid-century modern translated the ideology of Modernism into a sleek, cool, yet accessible lifestyle.

Standard designers of the mid-century modern era include: Rudolf Schindler, Richard Neutra, Charles and Ray Eames and Craig Ellwood. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mid-century_modern [Oct 2005]

Form follows function

Form follows function is a slogan and principle of Modern architecture, including specifically:

It is meant to suggest that architecture should let the physical characteristics necessary to creating a structure dominate in its appearance, rather than elaborating and decorating. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Form_follows_function [Mar 2005]

Villa Savoye (1928) - Le Corbusier

Villa Savoye (1928) - Le Corbusier
image sourced here.

see also: Le Corbusier - 1928 - architecture

your Amazon recommendations - Jahsonic - early adopter products

Managed Hosting by NG Communications