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B6 Postmodern Architecture

 

 

Between about 1965 and 1980 architects and critics began to espouse tendencies for which there is as yet no better designation than postmodern. Although postmodernism is not a cohesive movement based on a distinct set of principles, as was modernism, in general it can be said that the postmodernists value individuality, intimacy, complexity, and occasionally even humor.

Postmodern tendencies were given early expression in Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture (1966; revised ed. 1977) by the American architect Robert Venturi. In this provocative work he defended vernacular architecture—for example, gas stations and fast-food restaurants—and attacked the modernist establishment with such satiric comments as “Less is a bore” (a play on Mies's well-known dictum “Less is more”). By the early 1980s, postmodernism had become the dominant trend in American architecture and an important phenomenon in Europe as well. Its success in the United States owed much to the influence of Philip C. Johnson, who had performed the same service for modernism 50 years earlier. His AT&T Building (1984) in New York City, with its Renaissance allusions and its pediment evoking Chippendale furniture, immediately became a landmark of postmodern design.

Other postmodern office towers built during the 1980s aspired to a similar high stylistic profile, recalling the great art deco skyscrapers of the 1920s and 1930s or striving for an eccentric flamboyance of their own. Vivid color and other decorative elements were effectively used by Michael Graves in several notable buildings, while Richard Meier developed a more austere version of postmodernism, influenced by Le Corbusier, in his designs for museums and private houses. Outstanding American practitioners of postmodernism, in addition to Venturi, Johnson, Graves, and Meier, are Helmut Jahn, Charles Gwathmey, Charles Willard Moore, and Robert A. M. Stern.

Closely related to the postmodernist interest in historical styles was the historic preservation movement, which during the last decades of the 20th century led to the renovation of many landmark older buildings and to a tendency to resist new architecture that seemed to threaten the scale or stylistic integrity of existing structures. The stark, confrontational approach of modernism has been replaced by a more inclusive sense of the architectural heritage that acknowledges and seeks to preserve the very finest achievements of every period.

See also African Art and Architecture; Canadian Architecture; Interior Design; Oceanian Art and Architecture; Seven Wonders of the World.

Contributed By: Lawrence B. Anderson

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I INTRODUCTION

 

 

Modern Architecture, the buildings and building practices of the late 19th and the 20th centuries. The history of modern architecture encompasses the architects who designed those buildings, stylistic movements, and the technology and materials that made the new architecture possible. Modern architecture originated in the United States and Europe and spread from there to the rest of the world.

Among notable early modern architectural projects are exuberant and richly decorated buildings in Glasgow, Scotland, by Charles Rennie Mackintosh; imaginative designs for a city of the future by Italian visionary Antonio Sant'Elia; and houses with flowing interior spaces and projecting roofs by the American pioneer of modernism, Frank Lloyd Wright. Important modern buildings that came later include the sleek villas of Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier; bold new factories in Germany by Peter Behrens and Walter Gropius; and steel and glass skyscrapers designed by German-born architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

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II CHARACTERISTICS

 

 

Modern architects reacted against the architecture of the 19th century, which they felt borrowed too heavily from the past. They found this architecture either oppressively bound to past styles or cloyingly picturesque and eclectic. As the 20th century began they believed it was necessary to invent an architecture that expressed the spirit of a new age and would surpass the styles, materials, and technologies of earlier architecture. This unifying purpose did not mean that their buildings would be similar in appearance, nor that architects would agree on other issues.

The aesthetics (artistic values) of modern architects differed radically. Some architects, enraptured by the powerful machines developed in the late 19th century, sought to devise an architecture that conveyed the sleekness and energy of a machine. Their aesthetic celebrated function in all forms of design, from household furnishings to massive ocean liners and the new flying machines. Other architects, however, found machine-like elegance inappropriate to architecture. They preferred an architecture that expressed, not the rationality of the machine, but the mystic powers of human emotion and spirit.

Modern architects also differed in their understanding of historical traditions. While some abandoned historical references altogether, others used careful references to the past to enhance the modernity of their designs. Italian architect Antonio Sant'Elia resoundingly rejected traditional architecture in his Futurist Manifesto of 1914 (Futurism). He called for each generation to build its houses anew and celebrated glass, steel, and concrete as the materials to make this possible. The modern designs of his countryman Giuseppe Terragni, on the other hand, referred explicitly to the past. Terragni's Casa del Fascio (Fascist Party Headquarters, 1932-1936) in Como, Italy, featured an inner atrium for public assembly inspired by the courtyards of Italian Renaissance palaces, and windows laid out according to ancient Greek and Roman theories of ideal architectural proportions. Terragni saw tradition as providing ideal building blocks for a new architecture. But the building's concrete and steel construction and its sleek, unornamented form expressed a thoroughly modern aesthetic.

In the United States Frank Lloyd Wright also rejected 19th-century European architecture. He attributed his new architectural concepts to educational building blocks he had played with as a child, to Japanese architecture, and to the prairie landscape on which many of his houses were built. Yet the fireplaces with adjacent seating that occupied a central position in his houses referred to the very distant past, when tending and maintaining a fire was essential for human survival. In Wright's houses, few dividing walls separated rooms and one room seemed to flow into the next. Wright's open design was extremely influential, and variations of it were used, not only for the houses of the wealthy, but for apartments and middle-class homes in Europe and the United States. Modern architecture also challenged traditional ideas about the types of structures suitable for architectural design. Important civic buildings, aristocratic palaces, churches, and public institutions had long been the mainstay of architectural practices, but modernist designers argued that architects should design all that was necessary for society, even the most humble buildings. They began to plan low-cost housing, railroad stations, factories, warehouses, and commercial spaces. In the first half of the 20th century many modernists produced housing as well as furniture, textiles, and wallpaper to create a totally designed domestic environment

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III NEW MATERIALS AND TECHNOLOGY

 

 

Developments in two materials—iron and concrete—formed the technological basis for much modern architecture. In 1779 English architect Thomas Pritchard designed the first structure built entirely of cast iron: Ironbridge, a bridge over the River Severn in England. At around the same time, another Englishman experimented with a compound of lime, clay, sand, and iron slag to produce concrete. Iron had been used since antiquity to tie building elements together, but after the erection of Ironbridge it took on a new role as a primary structural material. Builders throughout Europe and North America began to erect warehouses with beams of iron instead of wood and to create storefronts with cast-iron façades.

One of the most spectacular examples of early iron construction was the Crystal Palace in London,

England, designed by English architect Joseph Paxton to house the Great Exhibition of 1851.

Spreading over 7.3 hectares (18 acres), the building consisted entirely of panels of glass set within iron frames. Paxton adapted two major features of the Industrial Revolution to the architecture of the Crystal Palace: mass production (in the manufactured glass panels and iron frames) and the use of iron rather than traditional masonry (stones or brick). He managed to erect this vast building in less than six months, a feat he accomplished by detailed planning and by prefabrication of the building parts off-site. In 1889 French engineer Gustave Eiffel carried forward Paxton's daring ideas for iron construction in his 300-m (984-ft) tall Eiffel Tower in Paris. Steel for construction also became abundantly available in the 19th century.

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A Reinforced Concrete

 

 

Improvements in concrete ran parallel to developments in iron and steel technology. In 1892 French engineer François Hennebique combined the strengths of both in a new system of construction based on concrete reinforced with steel. His invention made possible previously unimaginable effects: extremely thin walls with large areas of glass; roofs that cantilever (project out from their supports) to previously impossible distances; enormous spans without supporting columns or beam; and corners formed of glass rather than stone, brick, or wood.

One of the earliest architects to experiment with these new effects was Belgian architect-engineer Auguste Perret, whose 1903 apartment building on Rue Franklin in Paris, France, exemplified basic principles of steel reinforcement. On the façade, Perret clearly separated the structural elements of steel-reinforced concrete from the exterior walls, which were simply decorative panels or windows rather than structural necessities. The reinforced concrete structure also eliminated the need for interior walls to support any weight, permitting a floor plan of unprecedented openness. Perret's building stood eight stories high, with two additional stories set back from the front of the building, the typical height of most Paris buildings at the time

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B Chicago School

 

 

The construction of buildings taller than Perret's was made possible by the safety elevator, first demonstrated in 1854 by American inventor Elisha Otis. Architects in Chicago, Illinois, were the first to exploit the possibilities offered by the elevator in combination with the new steel and concrete technologies. Following a disastrous fire in 1871, Chicago experienced a massive boom in new housing, warehouses, and commercial buildings. The collective response of a diverse group of architects to the reconstruction of the city led to the development of the skyscraper.

Architect William Le Baron Jenney devised a solution to the problem of fireproof construction for tall buildings by substituting steel in the structural system for cast iron, which melts at high temperatures. He continued to clad the building's exterior with traditional masonry, however. Jenney brilliantly demonstrated his system in the Second Leiter Building (1889-1891, Chicago), in which a steel frame held together by rivets supported itself as well as all the interior walls and floors and the exterior cladding.

Architect Daniel H. Burnham and Charles B. Atwood, a designer in Burnham's firm, took Jenney's system and drove it to new heights with the Reliance Building (1889-1895), which stood 16 stories high, at least 6 stories higher than had been possible with masonry construction. Their design stripped away the ornamentation characteristic of most buildings at that time and instead used tall windows to emphasize the beauty of the building's skyward thrust.

Most importantly, they eliminated Jenney's heavy masonry exterior, creating a system known as curtain-wall construction. In this system, the exterior wall of each floor is hung on the iron or steel frame so that the wall supports only its own weight and not the floors above it. This method of construction reduced the overall weight of a building, which allowed it to be built higher, and permitted the extensive use of glass on the façade. The glass-and-steel skyscrapers erected through most of the 20th century drew much of their aesthetic as well as technological inspiration from the clean lines and light appearance of late-19th-century Chicago buildings such as this one

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IV CITIES AND SUBURBS

 

 

The Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and the 19th centuries that brought forth advances in materials and technology was also responsible for large-scale changes in patterns of living and working, and for the rapid growth of cities. By the beginning of the 20th century, the population of cities such as Paris, London, and New York City numbered well over a million people. Such population concentrations created demand for new roads, railroads, bridges, and subways, and for a wide range of new buildings, including railroad stations, department stores, opera houses, and covered public markets. Perhaps the most troubling feature of the Industrial Revolution was the squalor created wherever factories were found. Reformers throughout the 19th century struggled to change laws and customs in order to improve working conditions and provide decent and sanitary housing for the new urban masses.

Among the reformers were those who dreamed of using architecture to create industrial utopias that would help control the unchecked urban growth and keep the working classes themselves in line. In 1901 French architect Tony Garnier submitted designs for an imaginary city where workers would live in lushly landscaped residential areas and commute by streetcar to clean and pleasant factories (published as Cité Industrielle, 1917). Although his plans went unrealized, such utopian projects exerted a powerful force on architects and governments at the beginning of the 20th century.

In 1928 the Congrès Internationaux de l'Architecture Moderne (International Congress of Modern Architecture, or CIAM) was founded to promote social justice and modern architecture. In 1933 this group issued the Athens Charter, which recommended simple, clear urban-planning schemes that would separate leisure, work, housing, and traffic. Unfortunately, by separating these functions, many of these plans eliminated any sense of community. Governments and private enterprise sponsored new towns based on these guidelines, which assumed that people living in the right environment would be more likely to behave in accordance with the dictates of society. Much urban planning in the 20th century was devoted to decentralizing cities and setting up self-sufficient garden suburbs

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V ART NOUVEAU AND RELATED MOVEMENTS

 

 

Art Nouveau, which flourished in Europe between 1890 and 1910, was one of the earliest (and shortest-lived) efforts to develop an original style for the modern age. Art nouveau artists and designers transformed modern industrial materials such as iron and glass into graceful, curving forms often drawn from nature, though with playful elements of fantasy. In contrast to both Perret and the architects of the Chicago School, art nouveau designers were interested in architecture as a form of stylistic expression rather than as a structural system.

In the three centers of art nouveau—Barcelona, Spain; Brussels, Belgium; and Paris, France—architects struggled to define a style with distinctly local characteristics. In Barcelona, one of the most ambitious projects of architect Antoni Guad? was the Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Fam?lia (Church of the Holy Family, 1883-1929, 1979 to present). Gaud? turned to nature for a rich variety of animal and plant forms to decorate the towering façades of the Sagrada Fam?lia. He also used natural forms structurally: columns shaped like bones, undulating walls in brick, a roofline resembling the profile of an armadillo. His wide use of ceramic tile, a local building material, gave color and texture to his designs. The deeply personal nature of his fanciful designs meant that no school developed to follow him. Much more effective in generating a following was architect Victor Horta of Brussels.

Like Gaud?, Horta reacted against prevailing styles with an architecture that responded to local traditions and materials, although Horta transformed iron and glass as well as Belgian brick into slender, graceful forms inspired by flowers. Among his most influential designs was the Hôtel Tassel (1892-1893) in Brussels, a three-story house in which thin iron columns flow into stylized vines and serve both as structural and as decorative elements. The creation of these organic forms depended not on mass-production or modern machines, but on craftsmanship, thereby restoring to architecture what many feared was being lost to an increasingly technological engineering mentality. Horta's flowing lines became the hallmark of art nouveau and were rendered by others in iron, glass, and plaster as well as in graphic design. In Paris, Hector Guimard produced entrances for the Métro subway system (1899-1904), rendering fanciful plantlike forms in iron and glass.

As art nouveau's influence spread throughout Europe and North America, regional variations developed: stile Liberty in Italy, Jugendstil in Germany, Sezessionstil in Austria, and modernisme in Spain. Among the major achievements of these art nouveau offshoots were the Elvira Photo Studio (1896-1897) in Munich, Germany, by German architect August Endell; and the Stadtbahn (city railway system, 1894-1899) in Vienna, Austria, by Otto Wagner. Perhaps the greatest of these achievements is the Willow Tea Room (1903-1904) in Glasgow, Scotland, designed with sinuous, willowy lines by Scottish architect and graphic designer Charles Rennie Mackintosh

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VI ARTS AND CRAFTS AND RELATED MOVEMENTS

 

 

The Arts and Crafts Movement, which began in England around 1860 and continued into the first decade of the 20th century, shared many of the ideas of art nouveau. The movement's earliest proponents reacted against cheap manufactured goods, which had flooded shops and filled houses in the second half of the 19th century. The Arts and Crafts ideal they offered was a spiritual, craft-based alternative, intended to alleviate industrial production's degrading effects on the souls of laborers and on the goods they produced. It emphasized local traditions and materials, and was inspired by vernacular design—that is, characteristic local building styles that generally were not created by architects.

English designer William Morris, who led the Arts and Crafts movement, sought to restore integrity to both architecture and the decorative arts. The Red House (1859) in Kent, designed for Morris and his family by English architect Philip Webb, demonstrates the architectural principles at the heart of the English movement. The unpretentious brick façades were free of ornament, the ground plan was informal and asymmetrical, and the materials were drawn from the area and assembled with local building techniques.

Spurred by the experience of furnishing his home, Morris set up a studio with several associates, including Webb and English artists Dante Gabriel Rosetti and Edward Burne-Jones. They designed everything—from wallpaper to stained glass, books, and teapots—according to the highest standards of craftsmanship. The idea of the house as a total work of art, with all of the interior objects designed by the architect, emerged from this studio and remained standard practice throughout the Arts and Crafts movement.

 

In Scotland, Mackintosh designed the Glasgow School of Art in two phases, which reveal a dramatic shift from his early art nouveau phase to the Arts and Crafts aesthetic. The building's asymmetrical front (1897-1899) featured a range of styles and curving art nouveau ironwork. The rear of the building (1906-1909) presented something quite different: To light the artists' studios within, Mackintosh opened up the façade with tall windows set into an austere masonry grid. Spare, simple, functional, and breathtakingly different, this elevation predicted many of the qualities that came to be associated with modern architecture after World War I (1914-1918). Inside, the library, with its soaring interior space, dark wood, and exquisitely crafted furniture and lighting fixtures, revealed Mackintosh's fascination with Japanese architecture and design.

Mackintosh's influence spread across the European continent to Vienna, Austria, where architects Joseph Maria Olbrich and Josef Hoffman and painter Gustav Klimt formed a group known as the Vienna Secession after they had seceded from the tradition-bound Viennese Academy of Fine Arts. Olbrich designed a headquarters and exhibition space for the group, a white block topped with a dome of gilded, wrought-iron leaves. Hoffman eventually became the leading architect of the Secession movement and with painter and designer Koloman Moser founded the Wiener Werkst?tte (Vienna Workshop) in 1903. This artists' cooperative was dedicated to the production of furniture and other household objects.

Viennese architect Otto Wagner, an early proponent of art nouveau styles, designed one of the most important early modernist buildings in Vienna, the Postal Savings Bank (1904-1906). Its sleekly engineered interior featured a ceiling of glass panes framed in aluminum and luminous ceramic tile wall surfaces.

A Japanese Secession movement that arose in 1920 demonstrates the global reach of architectural ideas in the 20th century. This fledgling organization, composed of architects Mamoru Yamada, Sutemi Honiguchi, Mayumi Takizada, and Kikuji Ishimoto, signaled the first appearance of the modern movement in Japan, where modernization inevitably was connected with westernization. The group was also influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright, who built the Imperial Hotel (1915-1922) in Tokyo. The Deutscher Werkbund (German Work Union), founded in 1907 by Hermann Muthesius, Peter Behrens, and Fritz Schumacher, differed from the other Arts and Crafts movements by allying artists and architects with industrialists. The Werkbund's ambition was to bring the talents of artists to bear on industrial products. The most fruitful alliance was that of Peter Behrens with the German electricity company, Allgemeine Elektricit?ts-Gesellschaft (AEG). As AEG's architect and chief designer, Behrens produced lightbulbs, radiators, stationery, lamps, and fans, in addition to factory buildings and a large housing complex for company workers near Berlin. The Werkbund also worked to transform the education of craftspeople so a body of skilled artisans would be available to carry out its designs.

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VII THE AGE OF MACHINES

 

 

A powerful new aesthetic that celebrated the machine began to emerge in the early years of the 20th century, as architects for the first time designed buildings specifically suited to the needs of industry.

One of the earliest examples is Frank Lloyd Wright's Larkin Building (1904, destroyed), designed for a mail-order company in Buffalo, New York. Massive, minimally decorated brick towers dominated the exterior of this fortress-like office building; but inside, a vast central atrium four stories high created a brightly lit, open space for workers. Wright designed each detail for maximum efficiency, from an innovative new air conditioning and ventilation system to desks with built-in chairs. The plain exterior and highly functional interior reflected Wright's desire to create a building that would work as smoothly as a well-designed machine.

Behrens's AEG Turbine Factory (1908-1910) in Berlin combined elements of the classical Greek temple with modern industrial materials and building technology. A series of steel arches span the vast main hall, descending to form a row of steel wall piers (pillars) reminiscent of the columns in a church or Greek temple. Between these steel supports, the side walls were mostly of glass. Massive-looking concrete piers anchored each corner of the building and supported a temple-like pediment at each end. From the pediments a thin grid of steel and glass was hung like a curtain. This glass and steel wall was a forerunner of glass curtain walls common in later skyscrapers.

German architects Walter Gropius and Adolph Meyer, former employees of Behrens, presented an even more modern approach in their designs for the Fagus Factory (1911, Alfeld-an-der-Leine, Germany). Gone were Behrens's references to classical architecture. Instead of heavy masonry corners and a vaulted interior space, the Fagus Factory had open glass corners and a flat roof that emphasized its simple post-and-beam construction system. Such dynamic glass and steel architecture appeared as the vanguard of the new modernism

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VIII EXPRESSIONISM AND RATIONALISM

 

 

Two tendencies emerged in Germany after World War I (1914-1918): expressionism and rationalism. Expressionism drew inspiration from such expressive individualists as Gaud? and was connected with a broader movement in German art, literature, and drama. After the war's horrible slaughter, which mass-produced weapons had made possible, some German architects grew less enchanted with the machine and sought a design ideal that would express emotion and the essence of life. These architects included Bruno Taut, Hans Poelzig, and Erich Mendelsohn. Mendelsohn's Einstein Tower (1920-1924, Potsdam, Germany) housed a domed observatory atop a rounded, free-form tower. Its surging sculptural forms and varied volumes demonstrated the newly expressive possibilities of concrete, which in this case hid a conventional brick structure underneath.

 

The second movement, rationalism, garnered many more supporters than expressionism. The Neue Sachlichkeit (new objectivity), as the rationalist movement was called in Germany, grew out of a desire among painters for an art that directly addressed pressing social and political problems. Architects, in turn, sought to design buildings that might improve the lives of those within them. They called for designs of great clarity that paid strict attention to function and made use of modern materials and technologies. The Van Nelle Factory (1927-1929) in Rotterdam by Dutch architects Johannes Brinckmann, Leendert van der Vlugt, and Mart Stam, represented an early realization of a rationalist building conceived as a set of floating planes and interpenetrating volumes. A glass curtain wall along its length both enclosed and revealed the building's reinforced concrete structure. At the same time, it allowed for maximum penetration of light for the workers within.

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A Art Deco

 

 

The style known as art deco combined the exuberance of expressionism with the clean, functional lines of rationalism. Named after an exposition of decorative art held in Paris in 1925, art deco rapidly spread through Europe and the United States. As had architects in the arts and crafts movement, art deco architects produced lamps, tableware, household appliances, and jewelry. Streamlined art deco architecture mimicked the sleek design of ocean liners, but it also drew on the decorative qualities of art nouveau and the flowing forms of expressionism. Bruno Taut and Peter Behrens in Germany and Rob Mallet-Stevens in France were among the most prominent art deco designers.

Art deco enjoyed the widest diffusion in the United States, where it was employed in the design of many post offices and government buildings of the 1930s. One of the premier art deco buildings is the Chrysler Building (1930) in New York City, a 77-story celebration of one of the nation's largest automobile manufacturers, by architect William Van Alen. With its striking pyramid of shiny metal arches rising to the pinnacle and its stainless steel gargoyles based on the 1929 Chrysler hood ornament, it quickly became a New York City landmark

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B De Stijl

 

 

The houses of Frank Lloyd Wright, with their open, flowing floor plans, had seemed strikingly original to European architects before World War I. But after the war, European architects began to strip away the heavy masonry of Wright's buildings to reveal the purity of his flowing plans, typically in modern glass structures with interlocking volumes. Among the first to do so were members of the De Stijl (Dutch for “the style”) group in the Netherlands. This diverse group of architects, artists, and craftspeople was active from 1917 to 1931.

Dutch painter Piet Mondrian and designers Theo van Doesburg and Gerrit Rietveld were the chief exponents of De Stijl. The spare intersecting planes in primary colors of Mondrian's paintings found architectural realization in the Schr?der House (1924) in Utrecht, the Netherlands. Designed by Rietveld and the client, Truus Schr?der, the house featured steel beams and industrial railings set off by solid red and white walls. Sliding panels enabled the occupant to choose between a single expansive space or separate sleeping, eating, bathing, or work rooms

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C Bauhaus

 

 

Perhaps the most influential wing of the modern movement developed at the Bauhaus, a school founded by Gropius in Weimar, Germany, in 1919. Following the goals of the Deutscher Werkbund, of which Gropius was a member, the Bauhaus sought to unite art, architecture, and design in one institution, where students learned in workshops dedicated to theater, sculpture, stained glass, ceramics, or other arts and crafts. Students worked collaboratively with teachers who were some of the outstanding innovators of the era: Swiss painter Paul Klee, Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, Austrian-American type designer Herbert Bayer, Hungarian-American architect and furniture designer Marcel Breuer, and German-American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

The school moved to Dessau in 1924, where the Bauhaus building (1926) designed by Gropius became a symbol of modern architecture. Above the ground floor, the studio and workshop wing was sheathed in an extensive glass curtain wall so that it appeared to hover like a transparent box. Elsewhere in his design, Gropius set narrow ribbon windows flush with stucco walls, a feature that later appeared in much modern architecture.

Many Bauhaus faculty members fled to the United States after the National Socialist (Nazi) Party came to power in Germany in 1933. As a result, Bauhaus architectural ideas and teaching strategies spread quickly through such institutions as Harvard University, where Gropius and Breuer taught, and the Illinois Institute of Technology, headed by Mies van der Rohe

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D New Guidelines for Architecture

 

 

During the 1920s Swiss-born French architect Charles Jeanneret, better known as Le Corbusier, defined five features of modern architecture: (1) interior walls arranged freely, without regard to the traditional demands of structural support; (2) pilotis, or slender columns that lift the building above the ground; (3) a flat roof to be used as a garden-terrace; (4) external curtain walls that bear no weight, with a free arrangement of windows or other openings; and (5) a preference for ribbon windows, or narrow horizontal bands of glass across the length of a façade. Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye (1928-1931) at Poissy, France, exemplifies all of these features, and its circular staircase and series of ramps help to showcase his arrangement of spaces and volumes. Le Corbusier also published a magazine in Paris called L'Esprit Nouveau (The New Spirit). He saw this new spirit as an ideal collaboration of architects, industrialists, and business people.

Le Corbusier's most famous statement, "The house is a machine for living in," reflected his belief that everything about the house must be designed to meet functional needs. He also applied this idea to the city and felt that streets should be dedicated to the efficient flow of automobile traffic rather than to the leisurely pace of the pedestrian. He envisioned replacing the narrow, crowded streets in the center of Paris with vast expanses of grass and massive skyscrapers. Although his plans for Paris were never realized, his notion of towers in parks as the ideal city plan became the dominant model for low- and mid-priced housing on the outskirts of major cities in Europe and other parts of the world. Le Corbusier's vision became a rallying cry for opponents of modern architecture, who decried his insistence on rational efficiency. They foresaw the consequences of this vision, if applied on a large scale: cities enslaved to automobiles on wide, congested roads, lined with tediously repetitive residential towers.

Le Corbusier's contemporary, Mies van der Rohe, chose a more widely accepted architectural slogan: "Less is more." The spare, clean lines of his buildings, from a 1919 design for a glass-walled skyscraper to his pavilion representing Germany at the Barcelona International Exhibition of 1929, consistently exemplified this view. The Barcelona Pavilion, a small building with an adjacent reflecting pool, had a radiant clarity, with wall planes that visually overlapped one another and dynamic play between the alternately reflective and transparent surfaces of water and glass. Although destroyed following the fair and recorded in only a handful of photographs, this building shares with Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye and Gropius's Bauhaus the status of one of the foremost examples of early-20th-century modern architecture. (The pavilion was reconstructed in Barcelona in 1986

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E Totalitarianism's Stifling Effect

 

 

Repressive and authoritarian regimes in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) and Germany during the 1930s ended research in modern architecture in those countries. In the USSR, support eroded for architects involved in the experimental movement of constructivism, after Communist Party leaders judged its designs to be too abstract and machine-like. Under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, architects found themselves confined to the approved neoclassical style that glorified the state. In Germany, dictator Adolf Hitler encouraged traditional German architecture. Local governments closed down the Bauhaus in Weimar in 1925 and in Dessau in 1933, and the Nazi party then launched a campaign against so-called decadent art (meaning modern art).

The one European dictatorship hospitable to modern architecture was that of Benito Mussolini in Italy. Because he promoted the modernization of Italy as an integral part of fascism, architecture with a modern, streamlined aesthetic fit in with his goals. And because Mussolini also pledged to root the modern state in long-standing Italian traditions, his regime tolerated diverse architectural styles for its public buildings.

Giuseppe Terragni's Casa del Fascio (1932) in Como, Italy, embodied both a modern aesthetic and a reference to historical roots. Headquarters for the local branch of the fascist party, the Casa borrowed its plan from the traditional Italian Renaissance palace. The central court, left open in Renaissance palaces, here was covered with glass to form an indoor atrium. The Casa's sleekly modern, marble-clad façades depended upon the placement of window openings for architectural interest. The corner tower and the building's placement on a main square recalled traditional town hall buildings of the region

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IX THE INTERNATIONAL STYLE

 

 

In 1932 American architectural historian Henry-Russell Hitchcock and American architect Philip Johnson wrote a highly influential catalog to accompany an exhibition of architectural photographs and models at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. In the catalog, International Style: Architecture Since 1922, the authors outlined what they saw as the characteristics of the new architecture: an emphasis on volume, not mass; on regularity, not symmetry; on proportions and sleek, technical perfection rather than ornament; and a preference for elegant materials that included those of the machine age. Republished many times as a book, International Style became a bible of modern architecture, a doctrine against which all contemporary architecture could be measured. Attempting to bring order to a confusing group of architectural styles, the authors however had not intended to lay down any laws.

Early in his career, Hitchcock had distinguished between architects he described as new traditionalists, who simplified ornament but generally accepted historical traditions, and new pioneers, who eliminated historical references and ornament from their work and emphasized planes and space. The International Style exhibition, however, focused only on the new pioneers, and architects and historians took that style to be the heart of modernism, to the exclusion of many other innovative modern buildings.

The catalog of International Style architecture included few examples from the United States, and those few were mainly the work of Europeans who had immigrated to the United States. Thus, it included the Lovell Beach House (1926, Newport Beach, California), a reinforced concrete structure with flat roof and bold cantilevered elements by Austrian-born architect Rudolph Schindler. And for the same client, the Lovell House (1929, Los Angeles, California) by Richard Neutra, also of Austria, which featured a flat roof, slender steel frame, and freely arranged interior plan. But the catalog ignored the Austrians' debt to the pioneering work of American architect Irving Gill, in the La Jolla Women's Club (1914, La Jolla, California) and Dodge House (1916, Los Angeles). Gill's spare, smooth concrete walls, flat roofs, and asymmetrically arranged rooms were unquestionably modern and were not matched in Europe until the mid-1920s.

Perhaps the gravest omission was the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, whose designs had inspired many European architects. Yet his opposition to the thin, transparent walls of international style buildings ruled him out. In retrospect, Wright's Fallingwater (1937, Bear Run, Pennsylvania) seems like a brilliant response to that slight. The house is built over a waterfall; cantilevered slabs of concrete jut out over a rushing stream just where it becomes a waterfall. The chimney and rugged stone supporting piers intersect the cantilevers to form vertical counterpoints to these horizontals. Wright's daring use of materials in this profoundly modern house expresses his insistence on an architecture that is at one with nature and with its particular site.

The term International Style came to refer generally to modern European architecture of the 1920s and 1930s, and the later architecture that it influenced. In the United States, this style dominated progressive architectural design well into the 1960s. Its spread was assisted by the presence of many European architects who had fled European dictatorships during the 1930s.

The steel-framed high-rise best expresses the later International Style and is exemplified by the steel and glass Lake Shore Drive Apartments (1948-1951) in Chicago by Mies van der Rohe. Other notable International Style towers include the Equitable Life Assurance building (1944-1947) in Portland, Oregon, by Italian-born architect Pietro Belluschi; the Lever House (1951-1952) in New York City by the American architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings, & Merrill; and the bronze and glass Seagram Building (1958) in New York City by Mies van der Rohe with Philip Johnson. Whereas skyscrapers of the 1930s commonly had setbacks at their upper stories to permit light to reach the street, this new generation of skyscrapers consisted of uncompromising slabs that rose with unadorned severity to increasingly greater heights, celebrating technological sophistication and the power of American corporations.

Although New York and Chicago are known as the chief skyscraper cities, modern skyscrapers appeared in most large American cities from the 1960s on. Notable examples are the Transamerica Pyramid (1972, San Francisco, California) by William Pereira and Associates; the 60-story John Hancock Tower (1976, Boston, Massachusetts) by I. M. Pei & Partners; and Pennzoil Place (1976, Houston, Texas) by Philip Johnson and John Burgee.

High-rises and skyscrapers enhanced another trend in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s: urban renewal. The strategy behind urban renewal was the replacement of run-down housing and shabby retail areas with new office buildings, shopping areas, and townhouse and apartment complexes. But in the process, urban renewal destroyed small-scale urban housing and retail districts and moved low-income residents out of the inner city. City planners, politicians, and architects achieved the pristine sidewalks and cityscapes they sought, the machine-inspired ideal of Le Corbusier and his followers. But by the 1980s many had begun to realize that cities had lost their street life and with it their sense of community as an unintended consequence of urban renewal.

 

X BEYOND EUROPE AND THE UNITED STATES

 

Adherents of the modern movement were eager to carry their ideas beyond Europe and the United States to other countries. Le Corbusier was especially successful in locating followers and buildings elsewhere in the world, particularly in Brazil and India

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A Brazil

 

 

Le Corbusier's influence in Brazil began in the 1930s, after L?cio Costa, a young Brazilian architect, won a design competition for a major government building, the Ministry of Education and Health (1936-1943) in Rio de Janeiro. Costa insisted on sharing this commission with other architects who had not won, and invited Le Corbusier to serve as a consultant on the project. The result of Le Corbusier's visit of less than a month was a high-rise design based on his principles and a coterie of followers dedicated to his ideas.

Corbusian design became part of a movement already underway to modernize Brazilian design by purging it of traces of its past as a Portuguese colony and by discovering, or inventing, a national architecture. A number of European architects who had immigrated to Brazil in the 1920s became influential teachers and helped spread modern architectural ideas. An exhibition of Brazilian architecture held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City in 1943 celebrated the International Style accomplishments of this diverse group, which included Costa, Oscar Niemeyer, and Roberto Burle Marx.

The most prominent work of these architects was built in Rio de Janeiro, but in the 1950s Brazilian architects had an opportunity to showcase their designs in an entirely new capital city to be built in the center of Brazil. Planned by Costa and filled with buildings by Niemeyer, the city of Brasilia was a lavish testimony to Le Corbusier's principles of modern architecture and planning. Costa divided residential zones by class, designated a monumental government and business center, and designed mammoth streets dedicated to the expeditious movement of the automobile. The grim unfriendliness of Brasilia's urban spaces became apparent, however, as residents tried to adjust to them, and Brasilia thus provided an eloquent demonstration of the deficiencies of this planning ideal

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B India

 

 

As a British colony, India had absorbed British architectural styles. From 1912 to 1931 British architects Sir Edwin Landseer Lutyens and Sir Herbert Baker were responsible for the construction of New Delhi as Britain's new imperial capital of India. The challenge they faced was to produce an architecture that successfully combined local traditions with a statement of colonial power. New Delhi's urban plan, with its emphasis on wide, straight roadways radiating like the spokes of a wheel from major imperial landmarks, was a direct expression of British control. But Lutyens's design for the Viceroy's House (1912-1931), though inspired by neoclassicism, also paid homage to Delhi's Mughal architecture in its use of red and yellow sandstone, its dome, and in other details.

Following India's independence in 1947, the new nation prepared to assert itself as a modern country. The Indian state of Punjab chose Le Corbusier and a handful of other internationally famous European architects to design its new capital city of Chand?garh. Unlike Lutyens's design, Corbusier's modernist designs for the Secretariat (1952-1956), Palace of the Assembly (1953-1963), and other government buildings have no Indian inflections. Huge distances separate buildings and the small-scale amenities that make city life appealing are missing. As a result, the only sign of life on the streets has been the automobile

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C Japan

 

 

In Japan, an era of massive industrialization after World War II (1939-1945) brought the first successful fusion of Japanese and modernist traditions. Exemplifying this approach is the Prefecture of Kagawa (1955-1958), an office building in the city of Takamatsu by Japanese architect Kenz? Tange. Its lightweight appearance, achieved through imitation of traditional Japanese post-and-beam construction, belies its concrete structure.

During the 1960s Tange, and later Fumiko Maki, led a distinctly Japanese movement in modern architecture called metabolism. Fascinated by high technology and mass production, the metabolists produced fanciful drawings for cities that seemed to come from science fiction. They envisioned huge structures with movable modules for living, some floating on water, some rising as skyscrapers. Also during the 1960s a similar group in England called Archigram was led by architects Peter Cook, Ron Herron, and others. Archigram's futuristic proposals expressed hope about the power of technology to transform and improve the world. Both movements enjoyed enormous success as publicity ventures but produced few actual buildings. Fascination with the image of high technology lived on after Archigram's end in the early 1970s, in the work of English architect Richard Rogers. It can be seen in his Lloyd's Building in London (1986) and in the Pompidou Center in Paris (1971-1977), designed in collaboration with Italian architect Renzo Piano. The Pompidou Center made visible pipes, ducts, escalators, and other utilities

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