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C Prairie Houses


Soaring office towers represented a totally new building type in the history of architecture. Another entirely new American building type was the suburban, detached single-family residence. This building type became the focus of attention of Frank Lloyd Wright, who from 1897 to 1912 built houses in several suburbs rising up around Chicago. During those years Wright analyzed the needs of the American family and designed a new kind of house adapted to those evolving needs and to the flat landscape of the Midwest. Wright's new design, called the prairie house, had distinctive, long horizontal lines and planes on the outside. Inside, extended interconnected spaces, especially in public areas such as the dining and living rooms, distinguished the prairie house. In his open plans, a series of spaces extended from a central mass that housed the fireplace. Wright's approach to design was closely associated with that of the Arts and Crafts movement, in which the architect designed not only the house but also the interior detailing, furniture, lighting fixtures, and even doorknobs, hinges, and other hardware. Wright's prairie house style is well illustrated by the Ward Willitts house (1900-1902) in Highland Park, north of Chicago, and even better by the Frederick C. Robie house (1906-1909), on the south side of Chicago. A number of Wright's associates (mostly former office assistants) extended his prairie style in Chicago suburbs and in other Midwestern states, forming what became known as the Prairie School

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D The Columbian Exposition and Its Influence



Many architects and civic leaders at the end of the 19th century found the new office skyscrapers individually impressive, but not designed with any consideration for one another or for the city as a whole. Rather than being planned as integrated ensembles, cities seemed simply to happen by accident. This situation changed after the Columbian Exposition, a world's fair held in Chicago to mark the 400th anniversary of the arrival of explorer Christopher Columbus in the Western Hemisphere. Scheduled for 1892, the fair was delayed for a year by organization problems. Landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted and Burnham planned the Columbian Exposition as an example of how to design several buildings and the open spaces around them to form a cohesive group. They also integrated water from Lake Michigan as an important part of the design in the form of lagoons. For the sake of unity, all the architects involved in designing the major buildings for the fair agreed to use a classical Roman style, because it was the one style in which they had all been trained.

This choice of style inaugurated a wave of large-scale classical public buildings—such as city halls, art museums, and public libraries—and for a time this impeded the development of a distinctly American form of public building. However, the fair's design also influenced hundreds of cities across the nation to hire urban planners or to set up permanent urban planning boards or committees to make sure that growth was not only sensible and systematic, but also resulted in beautiful buildings, parks, and urban spaces. This nationwide activity became known as the City Beautiful movement and lasted from 1893 to the onset of the Great Depression of the 1930s.

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From 1910 on, a small group of architects in Europe had developed an extremely lean and functionally efficient architecture, stripped of virtually all ornament. This austere architecture had limited appeal in the United States, although a few architects in New York, Chicago, and the Los Angeles area independently developed their own versions of such a modern architecture. Best known among these are Irving Gill, Rudolph Schindler, and Richard Neutra, all of whom worked in southern California. European-inspired modernism made its first appearance in the United States in the Philadelphia Savings Fund Society (PSFS) building (1929-1932) in Philadelphia. Its design was prepared by George Howe, an American architect, and by William Lescaze, an architect born and trained in Switzerland. The building's lack of historical ornament, its smooth and polished stone surfaces, and its large planes of glass closely link it with the European modern movement, as do its upper offices in a tall, flat-topped slab with bands of windows. The first modern European movement to have a wide influence in America was art deco, with its simplified shapes and geometric ornament. But American architects did not fully embrace European modernism until after World War II (1939-1945), when architects who had emigrated from Germany introduced it in the United States

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A Historicism



The 20 or so years following World War I (1914-1918) brought not only a renewed use of historical precedent in residential, business, and governmental architecture, but also a determined search for a clearly modern architecture. For governmental buildings, architects and government officials felt that classical architecture was particularly appropriate. The Supreme Court Building (1933-1935) designed by Cass Gilbert in Washington, D.C., provides a good example. From a distance, its inspiration from a classical temple is obvious. At close range, however, the building's sculpture in particular shows a degree of simplification and abstraction that connects it with art deco modernism of the time.

In the suburbs, which continued to expand rapidly with the rise of private ownership of automobiles, residences were built in historic styles that carried with them the romance of the past, such as colonial revival, late medieval Tudor, and Mediterranean. The best of these houses were designed by trained architects. Such houses exhibited a sure knowledge of architectural history in their accurate details, while at the same time satisfying modern living requirements. The various rooms might be in historic styles different from that used for the exterior, but seldom were historic periods mixed in any single room. These historically based residences are called period houses.

Another new building type that arose after World War I exploited historical references to the utmost: large motion-picture palaces. Just as the movies evoked emotions through an illusionistic medium, so too the movie palaces exploited elaborate ornamentation, designed to give the illusion of France or Spain in the glorious past, or of less familiar locales such as China, Maya Mexico, or ancient Egypt. (Egypt became especially popular after the discovery of the tomb of Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun in 1922.) Some large movie houses, known as atmospheric theaters, had auditoriums designed to resemble town squares, with walls presenting a series of building facades and a smooth plaster vault painted blue to suggest open sky. Even office skyscrapers continued to have designs based on historical styles into the 1920s. A competition for a new office tower for the Chicago Tribune newspaper, held in 1922, demonstrated dramatically the continued appeal of such designs. Most of the 270 entries to the competition, which came in from around the world, were executed in historically based styles, although some, primarily from Europe, were dramatically modern in style. The conservative jury selected a Gothic design from the firm of Howells & Hood, which drew its inspiration from a late Gothic tower added to the Rouen Cathedral in France in 1485.

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B Early European Modernism and Art Deco



European architectural developments did have an impact on American architecture, and no development more so than a small international exposition held in Paris in 1925 devoted to the decorative arts. This exposition immediately influenced many American patrons and architects who desired to create a modern design that was not so austere or lacking in ornament as the modernism developed by the Bauhaus school in Germany or by Le Corbusier in France. The modernism that stemmed from the Paris exposition quickly came to be called art deco in a shortened version of the exposition's name, Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exposition of Modern Industrial and Decorative Arts). It was a modernism that was not too modern and that incorporated elegant materials, including new materials such as aluminum, stainless steel, and early plastics. Art deco used a great deal of ornament with stylistic motifs such as zigzags and multiple curved forms. Its bold linear or flat geometric patterns were accentuated by strong color contrasts. In the 1930s, art deco detailing became somewhat less exaggerated and shifted toward linear continuity and smooth rounded surfaces in a style that came to be called streamlined moderne.

In the ever-larger office skyscrapers of the 1920s, American architects moved from historic detailing to more original and abstract art deco detailing. Skyscrapers in the art deco style had a soaring shaft with office space, upper floors that were set back from the floors below, and at the top additional setbacks that created a pyramid or spire in a final flourish. (Building and zoning ordinances in many American cities required setbacks of upper floors to allow light and air to reach the streets.) The best example of art deco style is the Chrysler Building (1928-1930) in New York City, by William Van Alen. A race to build the tallest skyscraper also characterized the late 1920s and early 1930s. The Chrysler Building briefly held the record, with 77 floors and a needlelike spire that reached 319 m (1,046 feet). The Empire State Building, completed in 1931, almost immediately broke that record. Designed by architects Shreve, Lamb & Harmon, with engineers H. C. Balcom and Associates, the Empire State Building has 102 stories and a dramatic art deco spire that soars to a height of 381 m (1,250 ft). The Empire State Building's record height remained unsurpassed for nearly 40 years.

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C The International Style



The center of modern architecture in Europe was the Bauhaus, a design school in Germany established in 1919 by architect Walter Gropius. Located first in Weimar, the Bauhaus moved to Dessau in 1925. Gropius resigned the directorship in 1928 and left Germany in 1934, after Adolf Hitler became Germany's leader. Architect Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe assumed the directorship of the Bauhaus from 1930 until the Nazi regime disbanded it in 1933. In 1932 an exhibition held at the new Museum of Modern Art in New York featured the work of Gropius and other European architects who had defined the modernist design philosophy, including Mies, J. J. P. Oud, and Le Corbusier. The organizers of the exhibition, museum curator Philip Johnson and architectural historian Henry-Russell Hitchcock, prepared a small book to accompany it. Both the book and the exhibition were entitled The International Style: Architecture Since 1922, and they introduced the American public to the new European approach to design. Although the initial public reaction to the International Style was not overly enthusiastic, the power of Johnson and Hitchcock's arguments in its favor gradually gained it broader acceptance. In the book they defined International Style modernism, discussing its rejection of historical styles and applied ornament and its emphasis on pure utilitarian functionalism. International Style architects, they noted, favored enclosed spatial volumes over opaque enclosing materials, smooth industrial finishes (especially metals and glass), and open, nonsymmetrical plans without any dominant axis.

Frank Lloyd Wright's prairie style work, published in Germany in 1911, had exerted a strong influence on the French and German architects who developed the International Style. Their modernism, in turn, influenced Wright himself, as demonstrated in portions of his best-known building, Fallingwater (1935-1938), located near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Wright had received far fewer commissions in the late 1920s and early 1930s than he had in the first years of the century, in part because of the Depression. Fallingwater, a private weekend house built for Pittsburgh department-store magnate Edgar Kaufmann, reestablished Wright as a major American architect. Wright positioned the house directly over a stream, giving rise to the house's name, and on a spot used by Kaufmann and his family to view a lush rhododendron forest. To merge the house with its landscape, Wright used rough limestone and created strongly horizontal wings that appear to extend from the rocky ledges of the site. Like houses in the International Style, Fallingwater lacks conventional interior walls, although stone piers enclose the kitchen. The arrangement of Fallingwater's rough limestone vertical piers and smooth concrete horizontal planes in a somewhat abstract composition also shows the influence of the International Style

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D Form Follows Function, 1950 to 1970



In disfavor with the Nazi regime, Mies Van der Rohe received little work in Germany and hence was receptive to an invitation by Philip Johnson to come to the United States. Mies arrived in 1937 in Chicago, where he headed the department of architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology and served as chief planner and designer of the school's new campus. When World War II ended in 1945, Mies began to receive other commissions. He applied the principles of International Style modernism in the design of a pair of apartment towers (1948-1951) on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago. These towers were among the earliest American apartment buildings in this style. The walls are of glass, divided into bays by thin steel columns that express the structure of the building, although they have no structural function. Mies conceived of his designs as universal and adaptable to a wide range of uses, including apartments, office towers, and governmental buildings. This feature of the International Style, in which one form serves multiple functions, has been summed up as “form follows function.”

The ideas Mies had pioneered in Germany lay behind the thinking of the group of international architects who designed the headquarters of the United Nations (UN) in New York in the late 1940s, although Mies was not part of the design committee. Drawing from a sketch by Le Corbusier, the panel of architects placed the many offices of the UN Secretariat in a tall, glass-sided slab; the auditorium in a curved, low structure; and other semipublic facilities of the UN in a low block with a glass exterior. New York architects Wallace K. Harrison and Max Abramovitz supervised the construction of the buildings.

The honor of first American office tower fully enclosed in glass belongs to the Equitable Savings and Loan Building (1944-1948, originally the Commonwealth Building) in Portland, Oregon, designed by Italian-born American architect Pietro Belluschi. This building used a reinforced concrete frame, sheathed in a skin of aluminum and green-tinted glass, and employed heat pumps as a new energy-efficient means for both heating and cooling the sealed structure.

Mies, working with Philip Johnson (by then an architect), achieved the purest expression of the International Style applied to an American corporate office tower in the elegant Seagram Building (1954-1958) in New York City. To produce a pure form for this prestigious commission and Park Avenue site, the architects used the simplest possible slab shape and sheathed the steel structure in elegantly detailed sections of bronze and floor-to-ceiling panels of bronze-tinted glass

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E Form Follows Form, 1950-1970



International Style purists sought to create universal prototypes for buildings that looked extremely simple in structure and that were capable of serving different functions. Many other architects, by contrast, emphasized the uniqueness and individuality of their buildings. This emphasis, in which buildings were conceived as sculptural forms, was later described as “form follows form.” Wright, for example, deviated from all previous museum plans in his design for the Guggenheim Museum (1956-1959) in New York City. To house the Guggenheim collection of modern art, Wright devised a spacious building consisting of a ramp that spirals upward and outward around a soaring central space covered with a domed skylight. Although Wright designed the building from 1943 to 1945, his design posed a number of construction problems that accounted in part for a delay of more than ten years in building the museum.

Another design that ran counter to the universal approach of the International Style was the Gateway Arch (1959-1965), the most visible portion of the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial on the west bank of the Mississippi River in St. Louis, Missouri. Finnish American architect Eero Saarinen submitted the winning design in a competition held in 1947 and 1948; the memorial project itself had been conceived in 1934 and the land for it cleared in the early 1940s. Saarinen's dramatic arch follows the line of the structurally efficient and visually appealing catenary curve (the curve of a rope or chain that hangs from two points). Rising 192 m (630 ft), the height of the arch equals the span at its base. The arch is a hollow triangle in cross-section, tapering in width from 16 m (54 ft) at the base to 5 m (17 ft) at the top. The stainless steel outer surface has an inner lining of heavily reinforced concrete. Seat capsules ascend on rails inside the hollow arch to observation windows at the top. Few structures create such a memorable, monumental impression, either in sheer size or dramatic form.

Saarinen designed his other, equally memorable, buildings in accordance with their individual functions. They range from his cylindrical Kresge Chapel at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1955) in Cambridge to the sweeping curves of his TWA Terminal at the John F. Kennedy Airport (1956-1962) in New York City and his Washington Dulles International Airport (1958- 1962) outside Washington, D.C. His last building, the North Christian Church (1959-1963) in Columbus, Indiana, is memorable for its plan and for a sharply pointed spire that rises from the center of the roof.


Architect Louis I. Kahn of Philadelphia achieved a middle ground in the 1960s and early 1970s between the monumental symbolism of Saarinen and the utilitarian functionalism of Mies. Kahn sought to let function determine the form of a building, but he also sought to give his building a distinctive psychological character. He said a building should appear to say to the observer, “Let me show you how I was made.” In addition to revealing structural elements, Kahn believed it essential that a building provide natural light to all spaces and connect the occupants to the rhythm of the Sun. Buildings that show Kahn's fusion of functional clarity and symbolic communication include the Richards Medical Research Building (1957-1960) at the University of Pennsylvania; the First Unitarian Church (1959-1969) in Rochester, New York; the completed portion of his Salk Institute for Biological Studies (1959-1965) in La Jolla, California; and the Kimbell Art Museum (1966-1972) in Fort Worth, Texas. One of the most unusual commissions Kahn received was for the Parliament Building of Bangladesh (1962-1983) in Dhaka. This plain concrete building focuses on the assembly chamber at its center. A corridor and committee rooms surround the assembly chamber, with offices and public spaces situated farthest from the center. Kahn placed a mosque on the building's west side, slightly angled toward Mecca, because he recognized the important link between political action and religious belief in Bangladesh. Kahn described the building as “a many-faceted precious stone, constructed in concrete and marble.” Its outer concrete walls appear light because the geometrical openings cut into them cast dark shadows

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Two opposing design approaches mark the years following 1970. One approach continued International Style modernism on an even larger scale, in heroic, varied, and expressionistic buildings. The other approach reacted against the lack of symbolic imagery in such modernism by incorporating historical detailing and references to vernacular architecture while retaining some of the principles of modernism. The latter approach, sometimes known as postmodernism, appealed to the general public more than the abstract mechanical quality of the International Style had

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A International Modernism Revisited



The shift to a larger, almost antihuman scale began with giant skyscrapers built from 1965 to 1975 that successively claimed to be the world's tallest building. The first to claim the distinction was the 100-story John Hancock Center in Chicago (1965-1970) with a height of 344 m (1,127 ft). (Although the height given above for the Empire State Building is greater, it includes the spire.) The twin World Trade Center towers (1966-1973) in New York City followed with heights of 417 m (1,368 ft) and 415 m (1,362 ft). The Sears Tower in Chicago (1968-1974) next claimed the record at 442 m (1,450 ft). (The World Trade Center towers collapsed in 2001 after a terrorist attack.)


As the 20th century ended, the quest to build the world's tallest building shifted to Europe and Southeast Asia, and experience in skyscraper design made American architects especially desirable for these projects. The twin Petronas Towers (1996) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, held the record until the year 2003. Designed by Cesar Pelli, these soaring, tapered towers of metal and glass rise to 452 m (1,483 ft). The architectural firm of C. Y. Lee & Partners surpassed the Petronas Towers in 2003 with Taipei 101, a skyscraper in Taiwan that rises 509 m (1,671 ft). The building takes its name from its 101 stories. As Taipei 101 neared completion, architects were preparing for even taller projects.

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B Postmodernism



Postmodern architecture ranges from work that closely resembles the International Style, with its elimination of traditional ornament, to work that is rigorously based on ancient or Renaissance prototypes. Individual postmodern architects have not limited themselves to a single style, however. From the early 1970s onward, postmodernist Richard Meier developed a crystalline geometric architecture clad in white metal. Although his early buildings resemble those of Le Corbusier from the 1920s, Meier later transformed this look into a style uniquely his own. Meier's High Museum of Art (1980-1983) in Atlanta, Georgia, shows the dynamic contrast he created between curved shapes and crisp rectilinear lines or forms. Meier received a number of commissions for art museums after the High Museum, culminating in five buildings that make up the Getty Center for the Arts and Humanities (1984-1996) in Los Angeles, California. A generous budget enabled Meier to clad these buildings in square panels of tawny-colored travertine stone and matching panels of enameled aluminum.

Another architect who retained important aspects of International Style modernism is I. M. Pei. Born in China, Pei began working in the United States in the mid-1930s and became a U.S. citizen in 1954. His design for the East Wing of the National Gallery (1968-1978) in Washington, D.C., uses simple oblique masses that reflect the diagonals of Washington's street plan. Pei clad the walls of the East Wing in the same marble used decades earlier for the National Gallery's classical-revival main building, and he placed a large, glass-covered atrium at the East Wing's center. For the Louvre Museum in Paris, Pei designed a large, transparent pyramid entrance (1982-1989), using an open-grid frame of metal covered entirely in glass. The structure and materials are decidedly modern, but the pyramid form refers to the Egyptian art in the Louvre and to the important role France and French emperor Napoleon I played in making Egypt a subject of study in the early 1800s.


Chicago architect Helmut Jahn used large-scale forms of late modernism and emphasized and exploited the artistic effects of metal structural framing and colored glass sheathing. These interests are clearly apparent in his design for the United Airlines Terminal (1983-1987) at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport.

In contrast to these postmodern extensions of International Style modernism are various forms of postmodern architecture that employ historically based forms and details. Architects Robert Venturi and Charles Moore introduced the first variant, referring to historical architecture in their early work in ways that were witty and ironic. Venturi's humorous manipulations are evident in the house he designed for his mother, the Vanna Venturi house (completed 1964) in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, especially in its references to a classical broken pediment and its incorporation of moldings across the facade. More obvious in its irony is Moore's Piazza d'Italia (1975-1978), commissioned by an Italian American association in New Orleans, Louisiana. Moore used elements inspired by Roman classicism, both ancient and Renaissance, but changed their materials, forming his Ionic column capitals, for example, from spirals of bright stainless steel. Architect Robert Stern termed this variant of postmodernism ironic classicism.

Postmodern architects also played with the size and scale of classical forms and details, to puzzle and amuse the observer. The first major American public building to employ this postmodern irony was the Portland Building (1978-1984), an office building for the city of Portland, Oregon, designed by Michael Graves. Graves had previously focused on residences, and the Portland Building was his first important public commission. Numerous commissions for public buildings followed. Also in the late 1970s Philip Johnson, once the champion of International Style modernism, became the champion of postmodernism and its celebration of ornament. He declared his embrace of postmodernism in a highly visible way in the AT&T Building (1979-1984, now the Sony Building) in New York City. Johnson clad the building in pinkish-brown granite panels instead of in glass, and he created for the top an enormous parody of a Chippendale highboy chest with its triangular pediment broken by a huge circular notch.

Other variants of postmodernism include latent classicism and archaeological (or canonic) classicism. Latent classicism applies an abstract geometrical form to buildings, and any classical references it makes are less obvious than those of many postmodern buildings. This variant can be seen in the General Foods Corporation Headquarters (1977-1983) in Rye, New York, by the firm of Kevin Roche, John Dinkeloo and Associates. Archaeological classicism occupies the other end of the scale. In this variant, architects copy classical forms and details exactly, even creating reproductions of ancient or Renaissance buildings. An early example of this style was the original Getty Museum (1970-1975) in Malibu, California, which reproduced an ancient Roman villa built outside Pompeii and buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in ad 79. The firm of Langdon & Wilson, with Norman Neuerberg as historical consultant, designed the museum. Later on, architect Allan Greenberg of Washington, D.C., used traditional classical elements, whether Roman or Greek in origin, in more subtle and creative ways. By the late 1980s and 1990s the dominant variant of postmodernism adapted traditional architectural details in wholly original compositions, without the awkwardness and oddities of ironic postmodernism. Stern called this variant creative postmodernism, or modern traditionalism. Venturi, Moore, and Graves all moved in this direction, joining other architects such as Graham Gund, Thomas Beeby, and Stern. A representative example of this design approach is Stern's Observatory Hill Dining Hall (1982-1984) at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. The dining hall combines red brick, white wood trim, and Tuscan Doric columns, referring to the adjoining buildings by Thomas Jefferson, but employs modern building forms and walls with large windows

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C Deconstructivism



Borrowing the term deconstruction and aspects of its meaning from French literary studies, some architectural theorists developed the idea of deconstruction in architecture in the late 1970s. In theory and in early designs, deconstruction involved the dismantling of architectural elements and the rearrangement of their constituent parts. In these designs architects did not concern themselves with the physical laws of the real world, and most of their early proposals were unbuildable. Later on, actual buildings resulted from some of these ideas, and the architects had to address the realities of construction and the weight of materials. The resulting buildings were typically disjointed in form, and they dramatically contradicted standard conventions of design and construction.


Architect Frank Gehry has enjoyed the playfulness deconstructivism allows. Gehry's designs range from a kind of austere modernism in the early 1970s to increasingly irregular compositions in the late 1980s and 1990s, with colliding angular forms and other unusual juxtapositions. As the geometries of his buildings became more complex and he introduced compound curves, Gehry and his staff relied increasingly on computer-aided design, adapting software developed in France for aircraft design.

The intriguing forms of Gehry's architecture attracted worldwide attention, and he received a commission for the Vitra International furniture assembly plant and museum (1987-1989) in Weil am Rhine, Germany. The museum portion of the building provides a good example of Gehry's use of curving and intersecting volumes and spaces. A second facility for Vitra (1988-1894) near Basel, Switzerland, also incorporates curving forms, with portions covered in sheets of zinc metal. Gehry's approach culminated in his striking design for a branch of the Guggenheim Museum (1991-1997) in Bilbao, Spain. The computer became an integral part of the design and construction process by simultaneously solving design problems, developing construction details, working out structural technologies, and keeping track of building costs. Rare titanium metal came on the market as the Russian government sold its titanium reserves to raise urgently needed funds. As a result, Gehry could acquire this costly metal and have it fashioned into thin sheets to cover the curving surfaces of the Bilbao Guggenheim. The lightweight and reflective titanium surface accentuates the building's sculptural masses, which shimmer in sunlight

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D Urban Planning and the Postmodern City



Mainstream modernism of the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s was concerned primarily with office towers, corporate headquarters, and elegant showpiece houses for the upper economic classes. It showed little concern for humane urban planning or well-designed housing for other groups. Moreover, mainstream modernism was minimalist in style, with its lack of decoration and absence of references to the architectural experiences or preferences of the general public. By 1980 and the appearance of postmodernism, it had become clear that the public understood and appreciated historic references as a visual link to the past. The unchecked sprawl of most American cities had caused people to tire of bland, big-box buildings surrounded by acres of parking lots, of the enormous amount of space devoted to highways, and of the dispersal of everyday services that had once been grouped together within walking distance of home. This sprawl was especially pronounced in the so-called Sun Belt in the Southern tier of states where hundreds of thousands of Americans had migrated. In urban planning, too, a reaction set in.

A small vacation community called Seaside, on the coast of the Florida panhandle between Pensacola and Panama City, demonstrated clearly what a new kind of town planning could offer. The husband-and-wife architectural team of Andres Duany and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk laid out the basic plan of Seaside in the late 1970s. They designed the town to serve as a model of what larger communities could be, with a clear focus on a town center, an emphasis on landscape design, and requirements that buildings be kept low and in scale with the town as a whole. Special emphasis was placed on enabling residents to walk about the town so that they did not have to rely on automobiles. Individual houses and other buildings of Seaside reflected simple local building types adapted to the warm climate and thus not sealed and completely reliant on air conditioning. The architects wanted Seaside residents to be connected with one another and with the natural environment, rather than at the mercy of their machines. Duany and Plater-Zyberk thereafter drew up plans for a number of residential communities following these principles, and other architects and planners followed similar principles in a number of new communities around the United States.

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American architecture at the beginning of the 21st century has avoided the single-style sterility that International Style modernism threatened to impose. Instead it remains open to a myriad of design approaches, suitable to a wide variety of locations, functions, and symbolic messages.

Contributed By:

Leland M. Roth


Design for World Trade Center Site

Polish-born American architect Daniel Libeskind produced this winning design for rebuilding the World Trade Center site in New York City. The twin towers of the trade center collapsed in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Libeskind's design, called Memory Foundations, leaves bare the exposed bedrock at the site while restoring soaring towers to New York City's skyline. AP/Wide World Photos/LMDC

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