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Picture Dictionary of Modern Architecture

Modern Ideas in Building Design
From Jackie Craven,

Modernism wasn't just another style. It presented a new way of thinking about architecture. These photos illustrate Modernist, Post-modernist, and other 20th century approaches to building design. As you view the images, you'll notice that 20th century architects often drew on several design philosophies to create buildings that are startling and unique. Click on the pictures below to begin your architectural journey. The Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University is a Modernist building by I.M. Pei.

I.M. Pei, Architect - Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University Photo © Jackie Craven

Modernist architecture emphasizes function. It attempts to provide for specific needs rather than imitate nature. The roots of Modernism may be found in the work of Berthold Luberkin (1901-1990), a Russian architect who settled in London and founded a group called Tecton. The Tecton architects

Key features of Expressionism are:        distorted shapes fragmented lines organic or biomorphic forms massive sculpted shapes extensive use of concrete and brick lack of symmetry many fanciful works rendered on paper but never built . Pei Le Corbusier Philip Johnson Mies van der Rohe In the later decades of the twentieth century. Their stark buildings ran counter to expectations and often seemed to defy gravity. including:       Structuralism Formalism Bauhaus The International Style Brutalism Minimalism Modernist architecture has these features:      Little or no ornamentation Factory-made parts Man-made materials such as metal and concrete Emphasis on function Rebellion against traditional styles For examples of Modernism in architecture. Examples of post modern architecture include:     Postmodernism High Tech Organic Deconstructivism Expressionism and Neo-expressionism Expressionism evolved from the work of avant garde artists and designers in Germany and other European countries during the first decades of the twentieth century. designers rebelled against the rational Modernism and a variety of post modern styles evolved. Modernist architecture can express a number of stylistic ideas.M. see works by:      Rem Koolhaas I. analytical methods to design.believed in applying scientific.

the Einstein Tower (Einsteinturm) in Potsdam is an Expressionist work by architect Erich Mendelsohn. Architects in the 1950s and 1960s designed buildings that expressed their feelings about the surrounding landscape. The Einstein Tower (Einsteinturm) in Potsdam is an Expressionist work by architect Erich Mendelsohn. 1920 Photo: Creative Commons by Doris Antony Expressionist and Neo-expressionist Architects        Gunther Domenig Hans Scharoun Rudolf Steiner Bruno Taut Erich Mendelsohn Walter Gropius (early works) Eero Saarinen . Built in 1920. Organic and Brutalist architecture can often be described as Neo-expressionist. Sculptural forms suggested rocks and mountains.Neo-expressionism built upon expressionist ideas.

Toward the end of the 20th century. Connecticut.     Yale Center for British Art. for Bauhaus and other early Fuctionalists. the term Functionalism was used to describe any practical structure that was quickly constructed for purely practical purposes without an eye for artistry. Louis Kahn. the concept was a liberating philosophy that freed architecture from frilly excesses of the past. Functionalist architects believed that the ways buildings are used and the types of materials available should determine the design.Functionalism Architect Louis I. Kahn. architect Photo © Jackie Craven    When American architect Louis Sullivan coined the phrase "form follows function. Of course. Kahn sought honest approaches to design when he designed the Functionalist Yale Center for British Art in in New Haven. Designed by Louis I. The philosophy of functionalism was followed more closely by Bauhaus and International Style architects." he described what later became a dominant trend in Modernist architecture. . Louis Sullivan and other architects were striving for "honest" approaches to building design that focused on functional efficiency. Louis Sullivan lavished his buildings with ornamental details that did not serve any functional purpose. Connecticut is an example of Functionalism in architecture. the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven. However.

Formalism emphasizes form. a Structuralist design may consist of cell-like honeycomb shapes. or densely clustered spaces with connecting courtyards. As the name suggests. For example. old/young. cubed grids. Shape. Berlin Holocaust Memorial by Peter Eisenman Photo (cc) cactusbones/Flickr. . Architect I. design is a process of searching for the relationship between elements. etc. Pei has often been praised for the "elegant formalism" of his Structuralism is based on the idea that all things are built from a system of signs and these signs are made up of opposites: male/female. Structuralist architecture will have a great deal of complexity within a highly structured framework. You will find Formalism in many Modernist buildings. especially in Bauhaus and International Style architecture. is the focus of attention. Structuralists are also interested in the social structures and mental processes that contributed to the design. intersecting planes.M. The architect is interested in visual relationships between the building parts and the work as a whole. Architect Peter Eisenman often brings a Structuralist approach to his works. Lines and rigid geometric shapes predominate in Formalist architecture. Formalism Architect I.M. often on a monumental scale. Pei has been praised for the "elegant formalism" of his Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong. hot/cold.Structuralism The Berlin Holocaust Memorial is a controversial Structuralist work by architect Peter Eisenman. For Structuralists.

Steel. and beams. 1990. girders. Many of the building parts are prefabricated in a factory and assembled later. revealing its inner workings on the exterior facade.The Bank of China Tower. High-tech Architects: 1) (Richard Rogers 2) Norman Foster . and other functional elements are placed on the exterior of the building. The support beams. duct work. and glass combine with brightly colored braces. The interior spaces are open and adaptable for many uses. by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Ieoh Ming Pei Photo courtesy the Pritzker Prize Committee High-tech High-tech buildings are often called machine-like. aluminium. where they become the focus of attention. The High-tech Centre Pompidou in Paris appears to be turned inside out.

Renzo Piano. Photo by Katsuhisa Kida. and Gianfranco Franchini.Centre Pompidou in France by by Richard Rogers. Massachusetts Photo © Jackie Craven . Courtesy Richard Rogers Partnership The Bauhaus Gropius House in Lincoln.

and cubic shapes. the economy in Germany was collapsing after a crushing war. The Bauhaus school disbanded when the Nazis rose to power. Bauhaus is a German expression meaning house for building. Germany Furniture by Bauhaus Architects Bauhaus Architects      Walter Gropius Le Corbusier Richard Neutra Philip Johnson Mies van der Rohe More Information:    The International Style The Art Moderne House Style Bauhaus Chronology . Massachusetts. or black. and other Bauhaus leaders migrated to the United States. Architect Walter Gropius was appointed to head a new institution that would help rebuild the country and form a new social order. beige. Bauhaus buildings have flat roofs. smooth facades. In 1919. Bauhaus architects rejected "bourgeois" details such as cornices. Floor plans are open and furniture is functional. The term International Style was applied to the American form of Bauhaus architecture.Bauhaus Architect Walter Gropius used Bauhaus ideas when he built his monochrome home in Lincoln. gray. Called the Bauhaus. and decorative details. They wanted to use principles of Classical architecture in their most pure form: without ornamentation of any kind. See examples of Bauhaus and the International Style:           The Seagram Building The Gropius House The Farnsworth House Philip Johnson's Glass House The Transco Building by Philip Johnson United Nations Headquarters by Le Corbusier The Miller House by Richard Neutra The Lovell House by Richard Neutra The Bauhaus Building in Dessau. the Institution called for a new "rational" social housing for the workers. Walter Gropius. eaves. Colors are white. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

Brutalist architecture has these features:     Precast concrete slabs Rough. Brutalism grew out of the International Style.International Style Le Corbusier's United Nations Secretariat building in New York is a famous example of the International Style. One of the most famous examples of the International Style is the United Nations Secretariat building. economical concrete buildings in Brazil. but the designs may strike you as less refined. who designed stark. and is also found in upscale homes built for the rich. The term Brutalism was first used in the early 1950s to describe the simple concrete buildings designed by Le Corbusier. unfinished surfaces Exposed steel beams Massive. The term is again used in a later book. The smooth glass-sided slab dominates New York's skyline along the East River. Le Corbusier's United Nations Secretariat building over-looks the New York City skyline along the East River. America's International Style became a symbolism of Capitalism: The International Style is the favored architecture for office buildings. sculptural shapes . Stark and angular. Brutalist buildings can be constructed quickly and economically. While German Bauhaus architecture had been concerned with the social aspects of design. Photo: ArtToday. The United Nations Secretariat building was completed in 1952. Brutalism Brutalism was a guiding principle for Paulo Mendes da Rocha. designed by the Bauhaus architect Le Corbusier. International Architecture. The book was published in 1932 in conjunction with an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New International Style is a term often used to describe Bauhaus architecture in the United States. by Walter Gropius. The name came from the book The International Style by historian and critic Henry-Russell Hitchcock and architect Philip Johnson.

The Minimalist Luis Barragan House. Photo by Salas Portugal. courtesy of the Pritzker Prize Committee . Brazil. This building is a classic example of the Pritzker Prize Laureate's use of texture. or Casa de Luis Barragán. The Paulo Mendes da Rocha Residence in São Paulo. Shown here is his home in São Paulo. and diffused light. bright colors. was the home and studio of Mexican architect Luis Barragán. Brazil by Paulo Mendes da Rocha.The Prizker Prize-winning architect Paulo Mendes da Rocha is often called a "Brazilian Brutalist" because his buildings are constructed of prefabricated and mass-produced concrete components. 2006 Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate Photo © Annette Spiro Minimalism The Minimalist home of Mexican architect Luis Barragán is reduced to dramatically lit lines and planes.

One important trend in Modernist architecture is the movement toward minimalist or reductivist design. Valuing simplicity and abstraction. planes. or frame." Minimalist architects drew much of their inspiration from the elegant simplicity of traditional Japanese architecture. Hallmarks of Minimalism include:       Buildings are stripped of all but the most essential elements Emphasis is placed on the outline. Architects known for Minimalist designs include:     Tadao Ando Luis Barragan Yoshio Taniguchi Richard Gluckman Deconstructivism The new main central branch of the Seattle Public Library was designed by the Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas and opened in 2004. of the struture Interior walls are eliminated Floor plans are open Lighting is used to dramatize lines and planes The negative spaces around the structure are part of the overall design Modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe paved the way for Minimalism when he said. De Stijl artists used only straight lines and rectangular shapes. Photo ©2005 Niko Vujevic / iStockphoto . The Mexico City home of the Pritzker Prize-winning architect Luis Barragán is Minimalist in its emphasis on lines. and open spaces. "Less is more. Minimalists were also inspired by a movement of early twentieth century Dutch artists known as De Stijl.

architects could create swooping arches without visible beams or pillars. The basic elements of architecture are dismantled. wavy lines and curved shapes suggest natural forms.Deconstructivism. winner of the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2003 Photo by David Messent. is an approach to building design that attempts to view architecture in bits and pieces. and the Art Nouveau architects of the early twentieth century incorporated curving. For examples of Deconstructivism in architecture. or Deconstruction. Instead. designed by Jørn Utzon. the Sydney Opera House in Australia is an example of Organic architecture. The Sydney Opera House. look at works by:     Peter Eisenman Frank Gehry Richard Meier Rem Koolhaas Organic Architecture Designed by Jorn Utzon. But in the later half of the twentieth century. Deconstructive ideas are borrowed from the French philosopher Jacques Derrida. Deconstructivist buildings may seem to have no visual logic. Modernist architects took the concept of organic architecture to new heights. plant-like shapes into their designs. courtesy of Jørn Utzon/Utzon Architects and the Pritzker Prize Committee Frank Lloyd Wright said that all architecture is organic. . They may appear to be made up of unrelated. Organic buildings are never linear or rigidly geometric. By using new forms of concrete and cantilever trusses. disharmonious abstract forms.

postmodernist buildings may startle. yet contradicts many of the modernist ideas. Architect Jorn Utzon borrowed shell-like forms for the Sydney Opera House in Australia. Familiar shapes and details are used in unexpected ways.C. Buildings may incorporate symbols to make a statement or simply to delight the viewer. surprise. Combining new ideas with traditional forms. Guggenheim Museum in New York City Artist and architectural designer used ocean motifs when he designed Sea Ranch Chapel in Gualala.Examples of Organic Modernism:     Frank Lloyd Wright used shell-like spiral forms when he designed the Solomon R. Flickr Creative Commons Postmodern architecture evolved from the modernist movement. Photo by Dan McKay. California Architect Eero Saarinen is known for designing grand bird-like buildings such as the TWA terminal at New York's Kennedy Airport and Dulles Airport near Washington D. Postmodernism Philip Johnson's At&T Headquarters (now the SONY Building) is often cited as an example of postmodernism. . and even amuse.

the skyscraper has a sleek.Philip Johnson's At&T Headquarters is often cited as an example of postmodernism. is an oversized "Chippendale" pediment. the book was written by Robert Venturi. The key ideas of Postmodernism are set forth in two important books by Robert Venturi: Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture and Learning from Las Vegas. At the top. Like many buildings in the International Style. . Postmodern Architects:    Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown Michael Graves Philip Johnson Further Reading: Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture In this groundbreaking book. Steven Izenour. classical facade. Published in 1972. however. published in 1966. and Denise Scott Brown. Robert Venturi challenged modernism and celebrated the mix of historic styles in great cities such as Rome." this postmodernist classic called the "vulgar billboards" of the Vegas Strip emblems for a new architecture. Learning from Las Vegas Subtitled "The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form.