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Modern architecture

Contrasts in modern architecture, as shown by adjacent high-rises in Chicago, Illinois. IBM Plaza (right), by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, is a later example of the clean rectilinear lines and glass of the International Style, whereas Marina City, (left), by his student Bertrand Goldberg, reflects a more sculptural Mid-Century Modern aesthetic.

Modern architecture or modernist architecture is a term applied to an overarching movement, with its exact definition and scope varying widely.[1] The term is often applied to modernist movements at the turn of the 20th century, with efforts to reconcile the principles underlying architectural design with rapid technological advancement and the modernization of society. It would take the form of numerous movements, schools of design, and architectural styles, some in tension with one another, and often equally defying such classification.[1] The term Modern architecture may be used to differentiate from Classical architecture following Vitruvian ideals, while it is also applied to various contemporary architecture styles such as Postmodern, High-tech or even New Classical, depending on the context. In art history, the revolutionary and neoclassical styles that evolved around 1800 are also called modern.

The concept of modernism is a central theme in the efforts of 20th century modern architecture. Gaining global popularity especially after the Second World War, architectural modernism was adopted by many architects and architectural educators, and continued as a dominant architectural style for institutional and corporate buildings into the 21st century. Modernism eventually generated reactions, most notably Postmodernism which sought to preserve pre-modern elements, while "Neo-modernism" has emerged as a reaction to Post-modernism.

Notable architects important to the history and development of the modernist movement include Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Erich Mendelsohn, Frank Lloyd Wright, Joseph Eichler, Richard Neutra, Louis Sullivan, Gerrit Rietveld, Bruno Taut, Arne Jacobsen, Oscar Niemeyer and Alvar Aalto.


  • Characteristics 1
  • Context 2
  • Early modernism 3
    • In the United States 3.1
    • In Italy: Futurism 3.2
    • In Soviet Union: Constructivism 3.3
    • In Western Europe 3.4
      • Arts and Crafts movement 3.4.1
      • Expressionism 3.4.2
      • Modernism reaches critical mass 3.4.3
    • Style Moderne: tradition and modernism 3.5
    • Wartime innovation 3.6
  • International Style 4
  • Urban design and mass housing 5
  • Mid-Century reactions 6
    • Brutalism and monumentality 6.1
  • Late 20th-century reactions and movements 7
    • High-tech architecture 7.1
    • Postmodern architecture 7.2
    • Neomodern architecture 7.3
    • Neofuturistic architecture 7.4
    • New Urbanism and New Classical Architecture 7.5
  • Examples of contemporary modern architecture 8
  • Preservation 9
  • See also 10
  • References 11
  • External links 12


The Salk Institute complex in La Jolla, California, by architect Louis Kahn.

Common themes of modern architecture include:

  • the notion that "Form follows function", a dictum originally expressed by Frank Lloyd Wright's early mentor Louis Sullivan, meaning that the result of design should derive directly from its purpose
  • simplicity and clarity of forms and elimination of "unnecessary detail"
  • materials at 90 degrees to each other
  • visual expression of structure (as opposed to the hiding of structural elements)
  • the related concept of "Truth to materials", meaning that the true nature or natural appearance of a material ought to be seen rather than concealed or altered to represent something else
  • use of industrially-produced materials; adoption of the machine aesthetic
  • particularly in International Style modernism, a visual emphasis on horizontal and vertical lines


The Crystal Palace, 1851, was one of the first buildings to have vast amounts of glass supported by structural metal, foreshadowing trends in Modernist architecture.

There are multiple lenses through which the evolution of modern architecture may be viewed. Some historians see it as a social matter, closely tied to the project of Modernity and thus the Enlightenment. Modern architecture developed, in their opinion, as a result of social and political revolutions.[2] Others see Modern architecture as primarily driven by technological and engineering developments. Still other historians regard Modernism as a matter of taste, a reaction against eclecticism and the lavish stylistic excesses of Victorian and Edwardian architecture.

With the Industrial Revolution, the availability of newly-available building materials such as iron, steel, and sheet glass drove the invention of new building techniques. In 1796, Shrewsbury mill owner Charles Bage first used his 'fireproof' design, which relied on cast iron and brick with flag stone floors. Such construction greatly strengthened the structure of mills, which enabled them to accommodate much bigger machines. Due to poor knowledge of iron's properties as a construction material, a number of early mills collapsed. It was not until the early 1830s that Eaton Hodgkinson introduced the section beam, leading to widespread use of iron construction. This kind of austere industrial architecture utterly transformed the landscape of northern Britain, leading to the description of places like Manchester and parts of West Yorkshire as "Dark satanic mills". The Crystal Palace by Joseph Paxton at the Great Exhibition of 1851 was an early example of iron and glass construction, followed in 1864 by the first glass and metal curtain wall. A further development was that of the steel-framed skyscraper in Chicago around 1890 by William Le Baron Jenney and Louis Sullivan.

Early modernism

Around 1900, a number of architects and designers around the world began developing new solutions to integrate traditional precedents (classicism or Gothic, for instance) with new technological possibilities. The work of Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago, Victor Horta in Brussels, Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona, Otto Wagner and the Vienna Secession in Austria, and Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Glasgow, among many others, can be seen as a common struggle between old and new. The work of some of these were a part of what is broadly categorized as Art Nouveau ("New Art"). Note that the Russian word for Art Nouveau, "Модерн", and the Spanish word for Art Nouveau, "Modernismo" are cognates of the English word "Modern" though they carry different meanings. An early use of the term in print around this time, approaching its later meaning, was in the title of a book by Otto Wagner.[3][4] The fallout of the First World War resulted in additional experimentation and ideas. Following out of the experiments in Art Nouveau and its related movements around the world, modernism in architecture and design grew out of stylistic threads originating throughout the world.

In the United States

The Robie House, 1910, in Chicago, Illinois.

Wright's Wasmuth Portfolio. While Wright's career would parallel that of European architects, he refused to be categorized with them, claiming that they copied his ideas. Many architects in Germany believed that Wright's life would be wasted in the United States, since the US was not ready for his newer architecture.[5] During the 1930s, Wright would experiment with his Usonian ideas for a uniquely U.S. American (i.e. "US-onian") take on modernism. It would be several decades before European architects would in turn bring their version of modern architecture to the United States.

In Italy: Futurism

Futurist architecture began in the early 20th century, characterized by anti-historicism and long horizontal lines suggesting speed, motion and urgency. Technology and even violence were among the themes of the Futurists. The movement was founded by the poet Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, who produced its first manifesto, the Manifesto of Futurism in 1909. The movement attracted not only poets, musicians artist (such as Umberto Boccioni, Giacomo Balla, Fortunato Depero, and Enrico Prampolini) but also a number of architects. Among the latter there was Antonio Sant'Elia, who, though he built little (being killed in WWI), translated the Futurist vision into bold urban form. The unbuilt designs and theories of Futurists went on to influence both the Constructivists and a branch of Italian Fascist architecture.

In Soviet Union: Constructivism

Rusakov Workers' Club, Moscow, by Konstantin Melnikov (1928)
Rusakov Workers' Club, Moscow, by Konstantin Melnikov (1928)

Following the 1917 revolutions in Russia, the societal upheaval and change was coupled with a desire for a new aesthetic, one more in keeping with the Communist philosophy and societal goals of the new state, in contrast to the ornate Neoclassicism that had prevailed prior. This resulted in a new style, Constructivism, with a new set of buildings in the spotlight - namely, workers' clubs, commune-houses and communal 'factory-kitchens'. Constructivist architecture was proclaimed to be the architectural style aimed at promulgating a new, socialist society. Konstantin Melnikov, a Russian Constructivist architect, designed the number of working clubs - including Rusakov Workers' Club (1928) - and his own living house, Melnikov House (1929) near Arbat Street in Moscow. The leading group of constructivist architects, led by Vesnin brothers and Moisei Ginzburg, was publishing the 'Contemporary Architecture' journal. This group created several major constructivist projects in the wake of the First Five Year Plan - including colossal Dnieper Hydroelectric Station (1932) - and made an attempt to start the 'typization' of living blocks with Ginzburg's Narkomfin building. A number of architects who already were recognized professional before 1917, like Alexey Shchusev[6] or Ivan Fomin, were successfully working under new conditions, providing several important examples of constructivist style, including Lenin's Mausoleum in Moscow (1930).

Derzhprom, Kharkiv, by Sergey Serafimovich, Samul Kravets and Marc Felger (1928)
Derzhprom (the House of Industry), Kharkiv, by Sergey Serafimovich, Samul Kravets and Marc Felger (1928)

The main centers of constructivist architecture were Moscow and Sain-Petersburg; however, during the industrialization lots of constructivist buildings were erected in provincial cities. The regional industrial centers, like Ekaterinburg, Kharkiv or Ivanovo, were rebuilt in the constructivist manner; some cities, like Magnitogorsk or Zaporizhia, were constructed anew (the so-called socgorod, or 'socialist city').

The style prospered, but fell markedly out of favor during the design competition for the Palace of the Soviets from 1931 to 1933, losing to a more traditional revivalism of Russian architecture with nationalistic overtones, afterwards termed Postconstructivism. However, the whole process was rather complicated, and the influence of constructivism was still present in projects like Soviet pavillion at Paris World Exhibition (1937) designed by Boris Iofan.[7] This resulted in the ultimate demise of the Russian branch of early architectural modernism, though not before it had a chance to influence architects elsewhere, such as Le Corbusier.

In Western Europe

Arts and Crafts movement

The AEG Turbinenfabrik ("turbine factory"), 1909, designed by Peter Behrens, illustrating the combination of industry and design.

Spanning the gap between the ideals of the Peter Behrens, Theodor Fischer (who served as its first president), Josef Hoffmann and Richard Riemerschmid. Joseph August Lux, an Austrian-born critic, helped formulate its agenda.[9]

As a result of isolation during World War I, an art and design movement developed unique to the Netherlands, known as De Stijl (literally "the style"), characterized by its use of line and primary colors. While producing little architectural design overall (with notable exception of the Rietveld Schröder House of 1924), its ideas went on to influence the architects and designers of the 1920s.


The Second Goetheanum, 1924–1928, in Basel, Switzerland, is an example of architectural Expressionism.

Expressionism was an architectural movement that developed in Northern Europe during the first decades of the 20th century in parallel with the expressionist visual and performing arts. Making notable use of sculptural forms and the novel use of concrete as artistic elements, examples include Rudolf Steiner's Second Goetheanum, built from 1926 near Basel, Switzerland and the Einsteinturm in Potsdam, Germany.

The style was characterised by an early-modernist adoption of novel materials, formal innovation, and very unusual massing, sometimes inspired by natural biomorphic forms, sometimes by the new technical possibilities offered by the mass production of brick, steel and especially glass. Many expressionist architects fought in World War I and their experiences, combined with the political turmoil and social upheaval that followed the German Revolution of 1919, resulted in a utopian outlook and a romantic socialist agenda.[10] Economic conditions severely limited the number of built commissions between 1914 and the mid-1920s,[11] resulting in many of the most important expressionist works remaining as projects on paper, such as Bruno Taut's Alpine Architecture and Hermann Finsterlin's Formspiels. Ephemeral exhibition buildings were numerous and highly significant during this period. Scenography for theatre and films provided another outlet for the expressionist imagination,[12] and provided supplemental incomes for designers attempting to challenge conventions in a harsh economic climate. A particular type, using bricks to create its forms (rather than concrete) is known as Brick Expressionism.

Modernism reaches critical mass

The Bauhaus building at Dessau, Germany, designed by Walter Gropius

It was at this time, during the 1920s, that the most important figures in Modern architecture established their reputations. The big three are commonly recognized as Le Corbusier in France, and Walter Gropius and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in Germany, all of whom trained under Peter Behrens.

Gropius and Mies van der Rohe both served as directors of the Bauhaus, one of a number of European schools and associations concerned with reconciling craft tradition and industrial technology. Mies van der Rohe designed the German pavilion (known afterward as the Barcelona Pavilion) at the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition. Villa Savoye, by Le Corbusier and his cousin, was built from 1928 to 1931. As in Russia, political pressures turned against the modernists. With the rise of Nazism in 1933, the German experiments in modernism were replaced by more traditionalist architectural forms.

Style Moderne: tradition and modernism

Greyhound Bus Station in Cleveland, Ohio, showing the Streamline Moderne aesthetic.

Following World War I, a stylistic movement developed that embraced ideas of both modernism (or at least modernization) and traditionalism. It is characterized by the adoption of the machine aesthetic, glorification of technological advancement and new materials, while at the same time adopting or loosely retaining revivalist forms and motifs, and the continued use of ornament.

In the case of the Art deco, decorative motifs included both those evocative of technology (such as the lightning bolt (electricity) or the tire (the automobile)), and those of the exotic (such as drawing elements from Mesoamerican, African, and Ancient Egyptian designs). Frank Lloyd Wright himself experimented with Mayan Revival, culminating in the concrete cube-based Ennis House of 1924 in Los Angeles.

A later variant, Streamline Moderne, simultaneously both played a role in industrial design and borrowed forms from machines themselves.

More restrained forms with national imagery were adopted. In the United States, it took the form of "Stripped Classicism" (alternatively, "PWA Moderne" or "WPA Moderne") a stark version of the Neoclassicism of Federal buildings earlier in the century.[13] It application ranged in scale from local post-offices to the Pentagon. At the same time (as noted above), the rise in nationalism was reflected in the Stalinist architecture of the Soviet Union, Fascist architecture of Italy, and Nazi architecture of Germany, what historian Kenneth Frampton termed the "New Tradition".[14] To a less political extent, such an idea of modernized tradition could also be seen in contemporaneous Mycenaean Revival architecture.

During and following World War II, this broad branch of modern architecture declined, with the rise of the International Style and other mid-century architecture.

Wartime innovation

Quonset hut en route to Japan

World War II (1939–1945) and its aftermath was a major factor in driving innovation in building technology, and in turn, architectural possibilities.[13][15] The wartime industrial demands resulting in a supply shortage (of such things as steel and other metals), in turn leading to the adoption of new materials, and advancement or novel use of old ones. Similarly, surplus postwar industrial capacity accelerated the use of new materials and techniques, particular architectural aluminium (as a result of advances made in its use in aircraft, etc., during the war).[15] At the same time, there was a rapid demand for structures during the war (such as military and governmental facilities) as well as for housing after the war.

These factors encouraged experiments with prefabricated building. Though examples of prefabrication have existed since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, with notable examples during the Interwar period such as the diner, the semi-circular metal Nissen hut of World War I revived as the Quonset hut, the post-war enameled-steel Lustron house (1947–1950), and Buckminster Fuller's experimental aluminum Dymaxion House.[16]

International Style

The Seagram Building, New York City, 1958, by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, is regarded as one of the finest examples of the functionalist aesthetic and a masterpiece of corporate modernism.

In 1932 (prior to World War II), the International Exhibition of Modern Architecture was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Philip Johnson and collaborator Henry-Russell Hitchcock drew together many distinct threads and trends in architecture, identified them as stylistically similar and having a common purpose, and consolidated them into the International style. This was a turning point. However, for the remainder of the Interwar period, the Moderne styles overshadowed this movement.

With the labeling of modernist art and architecture in Germany as degenerate, followed by World War II, important figures of the Bauhaus and New Objectivity fled to the United States: Marcel Breuer and Walter Gropius went to the Harvard Graduate School of Design (the former becoming part of a group known as the "Harvard Five"), Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to Chicago, with others going to Black Mountain College. Still others fled to British Palestine, contributing to the design of the White City of Tel Aviv.

While high-style modernist architectural design never became dominant in single-dwelling residential buildings in the United States, in institutional and commercial architecture Modernism became the pre-eminent, and in the schools (for leaders of the architectural profession) the only acceptable, design solution from about 1932 to about 1984.

Architects who worked in the International style wanted to break with architectural tradition and design simple, unornamented buildings. The most commonly used materials are glass for the facade (usually a curtain wall), steel for exterior support, and concrete for the floors and interior supports; floor plans were functional and logical. The style became most evident in the design of skyscrapers. Perhaps its most famous manifestations include the United Nations headquarters (Le Corbusier, Oscar Niemeyer, Sir Howard Robertson), the Seagram Building and the Toronto-Dominion Centre (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe), and Lever House (Skidmore, Owings & Merrill).

In the United States, a prominent early residential example was the Lovell House in Los Angeles, designed by Austrian expatriate Richard Neutra in the 1920s. Other examples include the Case Study Houses. Commissioned between 1945 and 1966, the twenty or so homes that were built primarily in and around Los Angeles, designed by architects such as Neutra and Americans Charles and Ray Eames (the Eames House) have attracted hundreds of thousands of visitors since their completion, and have influenced many architects over the years, notably the British architect, Michael Manser, whose domestic work is best exemplified by Capel Manor House in Kent. These and other Modern residences tend to focus on humanizing the otherwise harsh ideal, making them more livable and ultimately more appealing to real people. Many of these designs use a similar tactic: blurring the line between indoor and outdoor spaces.[17] This is achieved by embracing "the box" while at the same time dissolving it into the background with minimal structure and large glass walls, as was particularly the case with the Farnsworth House by Mies van der Rohe and the Glass House by Philip Johnson, the later part of a set of residences by the "Harvard Five" in New Canaan, Connecticut. Some critics claim that these spaces remain too cold and static for the average person to function, however. The materials utilized in a large number of Modern homes are not hidden behind a softening facade. While this may make them somewhat less desirable for the general public, most modernist architects see this as a necessary and pivotal tenet of Modernism: uncluttered and purely Minimal design.

Urban design and mass housing

"Horseshoe Estate", Berlin (1925–1933), by Bruno Taut and Martin Wagner
National Congress of Brazil, by Oscar Niemeyer, in the modernist-designed city of Brasília.

During the

  • Six Building Designers Who Are Redefining Modern Architecture, an April 2011 radio and Internet report by the Special English service of the Voice of America.
  • Famous architects – Biographies of well-known architects, almost all of the Modern Movement.
  • Architecture and Modernism
  • AIA Architect"Preservation of Modern Buildings" edition of
  •, Overview of the architecture of the 1950s and 1960s in Brussels

External links

  1. ^ a b "Growth, Efficiency, and Modernism" (PDF). U.S. General Services Administration. 2006 [2003]. pp. 14–15. Retrieved March 2011. 
  2. ^ Crouch, Christopher. 2000. "Modernism in Art Design and Architecture", New York: St. Martins Press. ISBN 0-312-21830-3 (cloth) ISBN 0-312-21832-X (pbk)
  3. ^ "Moderne Architektur: seinen Schülern ein Führer auf diesem Kunstgebiete - Otto Wagner - Google Books". Retrieved 2015-09-27. 
  4. ^ Otto Wagner. Translated by Harry Francis Mallgrave. Modern Architecture: A Guidebook for His Students to This Field of Art. Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities. 1988. ISBN 0-226-86938-5
  5. ^ "Frank Lloyd Wright Dies; Famed Architect Was 89". 2010. Retrieved 16 December 2014. 
  6. ^ "Alexey Shchusev (1873-1949)". Retrieved 2015-08-16. 
  7. ^ Udovički-Selb, Danilo (2012-01-01). "Facing Hitler’s Pavilion: The Uses of Modernity in the Soviet Pavilion at the 1937 Paris International Exhibition". Journal of Contemporary History 47 (1): 13–47.  
  8. ^ Lucius Burckhardt (1987) . The Werkbund. ? : Hyperion Press. ISBN. Frederic J. Schwartz (1996). The Werkbund: Design Theory and Mass Culture Before the First World War. New Haven, Conn. : Yale University Press. ISBN.
  9. ^ Mark Jarzombek. "Joseph August Lux: Werkbund Promoter, Historian of a Lost Modernity," Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 63/1 (June 2004): 202–219.
  10. ^ Jencks, p. 59
  11. ^ Sharp, p. 68
  12. ^ Pehnt, p. 163
  13. ^ a b "Growth, Efficiency, and Modernism" (PDF). U.S. General Services Administration. 2006 [2003]. p. 27. Retrieved March 2011. 
  14. ^ Frampton, Kenneth (1980). Modern Architecture: A Critical History (3rd ed.). Thames and Hudson. pp. 210–218.  
  15. ^ a b Thomas C. Jester, ed. (1995). Twentieth-Century Building Materials. McGraw-Hill. pp. 41–42, 48–49.  
  16. ^ Thomas C. Jester, ed. (1995). Twentieth-Century Building Materials. McGraw-Hill. p. 259.  
  17. ^ [4] Archived July 21, 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  18. ^ Berlin Modernism Housing Estates. Inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List; German/English; Editor: Berlin Monument Authority - ISBN 978-3-03768-000-1
  19. ^ a b c d "Growth, Efficiency, and Modernism" (PDF). U.S. General Services Administration. 2006 [2003]. pp. 16, 34. Retrieved March 2011. 
  20. ^ Handlin, David P. (2004) [1985]. American Architecture. Thames & Hudson. pp. 247–248.  
  21. ^ a b c "New Formalism". Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County. Retrieved March 2011. ; excerpting from HABS documentation: : "Los Angeles Music Center". Historic American Building Survey. 
  22. ^ "Plastic Integration". Patrimonio Cultural de la Humanidad (Website). UNAM. Retrieved March 2011. 
  23. ^ "Central University City Campus of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)". World Heritage List. UNESCO. Retrieved March 2011. 
  24. ^ Meredith L. Clausen, 2005. The Pan Am building and the shattering of the Modernist Dream (Cambridge: MIT Press) (On-line analytical review)
  25. ^ "Aqua Named 2009 Skyscraper of the Year". NBC Chicago. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  26. ^ Hal Foster (1987). "Neo-Futurism: Architecture and Technology". Architectural Association School of Architecture ( Retrieved 2015-09-27. 
  27. ^ "Neofuturism Architecture And Technology, SCI-Arc Media Archive". 1987-10-05. Retrieved 2014-01-25. 
  28. ^ Rory Stott (31 August 2015). "Eero Saarinen - ArchDaily". Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  29. ^ "Eero Saarinen's TWA Terminal To Become A Luxury Hotel". Co.Design. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  30. ^ "Adrian Wilson". Architectural Digest. Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  31. ^ "Airports: A Century of Architecture: Hugh Pearman: 9780810950122: Books". Retrieved 2015-09-27. 
  32. ^ "December 2012 Newsletter" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-09-27. 
  33. ^ "Opera Cake: Neo-Futurism at Danish Royal Opera". Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  34. ^ "Sydney Opera House, Sydney -". Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  35. ^ "Denis Laming Architectes". Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  36. ^ "Expo 2015: Innovation Design by Vito Di Bari". YouTube. Retrieved 2014-01-25
  37. ^ [5] Archived December 25, 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  38. ^ "Santiago Calatrava. Complete Works 1979-2009. TASCHEN Books". Retrieved 2015-09-27. 
  39. ^ "Yes is More. TASCHEN Books". Retrieved 2015-09-27. 
  40. ^ October, Pinar (2013-10-13). "Dubai's Futuristic Floating Building by Zaha Hadid". My Modern Met. Retrieved 2015-09-27. 
  41. ^ "15 Most Futuristic Architecture Projects of Zaha Hadid". 2013-03-14. Retrieved 2015-09-27. 
  42. ^ "Zaha Hadid Uses Hologram To Reveal Futuristic Design Of Miami’S One Thousand Museum Tower". 2013-11-27.  (Archived link)
  43. ^ "Futuristic student centre opens doors - SWI". 2010-02-22. Retrieved 2015-09-27. 
  44. ^ "Thomas Heatherwick / Conran Foundation Collection : - Design/Designer Information". Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
  45. ^ "Thomas Heatherwick Designs a Futuristic Learning Hub for Nanyang University in Singapore Nanyang University Learning Hub Thomas Heatherwick – Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building". 2013-07-21. Retrieved 2015-09-27. 
  46. ^ "Futuristic architecture, santiago calatrava, future architecture, modern building, white interior". Retrieved 25 September 2015. 
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  50. ^ "Culture For Friends - Torre Diagonal Zerozero: A Futuristic Landmark In Barcelona". Retrieved 2015-09-27. 
  51. ^ Turner, Yvonne K (2012-03-12). "Yvonne K Turner Studio work and Degree show: Anish Kapoor The ultimate City Futurist". Retrieved 2015-09-27. 
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See also

Following the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina, Modern structures in New Orleans have been increasingly slated for demolition. Plans are underway to demolish many of the city's Modern public schools, as well as large portions of the city's Civic Plaza. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds will contribute to razing the State Office Building and State Supreme Court Building, both designed by the collaborating architectural firms of August Perez and Associates; Goldstein, Parham and Labouisse; and Favrot, Reed, Mathes and Bergman. The New Orleans Recovery School District has proposed demolitions of schools designed by Charles R. Colbert, Curtis and Davis, and Ricciuti Associates. The 1959 Lawrence and Saunders building for the New Orleans International Longshoremen's Association Local 1419 is currently threatened with demolition although the union supports its conservation.

Private organizations such as Docomomo International, the World Monuments Fund, and the Recent Past Preservation Network are working to safeguard and document imperiled Modern architecture. In 2006, the World Monuments Fund launched Modernism at Risk, an advocacy and conservation program.

Several works or collections of modern architecture have been designated by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites. In addition to the early experiments associated with Art Nouveau, these include a number of the structures mentioned above in this article: the Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht, the Bauhaus structures in Weimar and Dessau, the Berlin Modernism Housing Estates, the White City of Tel Aviv, the city of Brasilia, the Ciudad Universitaria of UNAM in Mexico City and the University City of Caracas in Venezuela, and the Sydney Opera House.

In 2007, the Sydney Opera House by Jørn Utzon was listed as a World Heritage Site.


Examples of contemporary modern architecture

Concurrently, the recent movements of New Urbanism and New Classical Architecture promote a sustainable approach towards construction, that appreciates and develops smart growth, architectural tradition and classical design.[54][55] This in contrast to modernist and globally uniform architecture, as well as leaning against solitary housing estates and suburban sprawl.[56] Both trends started in the 1980s. The Driehaus Architecture Prize is an award that recognizes efforts in New Urbanism and New Classical Architecture, and is endowed with a prize money twice as high as that of the modernist Pritzker Prize.[57]

New Urbanism and New Classical Architecture

Neo-futurism is a departure from post-modernism connected with an idealistic belief in a better future. Neofuturist urbanists, architects, designers and artists believe in cities releasing emotions, driven by eco-sustainability and ethical values and implementing new materials and new technologies[26] to provide a better quality of life for residents.[27] Pioneered from early 60s and late 70s by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen;[28][29] American architect Adrian Wilson[30] and Charles Luckman;[31][32] Danish architects Henning Larsen[33] and Jørn Utzon;[34] the architectural movement was later named Neo-Futurism by French architect Denis Laming. He designed all of the buildings in Futuroscope, whose Kinemax is the flagship building.[35] In the early 21st century, Neo-Futurism has been relaunched in December 2006 by innovation designer Vito Di Bari with the futuristic vision for the city of Milan[36] at the time of the Universal Expo 2015 included in the candidature presented to BIE (Bureau of International Expositions)[37] and envisioning "the convergence of art, cutting edge technologies and ethical values", later defined by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava as "a fusion of architecture, art and engineering"[38] and by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels as "a pragmatic utopian architecture that takes on the creation of socially and environmentally perfect places.”[39] Architects working in this mode include Pritzker Architecture Prize Iraqi-British architect Zaha Hadid[40][41][42] and Japanese Ryue Nishizawa;[43] Lubetkin Prize Winner British Thomas Heatherwick,[44][45] Spanish architects Santiago Calatrava,[46][47][48] Fermín Vázquez,[49] and Enric Massip-Bosch[50] and artists such as Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor,[51][52] Italian large-scale buildings artist Mario Arlati and Dutch kinetic sculptor Theo Jansen.[53]

Neofuturistic architecture

Neomodernism is a reaction to Postmodernism and its embrace of pre-modern elements of design. Examples of modern architecture in the 21st century include One World Trade Center (2013) in New York City and Tour First (2011), the tallest office building in the Paris metropolitan area. Emporis named Chicago's Modern Aqua Tower (2009) its skyscraper of the year.[25]

Neomodern architecture

High Postmodern aesthetics lacked traction and by the mid-1990s, a new surge of modern architecture once again established international pre-eminence. As part of this revival, much of the criticism of the modernists was re-evaluated; and a modernistic style once again dominates in institutional and commercial contemporary practice. Although modern and postmodern design compete with a revival of traditional architectural design in commercial and institutional architecture; residential design continues to be dominated by a traditional aesthetic.

Architects explored Postmodern architecture which offered a blend of some pre-modern elements, and deliberately sought to move away from rectilinear designs, towards more eclectic styles. Even Philip Johnson came to admit that he was "bored with the box." By the 1980s, postmodern architecture appeared to trend over modernism.

The loss of traditionalist structures to make way for new modernist construction, especially via the Urban Renewal movement, led to further criticism, particularly the demolition of New York Penn Station in 1963. That same year, controversy materialized around the Pan Am Building that loomed over Grand Central Terminal, taking advantage of the modernist real estate concept of "air rights",[24] In criticism by Ada Louise Huxtable and Douglass Haskell it was seen to "sever" the Park Avenue streetscape and "tarnish" the reputations of its consortium of architects: Walter Gropius, Pietro Belluschi and the builders Emery Roth & Sons. The proposal for a tower over the terminal itself resulted in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Penn Central Transportation Co. v. New York City, upholding the city's landmark laws. Alongside these preservation efforts came the increasing respectability and fashionability of more traditional styles.

The Kaleida Health Gates Vascular Institute in Buffalo, New York, illustrates a cube like design wrapped with modern accents.

Modern architecture met with some criticism, which began in the 1960s on the grounds that it seemed universal, elitist, and lacked meaning. Siegfried Giedion in the 1961 introduction to his evolving text, Space, Time and Architecture (first written in 1941), began "At the moment a certain confusion exists in contemporary architecture, as in painting; a kind of pause, even a kind of exhaustion." At the Metropolitan Museum of Art, a 1961 symposium discussed the question "Modern Architecture: Death or Metamorphosis?"

The Sony Tower (formerly AT&T building) in New York City, 1984, by Philip Johnson, illustrating a Postmodern spin on the boxy office towers that preceded it with the inclusion of a classical broken pediment on the top.

Postmodern architecture

High-tech architecture, also known as Late Modernism or Structural Expressionism, is an architectural style that emerged in the 1970s, incorporating elements of high-tech industry and technology into building design. High-tech architecture appeared as a revamped modernism, an extension of those previous ideas helped by even more technological advances. This category serves as a bridge between modernism and post-modernism, however there remain gray areas as to where one category ends and the other begins. In the 1980s, high-tech architecture became more difficult to distinguish from post-modern architecture. Some of its themes and ideas were later absorbed into the style of neo-futurism art and architectural movement.

High-tech architecture

Late 20th-century reactions and movements

Architects such as Louis Kahn, Paul Rudolph, Marcel Breuer, I.M. Pei and others responded to the "light" glass curtain walls advocated by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, by creating architecture with an emphasis on more substantial materials, such as concrete and brick, and creating works with a "monumental" quality. "Brutalism" is a term derived from the use of "Béton brut" ("raw concrete"), unadorned, often with the mold marks remaining, though as a stylistic tendency, Brutalism would ultimately be applied more broadly to include the use of other materials such as brickwork in a similar fashion. The term was first used in architecture by Le Corbusier.

The National Assembly Building of Bangladesh by Louis Kahn; compare its "weightiness" with works above.

Brutalism and monumentality

A distinctly Mexican take on modernism, "plastic integration", was a syncretization of Mexican artistic traditions (such as muralism) with International Style forms,[22] and can be seen in the later works of Luis Barragán and Juan O'Gorman, epitomized by the Ciudad Universitaria of UNAM in Mexico City.[23]

Arising shortly after the end of World War II, a particular set of stylistic tendencies in the United States during this time is known as Googie (or "populuxe"), derived from futuristic visions inspired by the imagery of the Atomic Age and Space Age, with motifs such as atomic orbital patterns and "flying saucers", respectively, such as in the Space Needle in Seattle. Though the style was unique to the United States, similar iconography can be seen in the Atomium in Brussels.

The Theme Building and control tower in Los Angeles International Airport.

Another stylistic reaction was "New Formalism" (or "Neo-Formalism", sometimes shortened to "Formalism").[19][20] Like the pre-war "Stripped Classicism", "New Formalism" blended elements of classicism (at their most abstracted levels) with modernist designs.[21] Characteristics drawing on classicism include rigid symmetry, use of columns and colonnades or arcades, and use of high-end materials (such as marble or granite), yet works in this vein also characteristically use the flat roofs common with the International Style.[19][21] Architects working in this mode included Edward Durrell Stone, Minoru Yamasaki, and some of the middle-period work of Philip Johnson, with examples in the United States including the Kennedy Center (1971) and the National Museum of American History (1964) in Washington, D.C., and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (mid-1960s) in New York.[19][21]

Contributing to these expressions were structural advances that enabled new forms to be possible or desirable. Félix Candela, a Spanish expatriate living in Mexico, and Italian engineer Pier Luigi Nervi, made particular strides in the use of reinforced concrete and concrete shell construction. In 1954, Buckminster Fuller patented the geodesic dome.

Le Corbusier once described buildings as "machines for living", but people are not machines and it was suggested that they do not want to live in machines. During the middle of the century, some architects began experimenting in organic forms that they felt were more human and accessible. Sydney Opera House in Australia by Jørn Utzon. Eero Saarinen invoked suggestions of flight in his designs for the terminal at Dulles International Airport outside of Washington, D.C, or the TWA Terminal in New York, both finished in 1962.[19] The Mission 66 project of the United States National Park Service was also built during this time.

Central Library of UNAM, in Mexico City, 1950-1956, showing the detailed artwork of plastic integration.
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
TWA Terminal, John F. Kennedy Airport, New York, 1962, by Eero Saarinen

As the International Style took hold, others architects reacted to or strayed from its purely functionalist forms, while at the same time retaining highly modernist characteristics. Eero Saarinen, Alvar Aalto and Oscar Niemeyer were three of the most prolific architects and designers in this movement, which has influenced contemporary modernism.

Saint John's Abbey Church, Collegeville, Minnesota, United States, by Marcel Breuer, 1958-1961

Mid-Century reactions

The devastation that WWII wrought in Europe, Asia, and the Pacific and subsequent post-war housing shortages resulted in a vast building and rebuilding of cities, with a variety of techniques employed for the creation of mass-housing. One attempt to solve this was by using the Tower block. In the Eastern Bloc, mass housing took the form of prefabricated panel buildings, such as the Plattenbau of East Germany, Khrushchyovka of Russia and the Panelák of Czechoslovakia.

After World War II the Congrès Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne (CIAM) was a force in shaping modernist urban planning, and consequently the design of cities and the structures within, from 1928 to 1959. Its 1933 meeting resulted in the basis of what became the Athens Charter, which would drive urban planning practice for much of the mid-20th century. Following its principles, in the late 1950s the entirely-new city of Brasília was built as a new capital for Brazil, designed by Lucio Costa, with prominent works for it designed by Oscar Niemeyer. Le Corbusier applied CIAM's principles in his design for the city of Chandigarh in India.

Consequently, the search was on to find new models for state-initiated housing construction, which could then be implemented with a passion from 1920 on following the creation of Greater Berlin and the accompanying reform of local and regional government. The requirements for the type of flats to be built and the facilities they were to have were clearly defined, and the city was divided into different building zones. Following some basic ideas of the Garden city movement two- to three-storey housing estates that were well integrated into the landscape of the suburbs of the city were planned. The first large estate of this type with more than 2,000 residential units was the so-called Hufeisensiedlung (Horseshoe Estate) designed by Bruno Taut in Berlin.

As a result of the economically difficult situation during the Weimar Republic, housing construction, which up to that time had been mainly privately financed and profit-oriented, had found itself at a dead end. Inflation was on the up and for citizens on low incomes decent housing was becoming increasingly unaffordable.


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