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20th Century Architecture
New materials in use permitted larger, stronger, more fire resistant structures
Steel available after 1860 – permitted very large spaces to be enclosed
Realist impulse encouraged architecture to honestly express the function of the
building rather than disguise it’s function
Alexander-Gustave Eiffel
Born Burgundy, trained in Paris
Designed the interior armature for the Statue of Liberty which was France’s
anniversary gift to the United States (Frederic Auguste Bartholdi)
Eiffel Tower, Paris, 1889, wrought iron, 984’ high
 Designed for the great exhibition in Paris in 1889, seen as a symbol of
modern Paris and still seen as a symbol of 19th C civilization
 984 high – tallest at the time
 4 giant supports
 graceful arching open skirts mask the heavy horizontal girders needed to
strengthen the legs
 2 elevators to top or walk up the internal staircase
airiness at the top – unknown at the time – like an airplane
outer and inner space are interpenetrating are experienced when you
descend the spiral stairs from the top
you experience the trees, houses, churches and the Seine
continuously changing viewpoints – 4-D effect
Inner & outer space become the hallmark of 20th C art and architecture
Metal skeleton frames designed by Labrouste and Paxton
New materials and new processes germinate a completely new style and radical
Wanted great speed and economy in building & fireproofing – cast iron esp. for
commercial buildings
FIRES IN CHICAGO , NY, BOSTON – cast iron was not perfect - led to encasing metal
masonry : cast iron was strong, masonry was fire resistant
Closely grouped buildings, Increased property values --- raise the roof, build up
Elevators made even top floors valuable – used for the first time in the Equitable
building in NY 1868-1871
Metal supports made it possible, but it was a challenge to make it beautiful
Louis Henry Sullivan – 1st true modern architect; interested in structural &
 Created light-filled, well-ventilated office buildings and adorned exteriors &
interiors with ornate embellishments
 Connected commerce and culture; refinement and taste for white-collar
 Orderly, like the work that took place inside
 Ornamentation on the piers, cornices, balustrades, elevator cages, ceiling in
the interior
Building’s form began to express it function both actual and symbolic “form
follows function”
Advocated a free & flexible relationship
Carson, Pirie, Scott Building, 1899 – 1904
 Department store required broad, open, well-illuminated display spaces
 Ornamentation on the lower levels- windows were like pictures and had
elaborate frames
Curtain wall – outer covering of a building in which the outer walls are nonstructural, but merely keep the weather out and the occupants in. Nonstructual so that it can be made of lightweight, less expensive materials; glass
curtain wall lets in natural light that can penetrate deeper into the building
International Style – 20th c. style characterized by simple geometrics; called
International because of it’s widespread appeal
associated with Le Corbusier whose elegance of design came to influence the look of
modern office buildings and skyscrapers.
Bauhaus – school of craft and industry – buildings all involved new & untested
innovation. Some experiments failed: this glass curtain wall was visually superb, but
led to severe heat gain and loss
Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe and Philip Johnson, Seagram Building, NY 1956-58
 Pure example of a corporate skyscraper
 Rectilinear shape of glass and bronze
 Concrete, steel, and glass were familiar by this time all of the world
 Logic and clarity
 Designed as a thin shaft
 Front quarter is a pedestrian plaza
 Appears to rise out of the pavement on stilts
Glass walls surround the recessed lobby
Recessed structural elements make it look like it has a glass skin
Only thin strips of bronze anchor the windows
Bronze metal and amber glass give the tower a new richness
Interior and exterior lighting make the building impressive both day and
Le Corbusier developed a new theory on modern architecture that he described as a
“machine for living” which provided functional living space. Reduced architecture
to its main functional elements: windows, ramp, stair, column, slab. Functional and
Le Corbusier, Vill Savoye, Poissy-sur-Seine, France, 1929
 Dominates the site
 Open space
 Partially confined ground floor (3 can garage, bedrooms, bathrooms, utility
 Thin columns support main living floor
 Roof garden
 Main rooms wrap around a main central court
 Lit by strip windows
 Ramp to roof-top terrace & garden
 No definable entrance; must walk around to comprehend the layout
 No ornamentation
 Reversed the traditional by placing light elements above and heavier below
Pilotis – free-standing columns
Le Corbusier, Domino House, Marseilles, France, 1914
 Skeleton of the ideal dwelling, every level can be used
 Reinforced concrete slabs serve as ceiling and floor
 Supported by thin steel columns
 Whole building raised above ground on short blocks so that the space
underneath can be used, as well as the roof
 Outer walls suspended on projecting edges, like curtains
 Architects could subdivide interior as they wished; walls bear no-load
 International style – eliminates the load bearing wall
Provides for the basic physical & psychological needs of every human being: sun,
space, vegetation on roof, controlled temperature, good ventilation and insulation
against noise
Elegant and simple
“Natural Architecture”
Frank Lloyd Wright, first worked for Louis Sullivan
Sought to create “architecture of democracy”
He was a believer in Jeffersonian belief in individualism and populism
Saw architecture as natural and organic
Serving individuals who have the right to move freely within space
Architecture interacted with the natural surroundings
Frank Lloyd Wright, Robie House, Chicago, Illinois, 1907-1909
 He called it a “prairie house”
 Long, sweeping, ground hugging lines
 Unconfined by abrupt wall limits – reaching out and capturing the
expansiveness of the Midwest flatlands
 Abandoned symmetry
 Eliminated a facade, extended the roof beyond the walls
 All but concealed the entrance
 “wandering” plan was filled with intricately joined spaces
 patios, overhanging roofs grouped around a central fireplace (significance of
a hearth to a family)
 strip windows provide light in unexpected places
 created a sense of motion inside and out
Frank Lloyd Wright, Kaufmann House (Fallingwater), Bear Run,
Pennsylvannia, 1936-1939
 Weekend retreat near Pittsburgh
 Perched on rocky hillside over a small waterfall
 Continuity of the landscape, natural stones
 Internationally famous
Cantilever – long projecting beam or girder fixed at only one end
Frank Lloyd Wright, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1943-1959
 Used reinforced concrete almost as a sculptor might use clay
 Designed a structure inspired by the spiral of a snail’s shell
 Spiral brought into the 3-D and 4-D
 Walk up or elevator; walk down gently inclined walkway, viewing artwork
 Have the sense of turning in on itself
 Sheltered environment secure from the bustling city outside
 Illuminated by skylight strips embedded in wall
Le Corbusier, Notre-Dame-du-Haut, Ronchamp, France, 1950-55
 Architecture and sculpture in a single expression
 Small chapel on a pilgrimage site to replace a building destroyed in WWII
One massive exterior wall contains pulpit facing spacious outdoor area for
large open-air service on holy days
Interior hold 200
Intimate scale, stark heavy walls mysterious illumination from deeply
receded stain glass windows give the space the feeling of a cave or medieval
Looks free-form, but based on underlying mathematical system
Steel frame, sprayed with concrete, painted white
2 interior private chapel niches colored walls
roof unpainted darkened naturally
roof appears to be free-floating
linked the design with the shape of praying hands and the wings of a dove
(Holy Spirit and peace), and prow of a ship
Le Corbusier envisioned that powerful sculptural solids and voids could help
humans find new values – new interpretations of their sacred beliefs and of
their natural environment
Joern Utzon, Sydney Opera House, Sydney, Austrialia, 1959-1972
 Reinforced concrete, height of highest shell, 200’
 Danish architect
 Worked with Wright / graceful curves like the Guggenheim
 Architect taken with Mesoamerican platform architecture
 Recalls gothic vaults/ sea birds/ sails of tall ships that brought European
settlers to Australia
 Appropriate to the harbor setting/ bedrock to support
 Monument of civic pride/ city’s cultural center
 Concerts, performing arts, lectures, motion pictures, art exhibits, convention
& other modern activities
 Took 13 yrs. To build because it required technology that was not available
 Defining symbol of Sydney