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It is especially
difficult for the
architect to free
himself from the
of traditional
--Mies Van der Rohe
20th & 21st
Le Corbusier
Mies Van der Rohe
Louis Sullivan
Architectural education
[should be] a creative
effort to integrate
simultaneously design,
construction, and
economy . . . with
its social ends.
--Walter Gropius
Most famous, influential 20th-c.
American architect
Frank Lloyd Wright
American, Prairie School
Apprenticed with Sullivan and Adler
(Chicago School)
Strong horizontals, interplay of planes
& volumes, not terribly interested in
new engineering, construction
Buildings often ‘windmill out’ from
central feature, like large fireplace or,
in the Guggenheim, the central axis of
the helical spiral...hard to hang
‘Organic’ approach, incorporating
landscape when possible and natural
materials in interiors
Falling Waters PA, 1924
Guggenheim Museum,
NY, 1964
CANTILEVER=a long projected
beam fixed only at one end
Robie House, Chicago, 1904
+ The Chrysler Building
Art Deco
New York, NY 1928-1930
William Van Alen
Designed to be the world’s tallest structure,
the Chrysler held that distinction only until
1931, with the completion of the Empire
State Building.
More lasting is its reputation
as the world’s finest Art Deco
building. It is steel-frame and
masonry construction with
stainless steel cladding.
The distinctive decorative features derive from Chrysler cars.
The corner ornament shown at left is based on the 1929
Chrysler radiator cap. The ‘crown’ is composed of seven
radiating terraced arches, conveying the energy and
dynamism of the automobile age.
De Stijl (The Style)
Netherlands, 1920s
Schröder House, 1922
Utrecht, Netherlands
Gerrit Reitveld
De Stijl magazine was founded in 1917
primarily by Theo Van Doesberg, a
Dutch painter, architect, typographer
and theorist---and, Piet Mondrian, the
well-known artist first influenced by
Cubism who then moved to more
abstract compositions. Mondrian’s style,
emphasizing pure line and color was
called Neoplasticism. The movement’s
most successful architect was Gerrit
Throughout the 1920s, the group
published books and manifestos and
tried to promote its ideas throughout
Europe, including efforts to affiliate with
Walter Gropius and the Bauhaus.
Members disagreed about the utility of
various schools, like Russian
Constructivism and Dadaism. The group
fragmented and finally dissolved after
Van Doesberg’s death in 1931.
Resembling Mondrian’s paintings, the
house lacks fixed walls on the upper
story, relying on sliding panels to create
and change living spaces. One of
Reitveld’s other influences was Frank
Lloyd Wright.
“Art and Life are One”
Composition in Red,
White, & Yellow
Piet Mondrian, 1923
Leading Member:
Walter Gropius
Dessau, Germany 1922 – pre WW II
Breuer’s chair
The purpose of the Bauhaus was to unite the arts and
industry in search of a revitalizing contemporary
design aesthetic and functionality. It had profound
kinship with the Dutch De Stijl movement, although
the two groups never meshed completely. The
Bauhaus leader, Walter Gropius, sought to bring
together continental artists and artisans who shared
these ideas. These people, who valued abstraction
and anti-romanticism, included Paul Klee, Marcel
Breuer, Wassily Kandinsky, and L. Moholy-Nagy.
“There is no difference between artist and craftsman”
All crafts and architecture taught
as well as designed under one roof
Gropius designed the new Bauhaus at Dessau (1926). It combines
design labs, exhibition spaces, classrooms. dormitories ,and lecture
halls. With a skeleton of reinforced concrete, overlapping planes,
and continuous glass curtain, it exemplifies the Bauhaus aesthetic.
Hitler closed Bauhaus in 1933. Gropius escaped to the U.S, for a new
career in academia – which included architectural projects in the
private residence, university, and public sectors – some in
partnership with his Bauhaus colleague Marcel Breuer.
Simultaneity principle=two or more
perspectives at the same
Compare the painting by Moholy-Nagy ( and the
simultaneity principle demonstrated by the Cubists ) with a corner
of the Bauhaus building (the dematerialized corners and
interpenetration of outside and inside)
Bauhaus, Gropius, Le Corbusier, Van der Rohe, Johnson
** “International Style” dubbed
from Philip Johnson’s 1932
exhibition at MoMA (included
buildings from 1922 on up)
•**Ornament is a crime
•**Truth to materials
•**Form follows function
•**machine aesthetic and use of
modern materials
Van der Rohe in Illinois
Gropius at Harvard
Le Corbusier -- French
(Charles-Edouard Jeanneret)
Purism (1920s) – Cubist principles, but
rejection of decorative elements ; return to clear
forms and colors, hard edge-- representative of
the modern machine age.
Villas: simple forms, aesthetically spare interiors,
modern materials. His Five Points of Architecture:
--raised structure on reinforced concrete stilts
--free façade
--open floor plan
--lots of windows
--roof garden/terrace
Influential in city planning and high-density
housing . . . Advocated high-rises set in green
space. Spaces must have: sun, space,
ventilation, insulation, vegetation, human-scale
“Machine for Living”
Housing Project, Marseilles, France, 1947-52
Villa Savoy, 1928, Poissy-sur-Seine, France
Le Corbusier
The chapel of Notre-Dame-du-Haut
Ronchamp, France, 1955
a departure from earlier work – more
organic relationship to site and
history, sculptural form, concrete and
stone, curved thick walls.
--With Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier,
considered pioneering master of
international modernist architecture
--attracted to avant garde movements
like De Stijl and Constructivism; joined
the Bauhaus
Mies Van Der Rohe
International Style High Modernism
--Emigrated from Germany to U.S. in
1937, settled in Chicago
--Sought to establish 20th-c style that
would reflect its era just as Gothic or
Classical styles reflected theirs; used
modern materials like industrial steel
and plate glass
--An aesthetic of extreme simplicity,
--called his buildings ‘skin and bones’
Lake Shore Drive
Apartments, 1951
other aphorisms attributed to him
include ‘less
is more’ and
‘God is in the details’
Seagram Building, 1958
New York City
with Philip Johnson
Philip Johnson
International Style and
High Modernism
AT&T Building (now the
Sony Building),1984, NYC
Glass House, 1949
New Canaan CT
His own private
With its fanciful Chippendale
pediment, may be the most
iconic Postmodern building in
the United States
+ Post Modernism, 1960s-present
•Form doesn’t always follow function
•Incorporates decorative elements
•Suggests playful historical references
Robert Venturi
“Less is a
Built the Vanna Venturi
House for his mother,
1961-64; disorienting
asymmetries, playful
classical references.
What asymmetrical
elements do you see?
What elements are not
necessary for the
building’s function?
Michael Graves
Portland Building, 1982
Pompidou notable for exposed
Skeleton of brightly colored tubes
for mechanical elements
(plumbing, electrical, etc.)
Pompidou Center,
Paris, 1977
Piano & Rogers
+ Two Cool Buildings
TWA Flight Center
JFK Airport, NY 1962
Eero Saarinen
This building was designed
to evoke wings in flight;
Saarinen’s earlier Dulles
Terminal gives a similar
soaring impression.
Sydney Opera House
Sydney, Australia, 1957-73
Jorn Utzon
The building’s distinctive roof is a series of
interlocking vaulted shells of precast
rib segments faced in glazed off-white tiles.
Its base, a large terraced platform, serves as a
pedestrian concourse.
Frank Gehry
New material: COMPUTER
SOFTWARE… how you can successfully
engineer an outrageous building
Often called a ‘Deconstructivist’
Architect and a ‘starchitect,’ Gehry may
be the most famous and sought-after
architect currently practicing. Like
postmodernist architects, he does not
think form has to follow function;
unlike architects of 25 years ago, he
relies on advanced design software,
often developed by his own firm, to
make previously unbuildable designs
The ‘Dancing House’ (Prague,
1994-96) is actually an office
building; Gehry collaborated
with the Czech architect Vlado
Milunic on the project.
The Guggenheim Museum in
Bilbao, Spain (1996) remains
Gehry’s signature building.
It features sculpted, organic
contours, and its brilliantly
reflective titanium panels
resemble fish-scales (fish
are one of Gehry’s favorite
motifs). The building was
finished on time and on budget!