As far as history goes back, art and architecture have always been interrelated disciplines. From the elaboration of the Baroque movement, to the geometric framework of modernism, architects found inspiration from stylistic approaches, techniques, and concepts of historic art movements, and translated them into large-scale habitable structures. In this article, we explore 5 of many art movements that paved the way for modern day architecture, looking into how architects borrowed from their characteristics and approaches to design to create their very own architectural compositions.
Art Deco: The Latest Architecture and News
Art Deco architecture derives from a style of visual arts of the same name that emerged in Europe in the 1920s, which also influenced the movie industry, fashion, interior design, graphic design, sculpture, painting, and other forms of art, in addition to architecture. The milestone of this style was the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts held in Paris in 1925, from which it took its name.
Learn about Art Deco—the opulent architectural style from the 1920s and 1930s—with CAC docent Mike McMains on this live, 45-minute virtual tour in downtown Chicago on May 5 or 10.
It's the Roaring 20s, the economy is booming and everyone is celebrating! A style of architecture is needed to capture the moment: Art Deco. This 45-minute streaming tour describes the influences of the Art Deco style, defines its characteristics and profiles several wonderful buildings from the 1920s and 1930s and their amazing architects.
In a short but prodigious career Raymond Mathewson Hood (March 29, 1881 – August 14, 1934) had an outsized influence on twentieth century architecture. Born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, Hood was the son of a box manufacturer in an affluent Baptist family. He attended Brown University before studying at MIT School of Architecture, later graduating from the École des Beaux-Arts in 1911. While in Paris, Hood met John Mead Howells, who in 1922 would select him as a partner for the design of the Chicago Tribune Tower. The team would beat out many more avant-garde entries by the likes of Walter Gropius, Adolf Loos, and Eliel Saarinen, with their own Neo-Gothic edifice that mimicked the Butter Tower of Rouen Cathedral.
Northern Ireland-based architect John Donnelly has launched a studio dedicated to the production of finely-detailed plaster-cast architectural models exploring the diverse built environment of Belfast, Northern Ireland. “Model Citizen” was founded to promote public understanding and appreciation of the architecture and craftsmanship present in Irish cities, manifesting as an ongoing series of intricate sculptures.
Model Citizen sees its sculptures, available for closer inspection here, as a “mechanism to emphasize the beauty and significance of our built heritage,” translating art deco, brutalist, and internationalist styles into tangible, tactile sculptural objects that can be held, felt, and explored.
Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors have decided to move forward with a plan to reuse L.A. General Hospital as affordable housing for high-need populations. The plan aims to provide homeless residents and low-income tenants with new living units inside the 1930s-era hospital. The board approved a motion to study the feasibility of reusing the structure and to craft a strategic plan that would bring the project to life. As the “birthplace of emergency medicine,” the Art Deco–style building includes 1.5-million-square-feet of space that could be used for the housing project.
This article was originally published on July 29, 2016. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section.
Upon opening its doors for the first time on a rainy winter’s night in 1932, the Radio City Music Hall in Manhattan was proclaimed so extraordinarily beautiful as to need no performers at all. The first built component of the massive Rockefeller Center, the Music Hall has been the world’s largest indoor theater for over eighty years. With its elegant Art Deco interiors and complex stage machinery, the theater defied tradition to set a new standard for modern entertainment venues that remains to this day.
In a permanent state of architectural transience, New York City continues to be adorned with new skyscrapers with every passing day. Historically fueled by financial prosperity coupled with the demand for commercial space, the only way to continue to build was up. Blue Crow Media’s latest map, “Art Deco New York Map” showcases over sixty buildings from the era, celebrating the eclectic nature of Art Deco architecture that is so deeply inherent to the identity of the city.
This article was originally published on December 5, 2016. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section.
Even in Manhattan—a sea of skyscrapers—the Empire State Building towers over its neighbours. Since its completion in 1931 it has been one of the most iconic architectural landmarks in the United States, standing as the tallest structure in the world until the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center were constructed in Downtown Manhattan four decades later. Its construction in the early years of the Great Depression, employing thousands of workers and requiring vast material resources, was driven by more than commercial interest: the Empire State Building was to be a monument to the audacity of the United States of America, “a land which reached for the sky with its feet on the ground.”
History has often been taught in a linear way. This way of teaching has often left out grand historical narratives, and focused primarily on the occidental world.
The New York Times recently reported that over 40% of the buildings on the island of Manhattan wouldn’t be granted construction permits in 2017. Most of the culprits date back to the early 20th century when attitudes towards density, ceiling heights, column placement, and general living standards were different. This begs the question: what would modern iterations of New York’s signature structures look like today? Billed by the practice as “an obsessive-compulsive study of the city we love” HWKN’s New(er) York is a peculiar experiment that tackles this hypothetical.
Brooklyn’s Iconic Macy’s Store to Receive 10-Story Glass Office Addition to its Historic Architecture
Plans have been announced by Tishman Speyer for "The Wheeler", a glassy new addition above downtown Brooklyn’s iconic Macy’s store on Fulton Street. The design is a collaboration between Shimoda Design Group and Perkins Eastman, and incorporates 10 stories of dynamic office and mixed-use space that will sit atop the existing department store.
Paying homage to the renowned 19th century Brooklyn developer Andrew Wheeler, the new offices will come complete with 16 foot ceiling heights, an acre of combined outdoor terrace gardens and decks, an amenity floor, and 360,000 square feet of rentable space, all while capturing the surrounding views of Lower Manhattan, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and New York harbour from its vantage point above the existing architecture.
The "architectural pilgrimage" is much more than just everyday tourism. Studying and admiring a building through text and images often creates a hunger in architects, thanks to the space between the limitations of 2D representation and the true experience of the building. Seeing a building in person that one has long loved from a distance can become something of a spiritual experience, and architects often plan vacations around favorite or important spaces. But too often, architects become transfixed by a need to visit the same dozen European cities that have come to make up the traveling architect's bucket list.
The list here shares some sites that may not have made your list just yet. Although somewhat less well known than the canonical cities, the architecture of these six cities is sure to hold its ground against the world's best. The locations here make ideal long weekend trips (depending of course on where you are traveling from), although it never hurts to have more than a few days to really become immersed in a city. We have selected a few must-see buildings from each location, but each has even more to offer than what you see here—so don't be afraid to explore!
Shown from the same central perspective, the photographs “create a new dimension by splitting space and time, staying within the visual limits of the project’s concept, while the perception of the architectural details evokes the idea of infinity.”
“I have always liked Art Deco and Bauhaus buildings,” said Alovits. “Whenever I step into one of these caracoles, I feel a certain pulling energy looking up from the bottom or down from the top. I wanted to collect and showcase all the different shapes and colors that these stairways feature.”
As long as there have been buildings mankind has sought to construct its way to the heavens. From stone pyramids to steel skyscrapers, successive generations of designers have devised ever more innovative ways to push the vertical boundaries of architecture. Whether stone or steel, however, each attempt to reach unprecedented heights has represented a vast undertaking in terms of both materials and labor – and the more complex the project, the greater the chance for things to go awry.
With its iconic copper-clad tower looming over Wilshire Boulevard, the Bullock’s Wilshire has been a celebrated element of the Los Angeles cityscape since its opening in 1929. Known for its lavish Art Deco aesthetic, the department store made its mark as a prime shopping destination in a city filled with celebrities. But the Bullock’s Wilshire was more than a glamorous retail space; with a design centered around the automobile, it was to set a new standard for how businesses adapted to a rapidly changing urban environment.
AD Classics: Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes / Various Architects
The end of the First World War did not mark the end of struggle in Europe. France, as the primary location of the conflict’s Western Front, suffered heavy losses in both manpower and industrial productivity; the resulting economic instability would plague the country well into the 1920s. It was in the midst of these uncertain times that the French would signal their intention to look not to their recent troubled past, but to a brighter and more optimistic future. This signal came in the form of the Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes (International Exposition of Decorative Arts and Modern Industries) of 1925 – a landmark exhibition which both gave rise to a new international style and, ultimately, provided its name: Art Deco.