This year marks the centennial of the first edition of Vers Une Architecture, Le Corbusier’s epoch-making book. Though a new English translation appeared in 2007 to much acclaim, most other practicing architects read the first English edition that appeared in 1928, entitled Towards a New Architecture. Comparing the three editions is instructive, particularly in one crucial respect: the insertion of the word “new” in the title. The book wasn’t really about new architecture, because very little of it showed buildings in the International Style. Instead, it was in many respects a clever diatribe intended to convince Europeans that they had no choice but to renounce every kind of architecture that had been built before the Great War and begin anew. It was remarkably successful in fulfilling that aim.
https://www.archdaily.com/1000499/away-from-old-architecture-what-le-corbusier-really-meantMark Alan Hewitt
Architectural education has always been fundamentally influenced by whichever styles are popular at a given time, but that relationship flows in the opposite direction as well. All styles must originate somewhere, after all, and revolutionary schools throughout centuries past have functioned as the influencers and generators of their own architectural movements. These schools, progressive in their times, are often founded by discontented experimental minds, looking for something not previously nor currently offered in architectural output or education. Instead, they forge their own way and bring their students along with them. As those students graduate and continue on to practice or become teachers themselves, the school’s influence spreads and a new movement is born.
When people describe the modernist movement as a whole, they broadly reference the steel and glass skyscrapers which dot many of our cities’ skylines, or more specifically, the International Style that once emerged from Europe after World War I. The International Style represented technological and industrial progress and a renaissance of social constructs that would forever influence the way that we think about the use of space across all scales. Often designed as politically charged buildings seeking to make a statement towards totalitarian governments, many architects who influenced the style moved to the United States after World War II, paving the way for some of the most iconic buildings and skyscrapers to be built in the 20th century.
Chicago, The Windy City, Chi-Town, or The Second City. It’s a place that is known by many names, but to architects and urban planners alike, it’s famous for its history which has given us some of the best-known buildings and important advancements that have helped to shape other cities across the United States. From its inception, Chicago has long served as an architectural hub for innovation.
Cities have been, and will always be multi-faceted, elastic sites. They are settlements in continuous evolution, molded by proximity to natural resources, by migrating populations, and by capital. Despite the diversity in the urban character of disparate cities, it has been said that cities look alike now more than ever before, a uniformity that means a glass-and-steel tower in Singapore would not look out of place in Mumbai’s Bandra Kurla Complex.
As the largest city in the United States, New York City is one of the most diverse and vibrant cities in the world, recognized by many as the center for global media, culture, fashion art, and finance. The city was founded in 1624 by settlers from the Dutch Republic and has since grown into “the city that never sleeps”.
While almost every style of architecture exists in New York City, the metropolis is most well known for its skyscrapers, both in historical styles such as Neoclassical and Art Deco and in their varied contemporary expressions. The first building to bring the world's tallest title to New York was the New York World Building, in 1890. Later, New York City was home to the world's tallest building for 75 continuous years, starting with the Park Row Building in 1899.
In the 14th century, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote “Familiarity breeds contempt”. By definition “local” is “familiar”. Why are humans so thrilled to go beyond the familiar, the local, and reach for what is new, universal, and salvational? The word “local” has the weight of true value, like “density” or “sustainable” But the lure of connection between all humans is powerfully seductive, and that desire to connect almost always falls short of our hopes.
Modernism could be described as one of the most optimistic styles in architectural history, drawing from notions of utopia, innovation, and the reimagination of how humans would live, work, and interact. As we reflected in our AD Essentials Guide to Modernism, the philosophy of Modernism still dominates much of architectural discourse today, even if the world that gave rise to Modernism has changed utterly.
As we say goodbye to 2019, a year that saw the centenary of the Bauhaus, we have collated a list of key architectural styles that defined Modernism in architecture. This tool for understanding the development of 20th-century design is complete with examples of each style, showcasing the practice of Modernism that lay behind the theory.
I taught architectural history in two schools of architecture during the 1980s and 1990s. Back then it was common for students to get a full three-semester course that began with Antiquity and ended with Modernism, with a nod to later twentieth-century architecture. My text for the middle section was Spiro Kostof’s magisterial History of Architecture: Settings and Rituals. With many centuries to cover, he spent very little effort in dealing with the twentieth century. In the last third of the course, students read texts such as Towards a New Architecture by Le Corbusier and Reyner Banham’s Theory and Design in the First Machine Age. My colleagues and I felt that we offered students a pluralistic and comprehensive review of key developments in the history of the built environment.
It is rare for a father and son to share the same birthday. Even rarer is it for such a duo to work in the same profession; rarer still for them both to achieve international success in their respective careers. This, however, is the story of Eliel and Eero Saarinen, the Finnish-American architects whose combined portfolio tells of the development of modernist architectural thought in the United States. From Eliel’s Art Nouveau-inspired Finnish buildings and modernist urban planning to Eero’s International Style offices and neo-futurist structures, the father-son duo produced a matchless body of work culminating in two individual AIA Gold Medals.
In the letter, Docomomo US President Theodore H.M. Prudon and Docomomo US NY/Tri-State President John Arbuckle highlight the structure’s critical acclaim and essential place within Modernist architectural history, urging the Commission to calendar the building for designation as quickly as possible.
But after new zoning legislation for the neighborhood was passed last year, the building’s current owner, JPMorgan Chase, has announced plans to raze the 707-foot-tall building in favor of a new, hi-tech supertall replacement. If plans go through, it would be the world’s largest and tallest building ever to be intentionally demolished.
In 1919, at a time in which Germany was still in upheaval over its defeat in the First World War (and compounded by the loss of its monarchy), the Academy of Fine Arts and School of Applied Arts in Weimar, Germany, were combined to form the first Bauhaus. Its stated goal was to erase the separation that had developed between artists and craftsmen, combining the talents of both occupations in order to achieve a unified architectonic feeling which they believed had been lost in the divide. Students of the Bauhaus were to abandon the framework of design standards that had been developed by traditional European schools and experiment with natural materials, abstract forms, and their own intuitions. Although the school’s output was initially Expressionist in nature, by 1922 it had evolved into something more in line with the rising International Style.
The architectural legacy of the Rockefeller family in Manhattan is well-known, most obviously demonstrated in the slab-like Art Deco towers of the Rockefeller Center and the ever-expanding campus of the MoMA. But in a city that is filled with landmarks and historic buildings, it's easy for even the most remarkable projects to go unrecognized. Philip Johnson's Rockefeller Guest House in Manhattan was completed in 1950, just one year after the construction of his better known Glass House in New Canaan. The Glass House is an obvious cousin to the later guest house: both feature largely empty glass and steel boxlike forms, where structural work is exposed and celebrated.
The Museum of Modern Art in New York (MoMA) has released an online archive of over 3,500 of the museum’s past exhibitions from its founding in 1929 to today. Free and available to the public, the database contains photographs, press releases, checklists, catalogues and lists of featured artists.
Rio de Janeiro is a city of sights and sounds. As diverse as its people is the collection of impressive architecture found in Brazil’s second most populous city—from Eurocentric historical architecture to 20th century regionalist modern marvels, not to mention the city’s growing crop of contemporary cultural venues. The combination of mountainous terrain, lush rainforest, and the ocean inspires many to create lively and unique architecture.
In preparation for the 2016 Summer Olympics, the city has enlisted a crop of internationally renowned architects including Santiago Calatrava, whose work joins Rio's existing masterpieces from architects such as Oscar Niemeyer. But apart from its "Capital A" Architecture, the city of Rio is home to thousands of residents living in the now-famous favelas—interesting subjects of inquiry for those interested in the concept of spontaneous urban growth. There’s a building for just about every architecture fan visiting Rio this year or anytime in the future.
Once dubbed a “flying saucer,” the Parish (Church) of the Holy Sacrifice is a Modernist expression which embodies the complex colonial history of the Philippines. Located on a university campus in Quezon City (formerly the capital of the nation, now a part of the Metro Manila National Capital Region), the domed concrete church was the product of Filipino architect Leandro Locsin, and of three other national artists who contributed to the building’s interior. Locsin’s design, which combines elements of traditional Filipino architecture with postwar International aesthetics, is a potent symbol of a newly-independent nation following centuries of imperial control.
Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill'sVeterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland, Oregon has been on the chopping block for some time now: since the city’s NBA team moved to the Moda Center (known also as the Rose Garden) next door in 1995, the building has struggled to find the funding necessary for maintenance, and since 2009 calls have been made for the demolition of the iconic modernist structure. The threat reached peak levels last October, when the Portland City Council nearly voted to approve a proposal for demolition before ultimately denying it by a narrow 3-2 margin.