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Modernism

MODERN EAST: Build Your Own Modernist DDR

14:38 - 11 December, 2018
MODERN EAST: Build Your Own Modernist DDR, Modern East by Zupagrafika
Modern East by Zupagrafika

Omnipresent plattenbau housing estates, monumental hochhäuser, cosmic milk bars; the post-war East Germany was rebuilt on concrete foundations to stand for the new modernity and shape the unique and no less controversial urban landscape of German Democratic Republic.

MODERN EAST: Build Your Own Modernist DDR is the new book by Zupagrafika celebrating socialist modernist and brutalist architecture of the former East Germany and allows you to playfully reconstruct some of the most intriguing edifices erected between early 1950s and late 1980s - from the massive plattenbauten of Rostock, through the icons of DDR-Moderne, like Kino International or Haus des Berliner

Brutal Britain: Build Your Own Brutalist Great Britain

11:37 - 11 December, 2018
Brutal Britain: Build Your Own Brutalist Great Britain, Brutal Britain by Zupagrafika
Brutal Britain by Zupagrafika

High-rise tower blocks, prefab panel housing estates, streets in the sky, new towns; some of the concrete constructions that once shaped the cityscapes of post-war Britain have stood the test of time, while others are long gone.

‘Brutal Britain’ by Zupagrafika (also author of ‘Brutal London’) celebrates the brutalist architecture of the British Isles, inviting readers to explore the Modern past of Great Britain and rebuild some of its most intriguing post-war edifices, from the iconic slabs of Sheffield`s Park Hill and experimental tower blocks at Cotton Gardens in London, to the demolished Birmingham Central Library.

Opening with a foreword by architectural

Why do Beautiful Things Make us Happy - And Why Does Modernism Make us Sad?

05:00 - 30 November, 2018

A recent exhibition at the MAK Vienna - Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art, is showcasing the works of Sagmeister & Walsh, a NYC-based design firm investigating what makes beauty so appealing.

Titled "Beauty," the exhibition explores the notion that beauty operates as an independent function, and that in itself, it can be the primary motive for architecture: form is a function. In collaboration with the YouTube channel and design studio Kurzgesagt (In A Nutshell), this video released along with the exhibition explains why beautiful things make us happy.

© Aslan Kudrnofsky © Aslan Kudrnofsky © John Madere © Aslan Kudrnofsky + 6

Rethinking Le Corbusier's Manifesto: 6 Explorations That Break Away From Modernist Ideals

04:00 - 30 November, 2018
The Society of the Spectacle / Guy Debord
The Society of the Spectacle / Guy Debord

“A model by Corbusier is the only image that brings to my mind the idea of immediate suicide.” - Ivan Chtcheglov

Despite their pranks and dirty politics, the Situationists may have been right after all. The death of architecture students will not be a result of excessive studio work, but will rather occur from the sermonizing repetition of modernist ideals that continue to be taught. In Le Corbusier's manifesto, Vers une Architecture (Toward An Architecture), he advocates for the adoption of modern architecture as the solution to 20th-century global crises, in a way that now seems rather limiting. 

If the discipline doesn't move past the black-and-white photographs of the Barcelona Pavilion or the reductionist designs of the Bauhaus, students will continue to produce what may now be incorrectly associated with the “right architecture.” In order to break away from these stereotypes of what architecture should be, here are six explorations of building, curating and writing that resist these notions:

via MVRDV Courtesy of Joanna E. Grant © Plamen Petkov Courtesy of Sarah Wigglesworth Architects + 19

Modernism: The International Style that Wasn't

09:30 - 20 November, 2018
Modernism: The International Style that Wasn't, Farnsworth House / Mies van der Rohe. Image
Farnsworth House / Mies van der Rohe. Image

This article was originally published on CommonEdge as "Was Modernism Really International? A New History Says No."

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.

Villa Tugendhat / Mies van der Rohe. Image © Iwan Baan © Iwan Baan © Thomas Lewandovski + 15

AD Classics: TWA Flight Center / Eero Saarinen

22:00 - 21 October, 2018
AD Classics: TWA Flight Center / Eero Saarinen, © Cameron Blaylock
© Cameron Blaylock

This article was originally published on June 16, 2016. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section.

Built in the early days of airline travel, the TWA Terminal is a concrete symbol of the rapid technological transformations which were fueled by the outset of the Second World War. Eero Saarinen sought to capture the sensation of flight in all aspects of the building, from a fluid and open interior, to the wing-like concrete shell of the roof. At TWA’s behest, Saarinen designed more than a functional terminal; he designed a monument to the airline and to aviation itself.

This AD Classic features a series of exclusive images by Cameron Blaylock, photographed in May 2016. Blaylock used a Contax camera and Zeiss lenses with Rollei black and white film to reflect camera technology of the 1960s.

© Cameron Blaylock © Cameron Blaylock © Cameron Blaylock © Cameron Blaylock + 26

AD Classics: Venice Hospital / Le Corbusier

22:00 - 16 October, 2018
AD Classics: Venice Hospital / Le Corbusier, Model. Image © Fondation Le Corbusier (FLC/ADAGP)
Model. Image © Fondation Le Corbusier (FLC/ADAGP)

This article was originally published on August 15, 2016. To read the stories behind other celebrated architecture projects, visit our AD Classics section.

Le Corbusier made an indelible mark on Modernist architecture when he declared “une maison est une machine-à-habiter” (“a house is a machine for living”). His belief that architecture should be as efficient as machinery resulted in such proposals such as the Plan Voisin, a proposal to transform the Second Empire boulevards of Paris into a series of cruciform skyscrapers rising from a grid of freeways and open parks.[1] Not all of Le Corbusier’s concepts, however, were geared toward such radical urban transformation. His 1965 proposal for a hospital in Venice, Italy, was notable in its attempt at seeking aesthetic harmony with its unique surroundings: an attempt not to eradicate history, but to translate it.

Model. Image © Fondation Le Corbusier (FLC/ADAGP) Plan Plan Situation Plan + 7

AD Classics: Master Plan for Chandigarh / Le Corbusier

16:30 - 6 October, 2018
AD Classics: Master Plan for Chandigarh / Le Corbusier, © Laurian Ghinitoiu
© Laurian Ghinitoiu

On August 15, 1947, on the eve of India’s independence from the United Kingdom, came a directive which would transform the subcontinent for the next six decades. In order to safeguard the country’s Muslim population from the Hindu majority, the departing colonial leaders set aside the northwestern and eastern portions of the territory for their use. Many of the approximately 100 million Muslims living scattered throughout India were given little more than 73 days to relocate to these territories, the modern-day nations of Pakistan and Bangladesh. As the borders for the new countries were drawn by Sir Cyril Radcliffe (an Englishman whose ignorance of Indian history and culture was perceived, by the colonial government, as an assurance of his impartiality), the state of Punjab was bisected between India and Pakistan, the latter of which retained ownership of the state capital of Lahore.[1] It was in the wake of this loss that Punjab would found a new state capital: one which would not only serve the logistical requirements of the state, but make an unequivocal statement to the entire world that a new India—modernized, prosperous, and independent—had arrived.

© Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu © Laurian Ghinitoiu + 59

Spotlight: Le Corbusier

05:30 - 6 October, 2018
Spotlight: Le Corbusier, Notre Dame du Haut at Ronchamp. Image © <a href='www.flickr.com/photos/9160678@N06/2089042156'>Flickr user scarletgreen</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/'>CC BY 2.0</a>
Notre Dame du Haut at Ronchamp. Image © Flickr user scarletgreen licensed under CC BY 2.0

Born in the small Swiss city of La Chaux-de-Fonds, Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris—better known by his pseudonym Le Corbusier (October 6, 1887 – August 27, 1965)—is widely regarded as the most important architect of the 20th century. As a gifted architect, provocative writer, divisive urban planner, talented painter, and unparalleled polemicist, Le Corbusier was able to influence some of the world’s most powerful figures, leaving an indelible mark on architecture that can be seen in almost any city worldwide.

Palace of the Assembly at Chandigarh. Image © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/70608042@N00/1321525329'>Flickr user chiara_facchetti</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/'>CC BY-SA 2.0</a> Villa Savoye. Image © Flavio Bragaia Church at Firminy. Image © Richard Weil Swiss Pavilion. Image © Samuel Ludwig + 25

You Can Stay Overnight at the Bauhaus Dessau

06:00 - 11 September, 2018
You Can Stay Overnight at the Bauhaus Dessau, Photo: Copyright of Bauhaus Dessau
Photo: Copyright of Bauhaus Dessau

One of the most influential 20th-century architecture schools, the Bauhaus experienced its glory days in the city of Dessau between 1925 and 1932. Under the direction of Walter Gropius, Hannes Meyer, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the emblematic educational complex was a place for work and housing for some of the most renowned personalities of architecture, design, and art of the last century.

Although the school in Dessau operated for a limited time with few people having the opportunity to experience the prolific environment, it left a deep impact on the architectural production that followed. The buildings that are part of the complex - both in Dessau and Weimar - were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1996 and are now open for visitation.

The Wild Churches of Kerala, Southern India as Captured by Stefanie Zoche

12:00 - 20 August, 2018
© Stefanie Zoche
© Stefanie Zoche

Photographer Stefanie Zoche of Haubitz-Zoche has captured a series of vibrant images showcasing the “hybrid modernism” churches of the Southern Indian region of Kerala. The images below, also available on the artist’s website, depict the blend of modernist influences and local architectural elements that defined many Indian churches following the country's 1947 independence.

As Zoche explains, the post-independence Indian church establishment sought to differentiate itself from the historic colonial building style, and hence drew inspiration from the modernist icon Le Corbusier. The buildings in Zoche’s gallery often display an “effusively sculptural formal language and a use of intense color” with Christian symbols “directly transposed into a three-dimensional, monumental construction design.”

© Stefanie Zoche © Stefanie Zoche © Stefanie Zoche © Stefanie Zoche + 29

Eliel and Eero Saarinen: The Sweeping Influence of Architecture's Greatest Father-Son Duo

09:30 - 20 August, 2018
St Louis Gateway Arch. Image © Flickr user jeffnps licensed under CC BY 2.0
St Louis Gateway Arch. Image © Flickr user jeffnps licensed under CC BY 2.0

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.

© MWAA <a href='https://pt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ficheiro:FirstChristianChurch.jpg'>Photo by Greg Hume</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5/deed.pt'>CC BY-SA 2.5</a> © <a href='https://www.flickr.com/photos/gabyu/305710396'>Ezra Stoller via Flikr user gabyu</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/'>CC BY-ND 2.0</a> © <a href='https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Helsinki_Railway_Station_20050604.jpg'>Revontuli</a> licensed under <a href='https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en'>CC BY-SA 3.0</a> + 22

Three Defining Movements in Architectural Photography

06:00 - 19 August, 2018
Three Defining Movements in Architectural Photography, Bernd Becher, Hilla Becher. Framework Houses, 1959-73. © 2018 Hilla Becher. Credits: MoMA; Gift from Hilla Becher. Under "Fair Use"
Bernd Becher, Hilla Becher. Framework Houses, 1959-73. © 2018 Hilla Becher. Credits: MoMA; Gift from Hilla Becher. Under "Fair Use"

From the first experiments carried out by the French Joseph Niépce in 1793, and his most successful test in 1826, photography became an object of exploring and a resource for registering lived moments and places of the world. Within the broad spectrum of photographic production throughout history, architecture has frequently played a leading role on the records, be it from the perspective of photography as an art, document or, as it was often the case, an instrument for cultural construction.

Having great autonomy as a practice and of particular debate inside this theme, architectural photography has the ability to reaffirm a series of expressive features of the portrayed works, create tension in their relation to the surroundings, and propose specific or generic readings of buildings, among other investigative possibilities.

What is Deconstructivism?

09:30 - 12 August, 2018
What is Deconstructivism?, Tschumi's Parc de la Villette . Image Courtesy of The Architectural Review
Tschumi's Parc de la Villette . Image Courtesy of The Architectural Review

If we define “deconstructivism” (although it is not a verified word in the dictionary), it literally translates to the breaking down, or demolishing of a constructed structure, whether it being for structural reasons or just an act of rebellion. It is perhaps for this this reason that many misunderstand the Deconstructivist movement.

Deconstructivism is, in fact, not a new architecture style, nor is it an avant-garde movement against architecture or society. It does not follow “rules” or acquire specific aesthetics, nor is it a rebellion against a social dilemma. It is the unleashing of infinite possibilities of playing around with forms and volumes.

The City of Culture in Santiago de Compostela, Spain. Image Courtesy of Eisenman Architects Frank Gehry House. Image © Liao Yusheng Port offices of Antwerp, Zaha Hadid Architects. Image © Helene Binet Eisenman's The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. Image Courtesy of Flickr user dalbera licensed under CC BY 2.0 + 15

Learn About Open Floor Plans Via These 6 Iconic Residences

06:00 - 13 July, 2018
Learn About Open Floor Plans Via These 6 Iconic Residences, Villa Tugendhat / Mies van der Rohe. © Alexandra Timpau
Villa Tugendhat / Mies van der Rohe. © Alexandra Timpau

Le Corbusier's "Five Points of Architecture" functioned in the twentieth century as the go-to guide for architectural production; it is also a significant work in understanding the legacy of modern architecture. Horizontal windows, free design of the facade, pilotis, roof gardens, and perhaps the most significant point, free design of the ground plan form the Franco-Swiss architect's manifesto. In terms of design practice, this last point means distinguishing structure and wrapper, which allows the free disposal of dividing walls that no longer fulfill a structural function.

Residential projects were once characterized by a clear division of environments linked to domestic dynamics, now filtered by modern discourse, the house became flexible and capable of new spatial articulations.

To better understand the modern domestic space, we gathered some of the most emblematic examples of residences and their floor plans.

The House of Soviets: Why Should This Symbolic Work of Soviet Brutalism be Preserved?

10:30 - 1 July, 2018
© Maria Gonzalez
© Maria Gonzalez

© Maria Gonzalez © Maria Gonzalez © Maria Gonzalez © Maria Gonzalez + 20

The House of Soviets is a Russian brutalist building designed by architect Yulian L. Shvartsbreim. Located in the center of Kaliningrad, the building has been abandoned since mid-construction. However, its inhabitants recognize it as the most important urban landmark in their city. They usually refer to the structure as "the face of the robot," since its strange shape conjures images of a robot buried up to its neck, only showing its face.

No One is Born Modern: The Early Works of 20th Century Architecture Icons

08:00 - 6 June, 2018
No One is Born Modern: The Early Works of 20th Century Architecture Icons

In the ambit of architecture, much of the twentieth century is marked by a production that reads, in general, as modern. The foundations of this work have been the subject of discussion for at least six decades, bringing together conflicting opinions about the true intention behind the modern gestalt.

Spotlight: Walter Gropius

07:30 - 18 May, 2018
Bauhaus, 1925. Image ©  Thomas Lewandovski
Bauhaus, 1925. Image © Thomas Lewandovski

One of the most highly regarded architects of the 20th century, Walter Gropius (18 May 1883 – 5 July 1969) was one of the founding fathers of Modernism, and the founder of the Bauhaus, the German "School of Building" that embraced elements of art, architecture, graphic design, interior design, industrial design, and typography in its design, development and production.