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.
Modernism: The Latest Architecture and News
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
LA's Pershing Square Is Preparing for a Redesign—And Some Worry They Are Losing a Valuable Civic Space
Surrounded on all sides by "business blocks of architectural beauty and metropolitan dimensions," the intersecting planes of Pershing Square in Los Angeles provide a modernist retreat for many Angelinos in the downtown area. While to some, the square's large stucco tower and aqueduct-like water feature serve as a cultural landmark, the park has drawn negative press due to its lack of green space and abundance of drug-related activity. John Moody purposefully concentrates on the perception, memory, and identity of the space in his documentary Redemption Square—winner of the Best Urban Design Film 2017 at the New Urbanism Film Festival. Using the voice of strangers, residents and those who used to call it home, Moody guides you from the park’s formation in 1866 to its impending renewal: a “radically flat” redesign courtesy of Agence Ter and Gruen Associates.
Nominations are now open for the 2018 World Monuments Fund/Knoll Modernism Prize. Celebrating its tenth anniversary, the prize recognizes architects or designers that have demonstrated innovative solutions to preserve or save threatened modern architecture.
April 26th saw the 32nd anniversary of the 1986 Chernobyl Nuclear Disaster, with the explosion of the Reactor 4 of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine causing the direct deaths of 31 people, the spreading of radioactive clouds across Europe, and the effective decommissioning of 19 miles of land in all directions from the plant. Thirty-two years later, a dual reading of the landscape is formed: one of engineering extremes, and one of eeriness and desolation.
As the anniversary of the disaster and its fallout passes, we have explored the past, present, and future of the architecture of Chernobyl, charting the journey of a landscape which has burned and smoldered, but may yet rise from the ashes.
Cape Town native Alexis Christodoulou is a winemaker by day but also dabbles in the art of 3D visualization. His Instagram (@teaaalexis) is a striking composition of intricate spaces rich with color, light, and materiality. Crafted entirely from scratch, each of Christodoulou's digital worlds appears to be influenced by many of the modernist masters. In a recent interview with Curbed, Christodoulou lists Aldo Rossi, David Chipperfield and Le Corbusier among his inspirations.
Much has been said about the new "Instagram aesthetic." Put that together with the emerging role of Instagram and other social media platforms in the design process, and the result is a new type of digital art form. Christodoulou's page is the creative collection of a year-long personal challenge to regularly create and publish images of his own fantasy worlds, which has resulted in a community of nearly 20K followers.
Get lost in more of the images below.
Growing Up in a Glass House: What Is it Like to Be the Daughter of an Uncompromising Modernist Architect?
This article was originally published on Common Edge as "Growing Up in a Glass House: An Architect’s Daughter Explores Modernism’s Shadow."
Elizabeth W Garber’s new book, Implosion: A Memoir of an Architect’s Daughter (She Writes Press), tells the story of growing up in a glass house, designed by her father, Woodie Garber, once called “Cincinnati’s most extreme, experimental, and creative Modernist architect.” The memoir, which will be released in June, focuses on a family caught in a collision between modern architecture, radical social change, and madness in the turbulent 1960s in Cincinnati. Recently I talked to Garber about the book, the strictures of Modernism, and why she couldn’t live in a glass house today.
Urban Summer School: Open Form – Lublin 2018
26 August 2018 - 08 September 2018
Application deadline: May 7, 2018
Completed works by one of the most discussed architectural tandems in post-war Poland, Oskar (1922-2005) and Zofia (1924-2013) Hansen, will become a testing ground for the duration of the Urban Summer School, that is, for two weeks. This international and interdisciplinary project is yet another instalment of the “Visions and Experiences” summer school, initiated by the Centre for Urban History of East Central Europe in Lviv, and devoted to urban issues. We welcome undergraduate and postgraduate students, researchers and young professionals operating
Modernism on the East Coast – Philip Johnson and the Harvard Five
Our 2018 Iconic Houses Conference and House Tours will explore the East Coast of the USA, retracing the root taken by Modernism when it arrived from Europe. In particular, the New Canaan area has an impressive number of high-quality Modernist homes, because the architects who taught at Harvard built houses for themselves and their friends here. New Canaan is naturally mainly associated with the Glass House. And many of the other masterpieces are the work of Philip Johnson and the Harvard Five. In the 1940s, a group of five
How can we plan a better city? The answer has confounded architects and urban planners since the birth of the industrial city. One attempt at answering came in the form of a spectacular modernist proposal outside of Amsterdam called the Bijlmermeer. And, as a new two-part episode by 99% Invisible reveals, it failed miserably. But, like all histories, the story is not as simple as it first appears.
The argument, made by architectural historian Charles Jencks in the introduction for the recently released book Postmodern Design Complete, that Postmodern styles never truly left the architectural profession is stronger than ever. The movement from the late 70s and 80s which began as a reaction against the utopian canon of modernism has recently been re-entering the architecture scene and defining our present moment of architectural culture.
This brings up an important question: What is the current movement of architecture? And what came directly after postmodernism? If anything, it was an immediate cry of “No more Po-Mo,” followed recently by a wave of “save Po-Mo” perhaps best demonstrated by the rallying to save Philip Johnson’s AT&T Tower from a Snøhetta makeover. Even Norman Foster claimed that although he was never a fan of the postmodern movement, he understood its importance in architectural history. Postmodernism is making its recursive return with Stirling-esque rule-breaking jokes and pictorial appearances.