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20 th century expressions V: Modernist architecture Van Alen, Chrysler Building New York, 1928-30.

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Presentation on theme: "20 th century expressions V: Modernist architecture Van Alen, Chrysler Building New York, 1928-30."— Presentation transcript:

1 20 th century expressions V: Modernist architecture Van Alen, Chrysler Building New York, 1928-30

2 What is the difference between architecture and building? In terms of our Conceptual Relationship, how does architecture differ from other arts? Jorn Utzon, Sydney Opera House, 1973 Commercial buildings; Private dwellings; Factories; Railway stations; Public housing; State architecture

3 …that is, buildings created by the Government for public, or institutional use…e.g. Parliament Houses; hospitals; libraries. Considering the building as an artwork, how do buildings like this represent the world? Mitchell/ Giurgola, Parliament House, Canberra, 1981-88

4 The 20 th century saw huge changes in architectural design, based upon changing needs… Industrialization continued at great pace…needed new buildings to house new machines; Accelerating increase in populations; Movement of large amounts of people into urban areas away from rural ones…this led to different ways of moving and living. SantElia Cita Nuova, 1913 Tony Garnier, La Cite Industrielle, 1901

5 Bauhaus Design School The Bauhaus (Germany, 1919-1933) was interested in craftsmanship, and the marrying of design, architecture and all fine arts. They had an awareness of the need to fit these ideas into a new, industrialised world. Bauhaus ideas were influential around the world. Walter Gropius, German (1883- 1969) Bauhaus workshop buildings c. 1925 Gropius was the founder of The Bauhaus school.

6 There was a severe housing shortage in Europe after WW1. There was a belief in helping people become better by means of better housing which met their needs. There was a desire also to tear down what was left of cities, which often included slums and unhealthy places to live, and create something new which took advantage of the new materials and processes available. Gropius, Torten Estate house, Dessau Germany 1926-8:

7 New materials… At the end of 19 th century cast iron and steel manufacture became cheaper and more widely available. Iron and steel replaced the traditional materials of wood and stone. This became much more widespread with 20 th century. At first, architects wanted to hide the fact theyd used iron or steel, as there was a hierarchy of materials... Gustave Eiffel, Eiffel Tower, 1889,

8 Joseph Paxton, Great Exhibition Building, London 1851 The Crystal Palace in 1851 used cast iron framing and vast amounts of plate glass. This was a recent development.

9 Concrete… Used by ancient Romans, then largely forgotten. 1890s – reinforced with steel mesh which made it much stronger and able to be used in long spans. Started being used, but disguised as stone. Eventually, architects began to explore it as a material in its own right. It began to be used for both interiors and exteriors. truth to materials Le Corbusier, Villa Savoye, 1928-9

10 Steel skeletons that scraped the sky… Height has been seen as a desirable characteristic of important buildings for millennia. The use of steel to build a skeleton which could support tall buildings became widespread in the new century. However commercial buildings were often conservative, and more traditional decorations were put OVER the modern structure. This looking to traditional ornament and style overlaying the modern is referred to as historicism. Hood & Howells, Chicago Tribune Tower 1922 – A modern steel and glass construction with an overlay of Gothic features.

11 A steel skeleton meant that the walls of the building did not have to help carry the weight. Therefore, lighter materials such as glass became more popularly used. This use of glass as a non-load bearing aspect of design of a building is called a curtain wall. Le Corbusier & others, UN Building, New York 1952 Glass…

12 Functionalism Form follows function – a famous quote by architect Louis Sullivan, one of the first architects to design skyscrapers (in Chicago USA.) What he meant by this was that the use to which the building would be put should dictate what it looked like; how it should be designed. This emphasis on function is characteristic of Modernist architecture, though interpreted in various ways.

13 International Style… Alvar Aalto, (Finland 1898-1976) Tuberculosis Sanitarium Finland, 1929-33, an example of International style. 1928 – formation of the Congres Internationaux dArchitecture Moderne – an international group of architects. There was a push for building designs which could be truly international. Where the ideas of the Bauhaus were concerned with social ideals, the International Style eventually came to be associated with Capitalism and the wealth of the Western world.

14 Characteristics of the International Style, which started in 1920s but which only took off after WW2, were: Steel skeleton allowing flexibility with both positioning, and materials used for walls; No or minimal ornamentation; Flat roof; Created with the function of the building in mind; Standardised, prefabricated parts. No historicism – that is, harking back to classical or other styles. The look is more abstract & simple.

15 Australia also followed the modernist style in architecture Australias first office tower was, Australia Square Tower, 1961 designed by Harry Seidler (a student of Gropius after he came to USA.) It includes specially commissioned artworks to decorate the building. It is still regarded as being International Style, as it is simple and abstract. It was regarded as very innovative in the use of light- weight concrete.

16 Modernism saw an increase in architectural design for private dwellings for the affluent, well-educated middle classes. These private homes were often much more adventurous or avant-garde in design than public buildings, which had to consider public values and taste and tended to be much more historicist (that is, looking to traditional styles and taste.) Mies van de Rohe, (German, 1886-1969 ) Farnsworth House Illinois, 1950. Whilst watching this clip, consider the relationship between the artist and the world…. 1; 85F5ED630353D&index=16&feature=plpp_video 2:

17 So how do architects go about their art-making practice? Unlike most other visual artists, they have a relationship with their audience well before they start building. Drawings, plans, maquettes (models) of the buildings and nowadays CAD images are used to discuss the planned building. They have to consider many aspects in the design. We could say they have to consider all frames…subjective; structural; postmodern; cultural. Mies van de Rohe, maquette for Seagram bulding plaza 1969.

18 Resources Louis Sullivan: The Tall Office Building artistically considered: Hollingsworth, Mary: Architecture of the 20 th century. Greenwhich, CT: Brompton Books Co, 1988. Museum of Modern Art: Peel, Lucy, Powell, Polly & Garrett, Alexander, An introduction to 20 th century architecture. London: 1989, Quintet Publishing. Parliament House: Australia Square: Modernist Australia: Bauhaus Dessau Project:

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