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The Impact of Modernism in Architecture

The modern world has brought a great number of changes to the many facets of society. One of them being a change in the way that architecture is being created. The traditional notion of the architect as an artist is slowly fading, becoming a past concept and a romantic notion of the trade. Architects were known in the past as the highest form of artists.

The process of creating a physical object with an idea that is formed in the artists’ mind which then is put on paper and later occupying public space in the real world. The debate of whether or not architecture should still be considered a form of art is ongoing. Nowadays, the process of designing and creating new architecture with the help of computer algorithms. Art and architecture have always had a connection as both of them expressed some form of the idea. The software can be used to create renderings of development areas and can help the layout of buildings in a residential area or office buildings.

Creating Architecture Using Computer Software

Whether the structure is meant for an office space or residential building, its architecture should be able to reflect its function. Places, where this can be seen, is at most casino resorts around the world. Casinos are often associated with glamour and excess, this can be seen in many well-known establishments such as those found in Las Vegas and Macau.

Many well-known architects strongly agree that architecture is not art, a site is not a form of self-expression and that FORM is a major focus of architects when designing structures, which contributes to the evolution of society. On the other side, many other architects view themselves as artists. Many of them hold exhibitions by using photographs, as well as 2D and 3D renderings. Architecture is more than just something for the eye to view. Besides the functional aspect, such as providing shelter, good architecture can have an overall positive influence on a person’s wellbeing.

Modern Art Movements and Architecture

Throughout history, no other architectural movement is more obvious than baroque. The idea behind baroque was the representation of infinity putting great emphasis on lighting and architectural style that seemed almost theatrical. Artists implemented new techniques to achieve this, including Quadro riportato, quadrature and lastly trompe l’oeil, all of them being techniques used to form the final result, as all of these three combined managed to bring seamless transition between the paintings and sculpture. The technique was not only used in baroque but during the Rennaissance as well.

A more modern approach to decorative architecture is Art Nouveau. The style is characterized by the uses of long decorative organic lines, used most notably in architecture but in other decorative arts as well such as jewelry and glass designs, posters and illustration. The purpose of the art movement was to create a new modern style, free from the artistic constraints that were prevalent during the 19th century. The visual style of Art Nouveau is obtained by the use of asymmetrical, undulating lines, often inspired by plant, insect and other natural and delicate forms. One famous example of Art Nouveau is found at the abandoned casino in Constanța, Romania, another important example at the Casino de Monte Carlo, in Monaco.

Today, people are able to play all kinds of games on the internet such as online roulette, poker or blackjack. However, it does not compare to playing these table games at a real casino, especially one of the Art Nouveau style. The casino in Constanța remains abandoned, but recently, plans to restore this one famous casino are being made. When it opened its doors it was met with some criticism, however, a year later, it became one of the most famous casinos, attracting people from all over Europe. Restoration of this once famous building may prove challenging. Its most important feature is its Art Nouveau decorations which must be maintained and not altered in any way whatsoever.

The Birth of the Bauhaus Movement

During its first years, Art Nouveau was a response from architects and artists who witnessed modern industrialism producing poor imitations and poorly-made objects of previous periods and with Art Nouveau, they sought to bring back good craftsmanship while at the same time producing objects that reflected their utility. Many also believe that Art Nouveau was a way to strip the excessive decorations from previous styles and to “clean” the form. The idea was taken to the extreme with the Bauhaus movement when architects went all-in in stripping any form of decoration implying the idea that the form of a building should serve its function, resulting in bland architecture.

Bauhaus was established in 1919 by Walter Gropius and was the most influential movement, changing many aspects of architecture, decorative arts, design, industrial and interior design with the idea of bringing them together under one roof. Bauhaus architecture was bare, exposing the modern construction materials and not hiding them. Steel, concrete, and glass were the most used and the philosophy was to construct the building representative of the machine age.

The school of Bauhaus brought an extreme transformation to society and traditionalism. From the very start, it gained much criticism, many citing that the movement, especially in architecture was neutral and degenerative in contrast to traditional architecture. The focus on function over form was accentuated after its founder left and Hannes Meyer took his place in 1928. The movement lasted about a decade, but its philosophy is still seen to this day. The environment that we live in greatly influences our daily lives. Recently there has been a call for beauty in modern architecture. James Stevens Curl, a renowned architectural historian release one of his most famous books known as “Making Dystopia” which emphasizes his distaste for modernism, calling modern architecture as barbaric.

Structures Having Modern Architecture

Metal and steel building construction outside image

The modern architectural style paved the path for today’s architects to explore. Modern architecture emphasizes simplicity and minimalism. Below are some examples of structures that use modern architecture concept.

  • Chrysler Building- This 77-story skyscraper is located in Midtown Manhattan. It stands 319 meters tall and was first introduced to the public in 1930. Architect William Van Alen created it in the Art Deco style. This structure is used as a business building.
  • Flatiron Building- This 87-meter triangular steelframed skyscraper in the Beaux-Arts-Renaissance-Renaissance Revival style was completed in 1902. It was designed by architects Daniel Burnham and Frederick P. Dinkelberg. This is one of the steel-frame buildings. It serves as both an office building and a commercial space. It can be visited in New York City.
  • Ingalls Building- In Ohio, a neoclassical tower stands tall and strong. Alfred Oscar Elzner, an architect, created the design, and it debuted in 1903. It is an office building with 16 storeys.
  • La Sagrada Familia- This is a basilica located in Barcelona, Spain. Constructed in 1882, it is 172 meters tall. Modernisme, Art Nouveau, Gothic Revival, Noucentisme, and Spanish Gothic are all combined in this architectural style. It was created by architects Antoni Gaud, Jordi Bonet I Armengol, Jordi Faul I Oller, among others.
  • E-1027- France is the home of this contemporary villa. Architects Jean Badovici and Eileen Gray designed it in 1929. The Conservatoire du Littoral is now the property’s owner.
  • Havenhuis- Zaha Hadid created the 46-meter structure with neo-futurism influences. The Antwerp Ports Authority is one of the offices it contains, which is situated in Belgium. From 2009 to 2016, it was constructed. It features a modern diamond-shaped structure with straight edges, and a second column supports it from the floor.
  • Bay Lake Tower- Walt Disney owns this modern vacation club, which debuted to the general public in 2009. It functions as the city of Florida’s radio and television station as well as viewing tower.
  • Hotel Marques de Riscal- This Luxury Class Hotel is located in Spain.Modern architectural design was used in its creation by Frank Gehry. A winery owned by the posh hotel’s owners is visible from the hotel.
  • Louis Vuitton Foundation- Frank Gehry designed this French Museum in a modern aesthetic. It debuted in 2014 and is situated in France.
  • Apple Park- This business complex with neo-futurism influences is located in California and was created by Norman Foster. It has a 2,820,000 square foot floor space and was constructed in 2017.
  • National Museum of Qatar- In 2019, a structure with a revolutionary style created by Jean Nouvel was established. Desert rose crystal served as inspiration for the museum’s architecture.
  • Millbank Tower- This skyscraper in London, UK is 119 meters high. It was made available to the public in 1962 and has 33 floors. It was created by Ronald Ward, and its architecture is modernist.
  • Shanghai Tower- At 128 stories and a height of 632 meters, this skyscraper is extremely tall. It is the tallest structure in the all of China. Marshall Strabala, Arthur Gensler, Andy Cohen, and Jun Xia are its architects, and it is built in a futuristic and high-tech style.
  • Berliner Fernsehturm- A representation of communist dominance is this 368-meter tower. It is found in the heart of Berlin. It contains a rotating restaurant and a viewing gallery and inaugurated in 1969. It has a futuristic thin tower shape.
  • Bangladesh National Parliament – The structure of the Parliament in this nation is a combination of modern and brutalist architecture. It was designed by Muzharul Islam and Louis Kahn. It has a 200-acre floor area. It is referred to as Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban locally.
  • The Getty- Richard Meier created this contemporary building. In 1997, it was made accessible to the general public. It is in Los Angeles and functions as a museum.
  • Chapel of the Holy Cross- Arizona is the home of this Roman Catholic chapel. Contextualism-inspired chapel built by August K. Strotz and Richard Hein is perched directly on the red sandstone.  It was completed in 1956.
  • The Gateway Arch- A 630-foot-tall monument, its design combines modern and high-tech architecture. It was founded in 1965 and can be visited in Missouri. It covers a space of 25 hectares.
  • One World Trade Center- Once called the Freedom Tower, this 541-meter-tall structure in New York City was designed by Daniel Libeskind, David Childs, and T. Goddiener, J. It draws inspiration from both contemporary and modern architecture. It was made available to the public in 2014 and has 104 floors.
  • Geisel Library- This structure houses a library in San Diego, California. It was created by architect William Pereira and is influenced by Brutalist architecture. It has 8 floors. 
  • Wainwright Building- Dankmar Adler, Louis Sullivan, and George Grant Elmslie were the architects that created this terracotta office building in Missouri. It was inaugurated in 1891, and the Chicago school served as the concept design.
  • BT Tower- This communication tower is situated in London, England, and it was constructed in 1961. It is 190 meters tall, has a modern design, and was created by architects G.R. Yeats as well as Eric Bedford.
  • Louvre Pyramid- This massive pyramid-shaped structure lies in Paris and is constructed of glass and steel. This type of architecture is futuristic and contemporary. It was designed by the Chinese architect IM Pei.
  • Atomium- The architects André and Jean Polak created this tourist destination in Belgium. It is 102 meters tall and features a modernist design.
  • Villa Tugendhat- Ludwig Mies van der Rohe created this villa in the Czech Republic that is influenced by international design and modern architecture. In 1930, it became publicly accessible.
  • La Tourette- This monastery is situated in the French city of Lyon’s hillside. International Style and Brutalist architecture served as inspiration for the design of this modern building. Designed by Le Corbusier, it debuted in 1957.
  • Unite d’ Habitation de Marseille- This modernist housing development is located in France. Le Corbusier and architect-painter Nadir Afonso collaborated on developing on the design.

Delve into the influence of modernism in architecture and discover how it shaped the world around us. Interested in ancient structures still standing strong? Explore our article, Where Are the Oldest Bridges Still in Use Today? for a fascinating journey through history.

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