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International Style Architecture Essay Outline

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International Style

1. the general form of architecture developed in the 1920s and 1930s by Gropius, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, and others, characterized by simple geometric forms, large untextured, often white, surfaces, large areas of glass, and general use of steel or reinforced concrete construction.

2. (sometimes l.c. ) any of various 20th-century styles in art, as cubism or abstract expressionism, that have gained wide currency in Europe, the Americas, Asia, and elsewhere.

Architectural style that developed in Europe and the U.S. in the 1920s and '30s and dominated Western architecture in the mid 20th century.

The term was first used in 1932 by Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson in their essay "The International Style: Architecture Since 1922." The style's most common characteristics are rectilinear forms, open interior spaces, large expanses of glass, steel, and reinforced-concrete construction, and light, taut plane surfaces devoid of applied ornamentation. Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. and Le Corbusier are among the architects most clearly associated with the style. See also Bauhaus .

Savoye House, Poissy, Fr. an International Style residence by Le Corbusier, 1929–30

architectural style that developed in Europe and the United States in the 1920s and '30s and became the dominant tendency in Western architecture during the middle decades of the 20th century. The most common characteristics of International Style buildings are rectilinear forms; light, taut plane surfaces that have been completely stripped of applied ornamentation and decoration; open interior spaces; and a visually weightless quality engendered by the use of cantilever construction. Glass and steel, in combination with usually less visible reinforced concrete, are the characteristic materials of construction. The term International Style was first used in 1932 by Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson (Johnson, Philip C. ) in their essay entitled The International Style: Architecture Since 1922, which served as a catalog for an architectural exhibition held at the Museum of Modern Art.

The International Style grew out of three phenomena that confronted architects in the late 19th century: (1) architects' increasing dissatisfaction with the continued use of stylistically eclectic buildings—e.g., ones incorporating a mix of decorative elements from different architectural periods and styles that bore little or no relation to the building's functions; (2) the economical creation of large numbers of office buildings and other commercial, residential, and civic structures that served a rapidly industrializing society (Industrial Revolution ); and (3) the development of new building technologies centring on the use of iron and steel. reinforced concrete. and glass. These three phenomena dictated the search for an honest, economical, and utilitarian architecture that would both use the new materials and satisfy society's new building needs while still appealing to aesthetic taste. Technology was a crucial factor; the new availability of cheap, mass-produced iron and steel and the discovery in the 1890s of those materials' effectiveness as primary structural members effectively rendered the old traditions of masonry (brick and stone) construction obsolete. The new use of steel-reinforced concrete as secondary support elements (floors, etc.) and of glass as sheathing for the exteriors of buildings completed the technology needed for modern building, and architects set about incorporating that technology into an architecture that openly recognized its new technical foundation. The International Style was thus formed under the dictates that modern buildings' form and appearance should naturally grow out of and express the potentialities of their materials and structural engineering. A harmony between artistic expression, function, and technology would thus be established in an austere and disciplined new architecture.

The International Style grew out of the work of a small group of brilliant and original architects in the 1920s who went on to achieve great influence in their field. These major figures included Walter Gropius (Gropius, Walter ) and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig ) in Germany and the United States, J.J.P. Oud in The Netherlands, Le Corbusier in France, and Richard Neutra and Philip Johnson in the United States.

Gropius and Mies were best known for their structures of glass curtain walls spanning steel girders that form the skeleton of the building. Important examples of Gropius' work are the Fagus Works (Alfeld-an-der-Leine, Ger .; 1911), the Bauhaus (Dessau. Ger .; 1925–26), and the Graduate Center at Harvard University (Cambridge. Mass .; 1949–50)—all of which show his concern for uncluttered interior spaces. Mies van der Rohe and his followers in the United States, who did much to spread the International Style, are most clearly identified with glass-and-steel skyscrapers (skyscraper ) such as the Lake Shore Drive Apartments (Chicago ; 1949–51) and the Seagram Building, done jointly with Philip Johnson (New York City ; 1958). Oud (Oud, Jacobus Johannes Pieter ) helped to bring more rounded and flowing geometric shapes to the movement. Le Corbusier (Corbusier, Le ), too. was interested in the freer treatment of reinforced concrete but added the concept of modular proportion in order to maintain a human scale in his work. Among his well-known works in the International Style is the Villa Savoye (Poissy. France ; 1929–31).

In the 1930s and '40s the International Style spread from its base in Germany and France to North and South America, Scandinavia, Britain, and Japan. The clean, efficient, geometric qualities of the style came to form the basis of the architectural vocabulary of the skyscraper in the United States in the 1950s and '60s. The International Style provided an aesthetic rationale for the stripped-down, clean-surfaced skyscrapers that became the status symbols of American corporate power and progressiveness at this time.

By the 1970s, some architects and critics had begun to chafe at the constraints and limitations inherent in the International Style. The bare and denuded quality of the steel-and-glass “boxes” that embodied the style by then appeared stultifying and formulaic. The result was a reaction against modernist architecture and a renewed exploration of the possibilities of innovative design and decoration. Architects began creating freer, more imaginative structures that used modern building materials and decorative elements to create a variety of novel effects. This movement became prominent in the late 1970s and early '80s and became known as Postmodernism.

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International Style Essay examples - essays papers

International Style Essay examples

International style is an architectural style that developed in Europe and the United States in the 1920s and 1930s. This style became the dominant tendency for western architecture in the later twentieth century. Common characteristics of International style buildings are rectangular forms that have been completely stripped of applied ornamentation and decoration, visually weightless qualities, open interior spaces, and an overwhelming association with geometry. Glass, steel, and reinforced concrete are the characteristic materials of construction. The International style grew from three phenomena that architects had to deal with; An incorporating mix of decorative elements from different architectual periods that had little or no relation to the building’s functions, the development and use of iron, steel, glass, and reinforced concrete, and the economical creation of large numbers of office buildings. These three phenomena basically outlined the search for an economical utilitarian architecture, an architecture that would use the new materials and still appeal to aesthetic taste.
Technology was key in this transition from tradition. The availability of cheap mass-produced iron and steel ultimately rendered masonry construction obsolete. “The International Style was thus formed under the dictates that modern buildings’form and appearance should naturally grow out of and express the potentialities of their materials and structural engineering. A harmony between artistic expression, function, and technology would thus be established in an austere and disciplined new architecture.”

The International Style grew from a small group of brilliant and original architects who went on to achieve greatness in their field. The major figures include Walter Gropius, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe of Germany. Gropius and Mies were best known for their structures containing glass curtain walls spanning steel girders that would form the skeleton of the building.

Walter Gropius (1883-1969) was in 1919 appointed to director of the Grand Ducal Saxon School of Arts and Crafts, Academy of Arts, and School of Arts which were immediately joined as the Staatliches Bauhaus Weimar (“Public Bauhaus Weimar”).

It was at this school that Gropius taught design principles. He saw architecture as ever changing, related to the contemporary world.


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. roblems. From the Greeks use of pillars for support and decoration (which have influenced architectural style since that time), to the medieval construction of castles (which saw the problems with masonry and brick solved). With the advent of steel and cast-iron a new architectural age became. With lighter, larger, and taller capabilities, the way our society looked, would never be the same. As American architects learned the principles of the new architecture, the name International Style was formed as a European-American hybrid. The name came in turn from a book called International Architecture by Walter Gropius. The underlying principles of the International style, sheerness, being plain, and flatness are filled with difficulties. Maintenance and weathering make it difficult to create an ideal, yet buildings that fit this description are seen in cities throughout the United States and world. “In postmodern architecture classical orders have been reintroduced as one of a number of contrasting design methods, so that the late 20th century architecture attempted to include historical references in its design and approach and was characterized by a new aesthetic pluralism.”

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International style architecture essay outline

Architecture/ International Style term paper 14660

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International style is an architectural style that developed in Europe and the United States in the 1920s and 1930s. This style became the dominant tendency for western architecture in the later twentieth century. Common characteristics of International style buildings are rectangular forms that have been completely stripped of applied ornamentation and decoration, visually weightless qualities, open interior spaces, and an overwhelming association with geometry. Glass, steel, and reinforced concrete are the characteristic materials of construction. The International style grew from three phenomena that architects had to deal with; An incorporating mix of decorative elements from different architectual periods that had little or no relation to the building’s functions, the development and use of iron, steel, glass, and reinforced concrete, and the economical creation of large numbers of office buildings. These three phenomena basically outlined the search for an economical utilitarian architecture, an architecture that would use the new materials and still appeal to aesthetic taste. Technology was key in this transition from tradition. The availability of cheap mass-produced iron and steel ultimately rendered masonry construction obsolete. “The International Style was thus formed under the dictates that modern buildings’form and appearance should naturally grow out of and express the potentialities of their materials and structural engineering. A harmony between artistic expression, function, and technology would thus be established in an austere and disciplined new architecture.”

The International Style grew from a small group of brilliant and original architects who went on to achieve greatness in their field. The major figures include Walter Gropius, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe of Germany. Gropius and Mies were best known for their structures containing glass curtain walls spanning steel girders that would form the skeleton of the building.

Walter Gropius (1883-1969) was in 1919 appointed to director of the Grand Ducal Saxon School of Arts and Crafts, Academy of Arts, and School of Arts which were immediately joined as the Staatliches Bauhaus Weimar (“Public Bauhaus Weimar”).

It was at this school that Gropius taught design principles. He saw architecture as ever changing, related to the contemporary world. He spoke of an architect’s duty to encompass the whole visual environment. He also emphasized housing and city planning, the usefulness of sociology, and the necessity of using specialists.

In 1925 the Bauhaus moved to Dessau with the promise of better financial support. Gropius designed the school building there and today it is known as one of his best works. In 1928 Walter Gropius resigned as head of the Bauhaus to work privately in Berlin. And in 1933 the Nazi regime had the Bauhaus closed. In 1944 after being a professor at Harvard University in Cambridge Massachusetts, he became a naturalized United States citizen. In addition to his teaching, Gropius associated with Marcel Breuer, a former student of the Bauhaus who had later sought a teaching job. Together they worked on Walter Gropius’ home in Lincoln Massachusetts. The design of this house was controversial at first but was slowly accepted. His house was designed with painted white wood and fieldstone, which “restated New England traditionalism.” In 1942 Gropius became the vice president of General Panel Corporation, a company that made prefabricated housing. He retired at the age of 69 in 1952, and was deceased at the age of 86. At his request his funeral was not to be a mournful occasion, and it was said that 70 of his friends drank champagne for 2 days after his death.

Marcel Breuer was one of the most influential architects of the International Style. He was very concerned with the uses of newly developed materials and technology to create an art expressive of an industrial age. From 1920 to 1928 he studied at the Bauhaus. There he followed the lead of Walter Gropius. In 1928 he began a private practice in Berlin, designing the Dolderthal Apartments in Zurich. In 1946 he moved to New York City and thereafter attracted numerous major commissions including the Sarah Lawrence College Theatre, Bronxville NY, St. Johns Abbey, in Collegeville Minnesota, and the International Business Machines research centre in La Guade France. He also designed the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, another of the founders of Bauhaus architecture, was born in Aachen Germany. In 1908 Mies began work with Peter Behrens as a draftsman. Behrens was a leader in the new German architecture of the twentieth century. While working for Behrens, he met Walter Gropius, who had been interested in some of Behrens work. After working for a modern art collector who had commissioned him to build her home, Mies went to war. After the war he opened an independent architecture practice that would keep him busy until 1938. The period between the two world wars was a great time for modern art. Modern art saw great advances not only in technology but also in acceptance. In 1938 Ludwig Mies van der Rohe moved to the United States to further develop his ideas and theories. He accepted a job at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. During the next 20 years he honed in on his architectural skills and weeded out his flaws. He had performed many experiments and through these we begin to fully understand the capabilities of steel. The Seagram Building in New York, the true essence of a skyscraper, would not be possible without the ingenuity of Ludwig. Although the American Skyscraper owes much to Louis Sullivan, the glass curtain is associated with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. As described by Frank Lloyd Wright, the “box” came to dominate American architecture during the second half of this century. “The Bauhaus is not a style; it is a condition of attitudes.” The Bauhaus Manifesto was to unite the teachings of fine and applied art and architecture, to educate creative peoples who were capable of creating “total works of art.” Bauhaus derived from “hausbau” meaning construction, implies reconstruction as well.“Above all the Bauhaus is identified with functionalism, which is now seen as the eradication of ornament in flavour of the austere beauty of the industrial Aesthetic.”

Architecture is perhaps the best example of the partnership of fine and useful art and form and function. A building whether a temple, church, or office complex must show the careful manipulation of structural and ornamental materials, used to express culture, symbolic or artistic ideas. The history of architecture can be seen in the progressive changes in the solutions of structural problems. From the Greeks use of pillars for support and decoration (which have influenced architectural style since that time), to the medieval construction of castles (which saw the problems with masonry and brick solved). With the advent of steel and cast-iron a new architectural age became. With lighter, larger, and taller capabilities, the way our society looked, would never be the same. As American architects learned the principles of the new architecture, the name International Style was formed as a European-American hybrid. The name came in turn from a book called International Architecture by Walter Gropius. The underlying principles of the International style, sheerness, being plain, and flatness are filled with difficulties. Maintenance and weathering make it difficult to create an ideal, yet buildings that fit this description are seen in cities throughout the United States and world. “In postmodern architecture classical orders have been reintroduced as one of a number of contrasting design methods, so that the late 20th century architecture attempted to include historical references in its design and approach and was characterized by a new aesthetic pluralism.”

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