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Modern vs. Postmodern - Essay Example

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It may seem that the term modern architecture would be self-explanatory. A basic understanding of English tells us that ‘modern’ means something current and updated. …
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Modern vs. Postmodern
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Modern vs. Postmodern

Download file to see previous pages... Modern architecture works to reduce the embellishments and decorations of earlier trends to a minimum, to reduce the form of the structure to a minimum, to reduce external influences on the designs, or perhaps to accomplish a combination of all of these. A better understanding of what might be meant by the term modern architecture can be found through an examination of the artistic movements that occurred in the mid-1900s that applied to architecture. Modernism was “the name given to the new forms that appeared in all of the arts – in paintings, sculpture, architecture, music and literature” (Pile 323). Malcolmson describes it as a reflection of the search for “a better place for all citizens at all social levels after the appalling carnage of the Great War” (410). Modernism in Gold’s view was “developed in the background of war, revolution and social dislocation” (21). It was the search for a utopia which combined the artistic and aesthetic movements important to the common man while providing curved, comforting spaces for the traumatized citizens of the post-war age. According to Barr (1954), modernist architects had followed the trails of Art Noveau which depended on curvilinear and organic forms. Modernism emerged in art and architecture as the composition of forms started to articulate into asymmetry, grouped shapes, and flat colors. The common themes of modern architecture include the master plan which was a layout of structures in geometric harmony with the boundaries of different zones of land use within its surroundings. The interiors were characterized by the lifestyle of the owners and depiction of every day activity (Gold 1998). Early modernist architects looked to their past for inspiration and trends, while later ones developed original and radical ideas of form. The Bauhaus designers were driving contributors to the art of employing straight lines and the inventive use of materials in household items, but the four drivers of the modern architectural movement were Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, and Frank Lloyd Wright (Barr 220). The designs of these men have been held as the epitome of logic, clarity of structure, use of space as fluid planes, and surfaces as fine materials. Mies van der Rohe’s grand but mystical skyscraper designs and Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye denoted the age of the citizenry. Among these men, Le Corbusier was perhaps the most influential for later development of the modern age. He is largely considered the pioneer of modernism. He was also a pioneering urban planner whose vision encompassed the building of high rise structures in open spaces developed for individuals. His logic was based on humanitarian logic, and revolved around equality, fundamental needs regardless of cultural background and the right to comfortable and accessible dwellings. Le Corbusier based his architecture and design philosophy on collective and family life (Le Corbusier Le Grand 2008). He developed three layers of needs to address man’s need for dwellings. First is the pure physical need for living space. To satisfy this aspect, Le Corbusier felt the building needed to consider the need for sun, space and vegetation within living spaces as the logic for construction. The second level of need was psychosomatic ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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