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Modern architecture

Modern architecture is generally characterized by simplification of form and an absence

of applied decoration. It is a term applied to an overarching movement, with its exact
definition and scope varying widely. In a broader sense, early modern architecture began
at the turn of the 20th century with efforts to reconcile the principles underlying architectural
design with rapid technological advancement and the modernization of society. It would
take the form of numerous movements, schools of design, and architectural styles, some in
tension with one another, and often equally defying such classification.

The concept of modernism is a central theme in these efforts. Gaining popularity in North
America after the Second World War, architectural modernism was adopted by many
influential architects and architectural educators, and continued as a dominant architectural
style for institutional and corporate buildings into the 21st century. Modernism eventually
generated reactions, most notably Postmodernism which sought to preserve pre-modern
elements, while "Neo-modernism" has emerged as a reaction to Post-modernism.

Notable architects important to the history and development of the modernist movement
Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius, Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis
Gerrit Rietveld, Oscar Niemeyer and Alvar Aalto.

Characteristics of Modern Architecture


Modern architecture
breaks away from
cookie-cutter design
and traditional
aesthetics. It strives to
create home designs
that go beyond
standard ideas and
instead pursue projects
inspired by layout,
location, and
function. Frank Lloyd
Wrights mentor, Louis
Sullivan famously
stated that, Form
follows function. This
idea is expressed by
Modernisms tendency
to have land or the function of a project dictate much of the design ideas. For example,
Wright was famous for building with the land - his residential homes almost always relied on
the lot to determine how the building was to be laid out. Wright believed that a building
should be one with the land and not simply plopped down on top of it. Modernist
architecture takes inspiration from the project itself - if the project is meant to showcase
something, house something particular, or be occupied by a particular person, Modern
architectures aim is to design for each unique situation and to be inspired by its purpose.


Modern architecture is typically free of clutter and unnecessary elements. The goals of the
project are clarified at the start, and only the features that are required are included in the
design. Residential homes are often stripped down to showcase the architectural design of
the home - the focus will be on the space itself, rather than on any decor or details not
relevant to the overall design. Homeowners following a Modern aesthetic believe strongly in
the idea of Less is More! Modern tastes enjoy simplicity and clarity. Homes will be clean,
functional, and simple. There are varying degrees of Modernism - some will opt for the strict
design sense of true Minimalism, while others prefer to incorporate the minimalist aesthetics
of Modernism in conjunction with their own personal style. Choosing your own design
elements in the way of colours, textures, and interesting furnishings will help create a more
unique Modern style.


Rather than concealing the nature of the

home, Modern style wants the viewer to see
the inner-workings and the true nature of the
project. Materials are shown in the natural
form and are showcased. Nothing is hidden
or altered to look like something
else. Structural elements are revealed to
show the structure and supports. Exposed
beams, open floor plans, and structural
elements are exposed to the viewer. The idea
of a sense of Truth is present in the home,
where all materials and architectural elements
are bare and revealed honestly.


Modern architects love lines; in many Modern

designs, you will find strong linear elements
and bold horizontal and vertical
features. Beams, posts, cutouts, windows,
staircases, fireplaces, roof lines, and other
structural elements all assist the architect in
creating a linear-inspired space. This focus is
much more prominent in Modern design and
is less important in other, more traditional,
building styles. Lines of Modern architecture
tend to be straight and angled rather than
curved, however organic lines can sneak their way into Modern home design.

Instead of opting for

the traditional
triangular-based or
craftsman style roof
lines, Modern
architecture dares to
push the envelope on
roof design. Homes
might have multiple
roof lines at different
levels, showing off the
complexity of the
overall design and the
uncommon silhouette
of the structure.
Varying lines and
elongated vaulted
ceilings, as well as
interesting overhangs or unusual linear elements are mixed to create a a more unique
statement. This focus on the exterior design in one of the highlighting feature of Modern
design. The house exists as more than simply a home - it is an artistic and sculptural


Many mid-century homes use windows extensively to bring in light. These homes often
feature floor-to-ceiling windows and lots of sliding doors. They may also include clerestory
windows that are set high in the walls of a home to let in light while preserving privacy.


Most include an open living/dining/kitchen area, often accented with a fireplace as a kind of
gathering point.Mid-century homes played with their use of space, with floors divided on split
levels or through sunken spaces designed for conversation or lounging.Prominent features
of modern architecture include open interior floor plans with fewer walls.


Instead of interior walls functioning as support walls, they serve more as room dividers or for
appearance. In many homes, pony walls extend from the floor to just below the ceiling,
separating rooms while allowing them to share light.


Multiple rooms open onto a large patio or atrium, designed to extend square footage and
blur distinctions between the indoors and outdoors.exterior building materials of glass and
steel. Modern architecture almost always incorporates the topography of the land it is built
on within the home's design. An excellent example of this is Fallingwater. Other designs
seamlessly connect the interior with the exterior through glass walls.


Many mid-century modern homes blended established materials such as wood and brick
with then-newer materials such as man-made floorings. They also incorporated new
technologies such as radiant floor heat and building techniques such as construction
atop slab concrete foundations.

Examples Of Modernism Architecture

Designed By Master Architects
The modernism architecture, or modern-era architecture was born in western Europe in the
1920s from the precedent breaking work of modernist architects like Bauhaus founderWalter
Gropius and Mies van der Rohe in Germany and Le Corbusier in France.
Modernist architecture breaks away from cookie-cutter design and traditional aesthetics; it is the
pure simplified, unornamented building styles of the late 19th and the 20th centuries. The
building style is also known by many other labels, like New Objectivity, andFunctionalism.

1. Chet Holifield Federal Building in Laguna Niguel, California

Architects: William L. Pereira & Associates
Built: 1968-1971
Architecture style: sixties modern
Primary materials: pre-cast concrete Panels
Most prominent features: tiered pyramid form; weighty massiveness; recessed windows; huge 92-
acre landscaped site

2. Byron G. Rogers Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse in Denver, CO

Architects: James Sudler Associates; Fisher & Davis
Built: 1962-1965
Architecture style: formalism
Primary materials: pre-cast concrete panels and marble
Most prominent features: 18-story tower; low courthouse; providing public art; landscaped plaza

Modernism architecture is about efficiency, simplicity, and modern building materials.

3. Robert C. Weaver Federal Building in Washington, DC
Architect: Marcel Breuer
Built: 1965-1968
Architecture style: expressionism
Primary material: reinforced concrete
Prominent Features: Sweeping form; load-bearing, precast wall units designed plaza
4. Everett M. Dirksen U.S. Courthouse in Chicago, IL
Architects: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe; Schmidt, Garden and Erikson; C. F. Murphy Associates;
A. Epstein and Sons
Built: 1960-1974
Architecture style: international style
Primary materials: steel and bronze-tinted glass
Most prominent features: striking glass tower; open colonnades at tower bases

Modernism architecture was an attempt to do new things in new ways, with new materials.
5. John F. Kennedy Federal Building in Boston, MA
Architects: Walter Gropius and The Architects Collaborative with Samuel Glaser
Built: 1963-1966
Architecture style: sixties modern
Primary materials: reinforced concrete, steel and glass
Most prominent features: monolithic towers; landscaped plaza; presentation of public art
6. Richard Bolling Federal Building in Kansas City, MO
Architects: Voskamp and Slezak; Everitt and Keleti; Radotinsky Meyn Deardorff; Howard,
Needles, Tammen & Bergendoff
Built: 1962-1965
Architecture style: sixties modern
Primary materials: aluminum, granite, glass
Most prominent features: 18-story office tower; Glass-enclosed entrance pavilions; well
landscaped plaza
Modernism architecture was inspired by works of engineering, like industrial buildings
and bridges.
7. Jacob Javits Federal Building & James Watson Court of International Trade in New York,
Architects: Alfred Easton Poor; Kahn & Jacobs; Eggers & Higgins
Built: 1963-1967, 1973-1974
Architecture style: sixties modern
Primary materials: Steel, limestone, granite, and glass
Most prominent features: tall office tower; well landscaped plaza; presenting public works of art
8. Strom Thurmond Federal Building & U.S. Court in Columbia, SC
Architects: Marcel Breuer and Associates
Built: 1975-1979
Architecture style: brutalism
Primary materials: Concrete, granite, and glass
Most prominent features: Monolithic office tower, long and low courthouse; repetitive recessed
windows with protruding hoods; well landscaped plaza

Modernist architecture philosophy proposed less is more.

9. Henry M. Jackson Federal Building in Seattle, WA
Architects: John Graham & Associates; Fred Bassetti & Company
Built: 1971-1974
Architecture style: seventies modern
Primary materials: concrete, brick and teak
Modernist architecture characteristics: 37-story tower; Romanesque revival architectural
fragments; landscaped plaza by landscape architect Richard Haag
10. Edward A. Garmatz U.S. Courthouse in Baltimore, MD
Architect: RTKL Associates
Built: 1973-1976
Architecture style: seventies modern
Primary materials: concrete and glass
Most prominent features: horizontal emphasis; landscaped plaza with sculpture