Modern architecture)

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In the history of architecture, modernism or modernism denotes an architectural epoch that cannot be generally delimited. Often one refers to the internationally used design language , which developed within the art area known today as classical modernism at the beginning of the 20th century and is partly used until today - in contrast to the classical architecture according to Vitruvius . Likewise are the tendencies since the revolutionary architecture and classicismIn the period around 1800 it was called modern, as were the most recent and contemporary trends, which is why it is only possible to identify which term is meant in the respective context. Postmodernism or today's neo-historicism can also be described as modern , depending on the context.

In the 20th century, it is generally assumed that modernism, with the Arts and Crafts movement in Great Britain at the end of the 19th century and with Art Nouveau (around 1895–1906), developed throughout Europe and developed the first theories and experiments in the Deutscher Werkbund carried out. Actual modernity began after the First World War in 1918 and includes various currents that often cannot be clearly delimited from one another: They can be arranged roughly chronologically as follows: Expressionism , Bauhaus , New Building , New Objectivity , International Style , Constructivism , Functionalism and since the end of the Second World War post-war modernism , within which brutalism and structuralism can be delimited. A common feature of many works from this era is the design as solitary buildings or uniform groups of buildings, in residential construction also as loosened settlements , in contrast to the otherwise common closed construction method (often perimeter block development ).

With postmodernism and deconstructivism , organic architecture and other currents such as New Urbanism , a first turn away from the concerns of modernism took place from the 1960s and 1970s.


General aesthetic and architectural principles

Willem Marinus Dudok : Dr. Bavinckschool (1921), Hilversum
Rietveld Schröder House (1924), Utrecht
Mies van der Rohe : Crown Hall (1950–1956), Chicago
Le Corbusier : Notre-Dame-du-Haut (1950–1955), Ronchamp
Hugo Häring : Gut Garkau (1922–28)
Glass chain : Bruno Taut Glass Pavilion (1914)
Eero Saarinen : TWA Terminal , New York (1956–1962)
Transition to New Objectivity : Max Taut : Association House of Book Printers, Berlin (1924–1926)
Giuseppe Terragni : Casa del Fascio (1932-36), Como
Le Corbusier : Villa Savoye (1928–31), Poissy

The technical, then new basis for the architecture of classical modernism is the use of the building materials steel , glass and reinforced concrete .

The aesthetic principles of classical modernism are to be understood as a reaction to the historicizing neo-styles.

The program of the extensive architectural theory can be summarized (abbreviated) in three pointed guiding principles: Form follows function ( Louis Sullivan ), Less is more ( Ludwig Mies van der Rohe ) and the statement of a polemic about ornament and crime written by Adolf Loos in 1908 . On the one hand, the design should be derived from the architectural function. This often manifests itself in the visibility of the structural skeleton of a building and the supply lines. On the other hand, the design is often of ascetic simplicity.

Organic stylistics

The strict design occasionally leads to the misunderstanding that classical modernism can be reduced to strict orthogonality . This is true z. B. for the architects from de Stijl , while others developed a preference for curved shapes and used the new possibilities of concrete construction at the time. The expressionist style of Erich Mendelsohn can definitely be assigned to the classical modern and largely dispenses with the use of the right angle , as did Frank Lloyd Wright and later the representatives of organic building (e.g. Hans Scharoun ) or the Brazilian Oscar Niemeyer .

Decoration and decorative ornamentation

Modernism is characterized by its rejection of the concept of ornament , which was shaped by Adolf Loos . Ornament und Verbrechen (1908) is the title of the essay in which Adolf Loos argues against the (decorative) ornament. Originally intended as a countermovement to the diverse style imitations of the 19th century with its ornamental overload, modernism was propagated through the Bauhaus in Weimar and later in Dessau as a style of its own. In the USA, modernism then spread from the 1930s and 1940s and from there conquered almost the whole world.

Aesthetic opposites

Although the architecture of Classical Modernism is based on certain common principles, it is not a clearly defined style in the strict sense, but rather an era. The attitude to the right angle or the curved shape determines z. B. different aesthetic positions. The use of mainly glass and steel or concrete can lead to very different results. So the stated aim for was Mies van der Rohe the Total space : inside and outside should merge. He achieved this, for example, at the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin by completely dispensing with load-bearing walls. Instead, the space is limited exclusively by glass. Another tendency, especially in brutalism , relies on solid concrete - which of course has a completely different effect.

The urban planning models were laid down in the Athens Charter in 1933 and included not only the rejection of the dense Wilhelminian city, but a radical break with all urban planning traditions. Essential elements were the unbundling of the urban functions, an open development and the car-friendly city .

Currents within modernity

Important architects

Significant buildings

Significant sacred buildings can also be found in the more recent devotion to saints, such as the Don Bosco churches (canonization in 1934). See also modern church building .

Urban development projects

Classical modern architecture theorist

  • Adolf Loos : Ornament and Crime , 1908
  • Le Corbusier : Urbanisme , 1925 (German: 'Städtebau'); Vers une architecture , 1923 (German: 'Outlook on an architecture')
  • Adolf Behne : The modern functional building , 1926
  • Sigfried Giedion : Liberated Living , 1929; Space, Time, Architecture , 1965

Web links

Commons : Modern movement  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Commons : Architecture of the 2000s  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. A. Loos: Ornament and crime . Vienna 1908 from Architects Lexicon Vienna 1880–1945 on the website of the Architekturzentrum Wien
  2. A. Loos: Ornament and crime. Vienna 1908 Original text as PDF at