The Modernism Movement

Essay by holman8aHigh School, 11th gradeA, May 2006

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Modernism cannot be defined as strictly an architectural change, thus we cannot limit the influences merely to other works and ideas, although existing works no doubt contributed. Architectural Modernism is, generally speaking, a review of the basics of architecture, creating a simpler, more efficient design. Technology also provided design with more possibilities; it was now possible to think 'outside the square'.

Modernism was influenced by the depression after the Great War, not that of the economic kind but that of the emotive kind experienced when people realised their loved ones would not be coming home. People then lost respect of their traditional ways and reinvented culture. This happened in many areas, architecture being one of them, where people sort to better the conventional brick-on-brick style house with a simpler design fully utilising the technology of the time.

Technology had improved so much over the 19th to 20th century; a review of design was overdue.

The discovery of the steel-enforced concrete was especially an influence due to that which it made possible. Perhaps the greatest characteristic of the International Style was the ability to make buildings look less like they were obeying the laws of physics, catching the people's eye. Also, steel enabled more flexibility with the roof. In conventional architecture the entire wall held the load of the roof, whereas in Modernism it was held up by pillars. This idea of the 'curtain wall' came about by one of the founders of Modernism, Walter Gropius.

Architecture also had its self to credit for the change. Frank Lloyd Wright, an architectural genius of the time, had already made many changes to conventional design. His 'Prarie style' incorporated modern technology and logical styling while still having a hint of conformism. Modernism was very similar to this, however possessed no conservative nature. Wright...