The Establishment of Modern Architecture 1940-1960

The Establishment of Modern Architecture 1940-1960

‘History cannot be touched withoutchanging it’- S. Giedion (Space, Time and Architecture 1941)

The Establishment of Modern Architecture1940-1960Sigfried GiedionHenry Russell HitchcockNikolaus PevsnerJ.M. RichardsA. Roth

The Establishment of Modern Architecture1940-1960Sigfried Giedion CIAMHenry Russell HitchcockNikolaus PevsnerJ.M. Richards CIAMA. Roth CIAM

Architectural historians1940sSigfried GiedionBauen in Frankreich (1928)Space Time and Architecture (1941)Mechanization takes command (1948)A Decade of New Architecture (1954)Henry Russell HitchcockThe International Style (1932)Built in the USA Post-War Architecture (1952)Latin American Architecture since 1945 (1955)Nikolaus PevsnerPioneer of Modern Design (1939)An outline of European Architecture (1943)J.M. RichardsAn Introduction to Modern Architecture (1940/1953)A. RothThe New Architecture (1940/51)

Walter Gropius,Fagus Works, Alfeld 1911

Pevsner about Gropius Faguswerke:‘Thanks to the large expanses of clear glass, the usualhard seperation of exterior and interior is annihilated.(...) This ‘etherealization’ of architecture, as Frank LloydWright had called it in 1901, is one of the mostcharacteristic features of the new style.’

Nikolaus Pevsner in Pioneers of Modern Design‘To sum up, Frank Lloyd Wright’soutstanding importance lies in the factthat nobody else had by 1904 come sonear to the style of today in his actual builidings.’’

Pevsner:‘The new style in the form Gropius gave it takes its placein the procession which leads the Romanesque and theGothic to the Renaissance of Brunelleschi and Albertiand the Baroque of Borromini and Neumann.The warmth and directness with which ages of craft anda more personal relation between architect and clientendowed buildings of the past may have gone for good.The architect, to represent this century of ours, must becolder, cold to keep in command of mechanizedproduction, cold to design for the satisfaction ofanonymous clients.However, genius will find its own way even in times ofoverpowering collective energy, even within the mediumof this new style of the twentieth century as opposed toa passing fashion, is universal.’

Pevsner:‘Expression was a short interlude, following earlyGropius and preceding the mature Gropius of theBauhaus buildings in Dessau, the mature Le Corbusier ofthe villas of the mid twenties, and the mature Mies vander Rohe of the German pavilion at Barcelona.We are now in the middle of a second such interlude, theone for which Le Corbusier (with such recent buildingsas the pilgrimage chapel of Ronchamp) and theBrazilians are responsible. Like Gaudi between Sullivanand Behrens, Loos and the others of after 1900, likeExpressionism between the Fagus and the Bauhausbuildings, so late Le Corbusier and the structuralacrobatics of the Brazilians and those who imitate themor are inspired by them are attempts to satisfy thecraving of architects for individual expression, thecraving of the public for the suprising and the fantastic,and for an escape out of reality into a fairy world.Yet architects as well as cients must know that today’sreality, exactly as that of 1914, can finds its completeexpression only in the style created by the giants of thatby now distant past. Society has not changed since,industrialization has expanded, anonymity of the clientshad not been overcome, anonymity of architecturaldesign has increased. The whims of individual architects,the stroke of genius of others cannot be accepted as anasnwer to the serious questions which it is theresponsibility of the architect to answer.’

Le Corbusier, Unité d’Habitation, Marseille 1947-1952

Le Corbusier in his Oeuvre Complet Vol 5, 1946-52(1953)‘The Unité d’Habitation in Marseilles is an new event inthe machine age and it has required 40 years ofpreparation to realise it. This preparation can be foundin Vols. 1, 2, 3 and 4 of this series.’


J.M. Richards (1953):‘In a few years’ time many of the buildings that weregard as being important and remarkable contributionsto modern architecture (...) may not be regarded asremarkable at all – except for historians of thedevelopment of modern architecture.’

Alfred Roth, The New Architecture, presented in 20examples (1940/1951)‘This book is a contribution towards establishing thepresent state of the development of the NewArchitecture.’

Alfred Roth, The New Architecture, presented in 20examples (1940/1951)‘History will thus become an indispensable element ofpractical life in as far as it contributes to affirm andextend the consciousness of one’s own time. It lies onthe same plane as all progressive creative spheres,which alone constitute the soil for the growth of a newunified culture.’

Alfred Roth, The New Architecture, presented in 20examples (1940/1951)‘The task of living history can only be to arouse inMankind a sense of the present to be created and not forthe already completed past.’

A. Roth, E. Roth, M. Breuer, two multi-family houses, Doldertal, Zurich 1935-36

CIAM VI Bridgwater 1947‘Many of the ideas for which we were then working arenow widely accepted.’

Philip Johnson in Built in the USA Post-War Architecture(1952):‘The battle of modern architecture has long been won.’Henry Russell Hitchcock in Built in the USA Post-WarArchitecture (1952):‘Traditional architecture is dead and buried.’

CIAM VI Bridgwater 1947‘Many of the ideas for which we were then working arenow widely accepted.’CIAM VII Bergamo 1949‘The development of architecture in the spirit of CIAMhas not progressed so rapidly and far reaching as washoped.’

CIAM VI Bridgwater 1947CIAM VII Bergamo 1949CIAM VIII Hoddesdon 1951CIAM IX Aix-en-Provence 1953CIAM X Dubrovnik 1956CIAM XI Otterlo 195 9

S. Giedion in Mechanization takes command 1941Anonymous HistoryHistory is a magical mirror. Who peers into it sees hisown image in the shape of events and developments. Itis never stilled. It is ever in movement, like thegeneration observing it.His [the historian’s] role is to put in order in itshistorical setting what we experience piecemeal fromday to day, so that in place of the sporadic experience,the continuity of events will becomes visible.No more in history than in painting it is theimpressiveness of the subject that matters. The sun ismirrored even in a coffee spoon.’

Pevsner in response to Herwin Schaefer’ s The Roots ofModern Design’ that starts with anonymous functionaldesigns in 18th and 19th century, from locomotives toscissors:‘His examples are indubitably functional, but they areinnocent of aesthetic efforts.’ (...) ‘His display and hisarguments make me wonder whether I ought not toretitle my book ‘Pioneers of the International Modern to1914’. Such a so-called International Modern which isreached its climax in the thirties is no longer the style oftoday. We live in the shadow of Ronchamp andChandigarh, of Paul Rudolph and James Stirling. PhilipJohnson said to me some ten years ago: “You are theonly man alive who can still say Functionalism with astraight face.” I am unrepentant enough to take that asa compliment. So would of course Herwin Schaefer whogave his book the sub-title “Functional Tradition in theNineteenth Century.” ‘

CIAM VI Bridgwater 1947a Architecture forms a part of the general creation of thephysical environment by means of town planning andrelated fields (sociology).b The principles of architecture in this extended senseare universal and independent of national frontiers; theirapplication is local.c The principles of CIAM have acquired an importantinfluence both through the increase of the number ofmembers an through their effects on practical work ingeneral and on government bodies.


S. Giedion in the introduction of Mindlin’s ModernArchitecture in Brazil:‘There is something irrational in the rise of Brazilianarchitecture. In contrast to the USA with its sequence ofgreat precursors since the 1880s – Richardson, LouisSullivan, F.L. Wright – Brazil is finding its ownarchitectural expression with an astonishing rapidity.’

Lucio Costa, OscarNiemeyer, Affonso Reidyet alConsultant: Le CorbusierMinistry of Health andEducationRio de Janeiro 1937-1943

Sert/Wiener, Motor City Brazil 1945

Henry Russell Hitchcock in Latin American Architecturesince 1945 (1955)‘Latin America has produced no Wright, no Perret, noBehrens.’

Juan O’Gorman, Rivera/Kalho houses, Mexico DF 1928

Juan O’Gorman, Library University City Mexico DF 1950

Juan O’Gorman Central University Library, Mexico City 1950

Mario Pani, Rector’s offices,, University City, Mexico DF 1952

Luis Barragan, Barragan House, Mexico 1947-48

Luis Barragan, Satellite Towers, Mexico DF 1957

Pedro Ramirez Vasquez, Museum of Anthropology, Mexico DF 1964

Pedro Ramirez Vasquez, IOC HeadquartersLausanne 1985-93

Carlos Villanueva,aula of the University City,Caracas 1950




Hitchcock/JohnsonInternational Style1932

Udo Kultermann, Bouwkunstvan deze tijd1958




More magazines by this user
Similar magazines