Dictionary of Art and Artists



History of

Architecture and Sculpture



















Part I. ARCHITECTURE - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10,
Part II. ARCHITECTURE - 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20,
Part III. ARCHITECTURE - 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29




The schematically functional boxes of the post-war years cemented the primacy of the right angle. Orthogonality is not, however, a synonym for Modernism. Thus Frank Lloyd Wright sought intensively in the forties to determine the status of organic architecture. In his Usonian Houses he tried to develop buildings of maximum possible constructive simplicity as successors to his Prairie Houses, while at the same time continuing the experiments begun in the thirties on honeycomb and circular houses. In his "Testament", published in 1957, he lists his guidelines for a new architecture. It is essentially a summary of his own oeuvre from the turn of the century, but also implicitly incorporates the experiences of his colleagues. Nine somewhat vague postulates address problems of urban planning, such as decentralization, design specifications such as the appropriateness of materials and the deployment of cantilever systems, and questions of building character and expression. "Poetic tranquility instead of a more disastrous 'efficiency' should be the consequence in the art of Building." The second Jacobs House in Wisconsin followed this self-imposed guideline in exemplary fashion. Protected by banks of earth, it offers a "shelter" from the cold wind. The semicircular complex squats against the landscape with its raw, coarse-textured walls and flat roof. Large glazed surfaces facing into the inner courtyard aim at a solar-house effect; a pool dissects this south wall and intensifies the relationship with nature. Inside, the ceiling is lowered to a height of 7 feet; Frank Lloyd Wright held "every additional inch" to be unnecessary, whereby his measurements were guided by his own diminutive stature. Above is a sleeping loft suspended from the roof. Wright's obligatory fireplace forms the heart of this hideaway. Despite the presence of basic geometric forms, the obvious opening and closing of walls and the flat, projecting roof play their part in the "destruction of the box" which Wright saw as dominating the architectural world to excess.

The Finn Alvar Aalto reached similar conclusions from a different tradition and different cultural influences. For him, architecture was the "play of free forms and animated surfaces" in correlation with appointed task and site environment. The starting-point for his designs were always clearly-arranged bodies, whether a city hall, school, library, large cultural centre or small dwelling. To these he added soft, seemingly non-directed and thus "natural" elements. His Senior Students' Dormitory in Harvard illustrates one such transformation. Here, a serpentine curvature in the flights of rooms ensures that the dense alignment of large numbers of similar - very spartan - cubicles does not result in monotony. Aalto was convinced that this movement would also communicate itself to the person looking out of the window at the Charles River. He felt that, even without actually seeing the form, one could sense that the visual axes lay not stereotypically juxtaposed but at angles to each other. The zigzag facade facing the campus more clearly reveals the basic cubic volumes. Here too, however, the strict stereometry is interrupted and overlaid: to the sides by staggered offsets, towards the projecting entrance by flights of steps recalling layered rock formations. Misshapen and creased bricks which would normally be rejects were deliberately used in the exterior brickwork. A wall landscape was thus created from a smooth compound.

Geomorphic structures are a recurring theme in Aalto's work. The entire display area of his pavilion for the 1939 New York World's Fair guoted the contours of Finnish lakes. Where Aalto integrated house and nature, it had nothing to do with that well-known solace of architects, the Green of Atonement, through which less sensitive buildings hoped for long-term intercession and redemption. In his case it meant returning to nature part of the land that had been built over, such as the steps and the raised inner courtyard of the city hall on the small island of Saynatsalo, and integrating it as an autonomous element into his compositions. Younger architects - especially in Nordic countries - followed this same practice. Thus Jorn Utzon's atrium houses in the Kingohusene Estate in Helsing0r respectfully acknowledge the existing terrain in lines which follow those of the landscape. Intermediate spaces are not filled with artificially-imposed road networks, relaxation or recreation areas, but are carefully integrated. As a decentralized, non-urban housing model it is dependent both on occupant mobility and appropriate infrastructures. Its charm and reconciliatory Utopian character thus remain quite exclusive. Bruce Goff's Bavinger House is determined by an extremely individualistic relationship to nature, in an architecture which assimilates circuitous "personal" details and an arbitrary selection of ready-made materials and in which even kitsch is not taboo. The five-thousand-dollar house which Goff designed together with the Bavingers, an artist couple whose hobby was plant-breeding, stands in an imaginative but somewhat tendentious no man's land. The walls describe a logarithmic spiral. Glass bands between the guyed roof helix and the brickwork emphasize the texture of the rough-layered quarrystones and boulders, while window openings resemble cracks and crevices. The house is approached from the rear,- a path down a small hill leads to a sheltered seat lined with stone slabs above the river. This terrace is continued in the house, where it becomes a rock garden with lush plants. Paths wind between grottoes, plant troughs and pools. There are no rooms in the conventional sense,- they are replaced by flat, circular elements, built from airplane noses covered with velour. These stand in space like oversized cocktail glasses or are hung from the ceiling as "living lamps". They are positioned at equal intervals and trace the line of a second spiral. The different levels are connected by fragile stairways ending in the light-filled studio at the top of the house. There is a delicate balance between utilized and free space. The house caused a considerable sensation after its completion and received enthusiastic reviews. The Bavingers allowed public viewings and gave regular tours to thousands of visitors. For them, too, the house was not a temporary living solution but a thing of permanence. Nevertheless a number of ponds had to be filled in and made into flower beds, since humidity proved too high and caused condensation to drip from the ceiling.

Like their predecessors in the Rococo, many of the great architects since Gaudi and Mackintosh have also been important designers who exercised an incalculable influence on others. The reason is not hard to find: they have had a unique, even privileged, understanding of modernism, its meaning, materials, and techniques. Their designs, like their buildings, have generally expressed the machine age through clean lines and cubic shapes bereft of unnecessary decoration. This was particularly true of the Bauhaus, where architecture and design were closely linked. The Bauhaus nevertheless failed in its goal of unifying the arts and putting the decorative arts on the same level as the fine arts. The main reason was that its members were far more gifted in architecture and painting than in design, despite the considerable emphasis placed on this area.

Marcel Breuer.

Gropius himself considered Bauhaus designs as models for the future that would fulfill his goal of providing high-quality wares to everyone through mass-manufacturing techniques, although only under Hannes Meyer was design placed at the service of people's practical needs. The interiors of the Masters' Houses designed by Marcel Breuer (1902—1981) reflect the school's outlook (fig. 1193). They have an almost monastic asceticism that is further emphasized by the stark simplicity of the furnishings. Breuer s famous chair in the right foreground is a marvel of elegant geometry for its own sakewithout regard to comfort, as anyone who has ever sat in it can attest. Here, then, is the chief limitation of so much of twentieth-century design: the tyranny of form over human considerations.

1193. MARCEL BREUER. The living room of
Josef and Anni Albers, Masters' House, Dessau,
. 1929



Marcel Breuer

Marcel Breuer, in full Marcel Lajos Breuer (born May 21, 1902, Pécs, Hung.—died July 1, 1981, New York City), architect and designer, one of the most influential exponents of the International Style; he was concerned with applying new forms and uses to newly developed technology and materials in order to create an art expressive of an industrial age.

From 1920 to 1928 Breuer studied and then taught at the Bauhaus school of design, where modern principles were applied to the industrial as well as to the fine arts. There he followed the lead of Walter Gropius in espousing unit construction; i.e., the combination of standardized units to form a technologically simple but functionally complex whole. In 1925, inspired by the design of bicycle handlebars, he invented the tubular metal chair; his original version is known as the Wassily chair.

In 1928 Breuer began the private practice of architecture in Berlin. For the Swiss architectural historian Sigfried Giedion, he designed the Dolderthal Apartments, Zürich (built 1934–36). During his two years of architectural practice in London, in partnership with F.R.S. Yorke, he designed for the Isokon firm some laminated plywood furniture that became widely imitated. In 1937 he went to Harvard University to teach architecture, and from 1938 to 1941 he practiced with Gropius in Cambridge, Mass. Their synthesis of Bauhaus internationalism with New England regional aspects of wood-frame building greatly influenced domestic architecture throughout the United States. Examples of this style of building were Breuer’s own house at Lincoln, Mass. (1939), and the Chamberlain cottage at Wayland, Mass. (1940).

Breuer moved to New York City in 1946 and thereafter attracted numerous major commissions: the Sarah Lawrence College Theatre, Bronxville, N.Y. (1952); the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Headquarters, Paris (1953–58; with Pier Luigi Nervi and Bernard Zehrfuss); St. John’s Abbey, Collegeville, Minn. (1953–61); De Bijenkorf department store, Rotterdam (1955–57); the International Business Machines (IBM) research centre, La Gaude, Fr. (1960–62); and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City (completed 1966); and the headquarters for the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Washington, D.C. (1963–68). He retired from practice in 1976.

Encyclopædia Britannica


Marcel Breuer
Breuer House I,  Lincoln, Massachusetts, 1939.

Marcel Breuer.

Frank House,  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1939

Marcel Breuer.
Saint John's Abbey Church, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1953-1961

Marcel Breuer.
Saint John's Abbey Church, Collegeville, Minnesota, 1953-1961

Art Deco.

The Bauhaus style was not the only major form of early-twentieth-century design, however. Art Deco is the name commonly given to the style that dominated the decorative arts between the world wars. In France it was called he Style Mod-erne. Like the Bauhaus, Art Deco arose out of the work of the Glasgow school. Charles Rennie Mackintosh, his wife Margaret Macdonald-Mackintosh (1865-1933), and her sister Frances Macdonald (1874-1921) had a great impact after 1900 on the Secession movements in Munich and especially Vienna, where the next phase of modern design took place. Art Deco received its official baptism at the Exhibition of Decorative and Industrial Arts held in Paris in 1925, two years after the Bauhaus scored a great sticcess at its initial design show in Weimar. The Paris exposition had actually been conceived ten years earlier, but like the progress of the style itself, it was postponed by World War I, when the movement was already well under way. The hit of the show was the Hotel du Collectionneur pavilion assembled by Emil-Jacques Ruhlmann (1879-1933), the last of the truly great French furniture designers (fig. 1194).

Grand Salon of the Hotel du Collectionneur at the
Exposition, Paris


In common with the Bauhaus, Art Deco attempted to resolve the dilemma between quality design and mass production, which both the Arts and Crafts Movement and Art Nouveau had also failed to reconcile. It. too, created a geometric style that could be applied to anything from teacups to building facades, a tendency that reached its climax in the following decade when everything became streamlined. The difference is that Art Deco never made the decisive break from Art Nouveau, of which it was a direct outgrowth.

Because it never developed the fully defined machine aesthetic that distinguishes the International Style, Art Deco cannot be called a modernist movement in the same sense, although they evolved in parallel to each other and sometimes achieved strikingly similar results. With its idealistic program of social and artistic reform, the International Style proved far bolder in redefining the decorative arts, despite its failure to achieve those goals. Art Deco, in contrast, was a decorative veneer that did not address the substance of modern existence. Instead, it responded to the changing taste of society during the "Jazz Age," without consciously intending to shape it. Whereas the Bauhaus came to adhere to a rigorous machine style. Art Deco was broadly eclectic in its scope, which included a taste for the exotic ranging from the art of ancient Egypt and Native American to the Russian Ballet of Sergei Diaghilevwhatever could be incorporated into its geometric framework. The virtue of Art Deco is that it embodied the very feature so conspicuously lacking in the International Style: fantasy, which permitted highly individual expression. Perhaps for that reason, it proved widely popular. Moreover, it enjoyed the commercial backing of the major manufacturers and department stores. Needless to say, much of what filtered down to everyday objects catered to the lowest common denominator. But at its finest Art Deco could be brilliantly innovative.

Because it was essentially a decorative "skin," Art Deco lent itself readily to architecture. (Even the streamlined style associated with it was adapted from Dutch architecture of the early 1920s.) It proved especially popular in the United States, where it reached its most flamboyant phase during the 1930s. A spectacular example is the interior of the Union Trust Company in Detroit (fig. 1195). Resembling a gigantic Indian feather headdress, the ceiling of ceramic tiles has the honeycomb pattern of a beehive to symbolize Thrift and Industry.

and made by ROOKWOOD. CINCINNATI). Main Lobby, Union
Trust Company, Detroit.



William Van Alen.


William Van Alen

(b Brooklyn, NY, 1888; d New York, 24 May 1954).
American architect. While studying at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, he was apprenticed to Clarence True, a speculative builder in New York, after which he joined the local firm of Copeland & Dole and later Clinton & Russell. Van Alen also studied under Donn Barber (1871–1925) at the Beaux-Arts Institute in New York and in 1908 won a fellowship to the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where he studied under Victor A. F. Laloux. From 1911 to 1925 he was in partnership with H. Craig Severance (1879–1941) in Manhattan.


William Van Alen. Chrysler Building in New York,

William Van Alen. Chrysler Building in New York, 1927-1930



Raymond Hood.


Raymond Mathewson Hood

Raymond Mathewson Hood (March 29, 1881 – August 14, 1934) was an early-mid twentieth century architect who worked in the Art Deco style. He was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, educated at Brown University, MIT, and the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris. At the latter institution he met John Mead Howells, with whom Hood later partnered. Hood frequently employed architectural sculptor Rene Paul Chambellan both to create sculpture for his building and to make plasticine models of his projects. He died at age 53 and was interred at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, NY.


Raymond Mathewson Hood. The Tribune Tower in Chicago

Raymond Hood architect, rendering by Hugh Ferriss.
New York Daily News Building

Harvey Corbett, Wallace K. Harrison,
William MacMurray, Reinhard & Hofmeister,
Frederick Godley & Jacques Fouilhoux.

Raymond Mathewson Hood, Harvey Corbett, Wallace K. Harrison,
William MacMurray, Reinhard & Hofmeister, Frederick Godley & Jacques Fouilhoux.

Rockefeller Center, New York, 1932-1940

Wallace K. Harrison & Jacques-Andre Fouilhoux.
Central buildings for the World's Fair in New York, 1939



Harvey Wiley Corbett
(Jan. 8, 1873 - April 21, 1954) was an American architect primarily known for skyscraper and office building designs in New York and London, and his advocacy of tall buildings and modernism in architecture.






Wallace K. Harrison, (born Sept. 28, 1895, Worcester, Mass., U.S.—died Dec. 2, 1981, New York, N.Y.), American architect best known as head of the group of architects that designed the United Nations building, New York City (1947–50).

Harrison studied at the École des Beaux-Arts, Paris, and in 1921 won a traveling fellowship to Europe and the Middle East. He was one of the architects responsible for Rockefeller Center, New York City (1929–40). The partnership he formed with J. André Fouilhoux in 1935 became Harrison, Fouilhoux and Abramovitz in 1941. Harrison designed the Trylon and Perisphere theme centre at the New York World’s Fair (1939).

Harrison’s partnership with Max Abramovitz, formed in 1945, became one of the largest architectural firms in the United States specializing in office buildings. Among his office buildings are the Alcoa Building, Pittsburgh, Pa. (1953), notable for its large aluminum panels cut by relatively small panels, and the Socony Mobil Building, New York City (1956). His First Presbyterian Church, Stamford, Conn., is considered an outstanding example of modern church design. Shaped like a fish, the interior is flooded with coloured light from large expanses of stained glass.

Harrison’s organizational skills were well utilized in his major projects, such as the United Nations complex and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York City (1962), for which he served as overall design coordinator. He also designed the new Metropolitan Opera House (1965) and its office alterations (1978).






Jacques André Fouilhoux (1879–1945) was an engineer and architect from Paris, France who partnered with architects in Salem, Oregon and New York City. He was in the United States ca. 1904.

In Oregon as part of the Whitehouse & Fouilhoux firm with Morris H. Whitehouse, he was involved in designing several projects in Portland, Oregon. These include Anna Lewis Mann Old People's Home the University Club, Elliott R. Corbett House, H. L. & Gretchen Hoyt Corbett House and the Seven Hundred Five Davis Street Apartments.  He is also credited as a partner in the Conro Fiero House in Central Point, Oregon and the Methodist Church in Astoria.

In New York he worked with Raymond Hood starting ca. 1923 and worked on projects including the American Radiator Building. He was a partner in the Godley, Fouilhoux, and Barber firm; Hood & Fouilhoux; and the Hood, Godley & Fouilhoux firm. Projects he worked on included St Vincent de Paul Asylum in Tarrytown, New York, the Masonic Temple in Scranton, Pennsylvania, the McGraw-Hill Building in New York City, and Rockefeller Center in New York City. After Hood's death in 1934 Fouilhoux joined Wallace K. Harrison and "contributed to the New York World's Fair," as well as on the Fort Greene and Clinton Hill housing developments in New York City during the 1940s.



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