Dictionary of Art and Artists



 

 


History of

Architecture and Sculpture

 
 

 

 
 

 
 

CONTENTS:

 
 

PART ONE
THE ANCIENT WORLD
PREHISTORIC ART
EGYPTIAN ART

ANCIENT NEAR EASTERN ART
AEGEAN ART
GREEK ART
ETRUSCAN ART
ROMAN ART
EARLY CHRISTIAN AND BYZANTINE ART

PART TWO
THE MIDDLE AGES
EARLY MEDIEVAL ART
ROMANESQUE ART
GOTHIC ART

PART THREE
THE RENAISSANCE THROUGH THE ROCOCO
LATE GOTHIC
THE EARLY RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
THE HIGH RENAISSANCE IN ITALY
MANNERISM AND OTHER TRENDS
THE RENAISSANCE IN THE NORTH
THE BAROQUE IN ITALY AND SPAIN
THE BAROQUE IN FLANDERS AND HOLLAND
THE BAROQUE
THE ROCOCO

PART FOUR
THE MODERN WORLD
NEOCLASSICISM AND ROMANTICISM
REALISM AND IMPRESSIONISM
POST-IMPRESSIONISM, SYMBOLISM, AND ART NOUVEAU

PART FIVE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY
TWENTIETH-CENTURY SCULPTURE
TWENTIETH-CENTURY ARCHITECTURE


INDEX
FIGURES

 

 
 

 
 

CHAPTER THREE
 

TWENTIETH-CENTURY ARCHITECTURE
 

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
 

 


ARCHITECTURE

 

The First World War saw a drastic worsening of the housing crisis already affecting the metropolises of Central Europe. Urban development and house building had practically come to a standstill, while many new families were started after the War. Even more people had to be crammed into the soulless tenements of the pre-war period and in the - already overcrowded - older city districts, with their catastrophic hygiene conditions. Massive migration to cities and industrial centres sent property prices through the roof, and the lack of state and municipal control mechanisms opened the door to speculative land development. The loss of its hinterland left "Red Vienna" in particular financia straits. To strengthen the position of social democracy and earn the loyalty of the electorate, however, every possible effort was devoted towards a successful municipal building policy. As many as 64,000 apartments were built in the ten years between 1923 and 1933, albeit - with very few exceptions - in densely-crowded apartment houses connected via a succession of inner courtyards. Three-quarters of these apartments had a total surface area of less than 40 square metres. In Amsterdam in 1914, F. M. Wibaut, a member of the Social Democratic Workers' Party, became city councillor for public housing, and was able to substantially increase the scope of urban building. In the twenties, the "Schoonheidscommissie"-a committee which assessed the artistic value of buildings on city property - was largely composed of young architects from the Amsterdam School, whose offices subsequently benefitted from targe commissions and who in turn brought new design ideas to housing. Their influence was, however, broadly restricted to facades,- the new formulation of ground plans was resisted through lack of interest, by the building contractors. In Rotterdam, J. J. P. Oud became city architect in 1918. Although a member of the De Stijl group at the time, the housing he completed was extensively free of the De Stijl influence that might have been expected. His rejection of Theo van Doesburg's proposed colour schemes for the Spangen Estate in Rotterdam even led to a rupture between the two friends. In his Hoek of Holland projects and Kiefhoek Estate in Rotterdam, Oud found solutions which, despite the cramped nature of their plans, displayed great clarity of overall design. Bruno Taut went on to make masterly use of colour as a means of organization and spatial tension. He developed the bold Expressionist experimentation of his days as municipal architect in Magdeburg in the housing-estate projects of which, as architectural adviser to GEHAG (Gemeinnutzige Heimstatten-, Spar-und Bauaktiengesellschaft) in Berlin, he was in charge of Berlin's municipal

building surveyor was Martin Wagner, who had already called for the public running of housing affairs in a memorandum of 1917. And indeed, 1918 saw the broadening in Prussia of municipal competence for city planning.

As city planning advisor in Frankfurt, Ernst May
- together with artistic director Martin Elsasser and a large, newly-acquited staff - was given extensive opportunity as from 1924 to implement the concept of normative building. The declared aims of the large estates planned for the "New Frankfurt" was the "unification of maximum fulfilment of function with minimum form" and the rejection of superimposed artistic detail. Only through the conscious "alignment of uniform parts" was "existence-minimum" housing to acquire an aesthetic quality, through which Bruno Taut, too, believed it would contribute to the moulding of a "collective mentality". Such trains of thought, coupled with the sober final appearance of long rows of houses with flat roofs, naturally supplied conservative observers with plenty to criticize. The repeated appearance of structure defects - and in particular caused by damp - due to lack of experience with the new construction methods, was triumphantly cited as proof of their misguided nature. The improvement of hygienic conditions was precisely one of the most important arguments for new buildings, with "Light and air for all" the battle-cry against tuberculosis. The logical consequerce was the rejection of back-to-back block building around courtyards and its replacement by long lines of row housing in green areas, which allowed each apartment to receive an equal amount of sunlight. Earlier far-sighted precautions had ensured that the and situation in Frankfurt was better than that in other comparable major cities. A second major obstacle on the path to healthy and cheap housing was building costs. Ernst May therefore attempted to industrialize building methods, having standardized elements such as wall panels manufactured in central works. Although this made it necessary to employ expensive cranes, the use of pre-fabricated parts reduced the lengthy drying time required by masonry walls. With the rapid rise in interest rates at the end of the twenties, however, the race for affordable housing was lost in Frankfurt, too. It had to be resignedly accepted that even an idealistic will to build and ingenious methods of rationalization could not beat inflation.

In addition to its enormous volume of newly-built living space, Frankfurt was distinguished by the care with which it carried design ideas into interior details such as fittings, handles and windows. Under the motto "First the kitchen - then the facade", the "Frankfurt Kitchen" designed by Grete Schutte-Lihotzky became a mode! of improved household organization. In a space of only 3.5 x 1.9 metres it contained all the necessary household appliances. The possibility of educating tenants in the choice of more functional and appropriate furnishings found its echo in the "Frankfurter Register", a supplement to the magazine "Das Neue Frankfurt", which illustrated furniture, lamps, ovens and other "functional and functionally-beautiful" items alongside details of manufacturers and prices.

Large-scale exhibition projects were intended to overcome prejudices and at the same time widen housing vocabulary through the fertile confrontation of different design approaches. The Deutscher Werkbund initiated three important exhibitions. The first, entitled "Die Wohnung" (The Apartment], took place in Stuttgart in 1927, its Wei6enhof Estate intended as an "experimental colony to determine the principles of modern serial construction". But in line with the beliefs of its artistic director, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the exhibition featured -alongside Mies van der Rohe's own apartment house and the row housing by J. J. P. Oud and Mart Stam - predominantly small, one-family houses. The planners of the 1929 Dammerstock Estate in Karlsruhe, Walter Gropius and Otto Haesler, employed rigidly schematic row housing. For Gropius, the "high-rise was not a necessary evil, but a healthy form of city living appropriate to our age ... Only the multi-storey high-rise - with grassy areas for recreation and relaxation - can make life easier and more pleasant for its occupants via its central domestic facilities and communal rooms ... Instead of in a sea of stone" the city dweller should live "in ten to twelve-storey houses with sufficient room for light, air, sun and quiet. Central facilities for heating and hot water, laundry, elevators, refrigerators, and central community kitchens diminish the work.

Dining halls, club, sport, bathing, and entertainment rooms for adults, kindergartens and day care centers for children - all create a pleasant living atmosphere."

With its provisions for a "commune", the high-rise had the advantage of the promise of social Utopia over the five-storey apartment block whose economic advantages were purely mathematical. 1929 also saw the opening of the exhibition "Wohnung und Werkraum" (Living and Work Spacel in Breslau, although this featured no self-contained estate complexes. Its - in part highly unusual - buildings remained isolated experiments and were unable to supply new models.

The achievements of Swiss Werkbund members Max Ernst Haefeli, Werner M. Moser and Emil Roth in the Neubuhl Estate built in Zurich in 1930 were, on the other hand, outstanding. The estate illustrated "not attempts but results", "a not emerging but so to speak consolidated modernity" as a co-operative housing model for the middle classes. Already the Weiftenhof Estate had effectively ended optimistic hopes for functional housing for the broad masses. A wealthier breed of citizen moved into the new housing type. The frugality of earlier functional solutions was replaced by the idealized white city of the "thirties style".

 


LE CORBUSIER.




Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret.
House 14/15 in the Weihenhot Estate, Stuttgart, 1927





Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret.
Axonometric projection of House 13 and 14/15 in the Weihenhot Estate






Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret.
Salvation Army Shelter in Paris, 1929-1933






Plan of the ground floor




Le Corbusier.
"Unite d'Habitation" in Marseille, 1945-1952




Le Corbusier.
"Unite d'Habitation" in Marseille, 1945-1952


 


Le Corbusier. Eglise Saint-Pierre


 

Le Corbusier. Chandigarh


 

Le Corbusier. National Museum of Western Art in Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo, Japan


 

Le Corbusier. National Museum of Western Art in Ueno, Taito-ku, Tokyo, Japan


 

Le Corbusier. Sainte-Marie de La Tourette in Lyon, France
 
 

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