ARC 331: Classicism in the Early Twentieth Century

week of

April 5-11


Introductory comment or great big question

To see how two main world powers deployed Classical languages in opposition to one another, visit the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne (International Exposition of Arts and Technology in Modern Life) held in Paris in 1937:

learning objectives

At the conclusion of this lesson, you should be able to:

  • Identify main modern monuments in the period by name, date, designer/client and location (KNOWLEDGE)
  • Define terminology specific to technique, style and structure (KNOWLEDGE)
  • Describe integration of technology (material and non-material) in individual monuments (KNOWLEDGE)
  • Explain stylistic/technical changes in design as they relate to cultural context (COMPREHENSION)
  • Summarize the main concepts in important works of theory by key writers (COMPREHENSION)
  • Explain the development of the vocation/profession of building designers from (comprehension)
  • Visually analyze buildings from this period to suggest date, place, and designer (ANALYSIS)
  • Recognize change in architectural styles by comparing their formal and technical characteristic (ANALYSIS)
  • Critique the agency of people and technology w/in the process of design (EVALUATE)
  • Evaluate different theoretical and design approaches and defend personal preference for one or more (EVALUATE)

part 1

The Soviet Union

*Boris Iofan.  Soviet Pavilion, Paris: 1937

  1. Vera Mukhina, sc: Worker & Collective Farm Woman

Iofan, Palace of the Soviets (project): 1931-33

All-Russia Exposition Center, Moscow: 1935-39

The Palace of the Soviets was the central monument for the new regime. The later stages of the competition are recorded here:

In 1938 the film The New Moscow featured images of the real and imagined capital (while this Soviet newsreel shows you the reality of the site for the "Palace")

A series of skyscrapers that was actually completed is chronicled here:


part 1



Marcello Piacentini.  Via della Conciliazione: 1936

Giovanni Guerrini. Palazzo della Civiltà del Lavoro, EUR: 1938-43

& other EUR buildings from the late 30s


The centerpiece of the EUR was recently purchased and restored by luxury brand Fendi. (Its inauguration was quite an affair.)

part 1



*Albert Speer.  German Pavilion, Paris: 1937

Speer (w/ Adolf Hitler).  Neuplanung (New Plan) for Berlin: 1937-40

Speer.  Capitol, Germania (Berlin): 1937

Albert Speer, Parteitagsgelände (Party Rally Grounds), Nuermberg:

late ‘30s

Speer.  Zeppelinfeld, Nuremberg (Germany): 1936

Let's start with the fact that the Nazi Party loved a good spectacle.

Berlin in the Third Reich

Here is a really effective rendering of the unbuilt hall

Spectacle and architecture, conjoined:


part 1

United States

Enjoy this airborne tour of Washington in 1930


Waddy B. Wood.  Dept. of the Interior: 1935

Paul Philippe Cret.  Federal Reserve: 1935

Cass Gilbert. Supreme Court Building: 1935

Henry Bacon & Daniel Chester French (sc), Lincoln Memorial :1922

John Russell Pope and Rudolph Evans (sc), Jefferson Memorial: 1943

Pope.  National Gallery: 1939

Friedrich St. Florian. National WWII Memorial: 1997

part 1


Nordic Classicism/Modernism & Swedish Grace

All Stockholm, Sweden unless noted otherwise


Vernacular roots/National Romanticism

Skansen open-air museum (founded 1891)

Biological Museum (Agi Lindegren, 1893)

Student Housing, Helsinki, Finland  (Wivi Lönn, 1910)

Central Fire Station, Tallinn, Finland (Wivi Lönn, 1908)

Stockholm City Hall (Ragnar Östberg, 1907; 1911-23)

Engelbrekt Church, Stockholm (Lars Israel Wahlman, 1914)


Classicism in the North

Concert Hall (Ivar Tengborn, 1926)

Resurrection Chapel, Woodland Cemetery (Sigurd Lewerentz, 1926)

Chapel, Woodland Cemetery (Gunnar Asplund, 1920)

Public Library (Gunnar Asplund, 1928)


additional resources

Additional Resources

The Living New Deal

click here


Tour of the cemetery (in Swedish)

...and in English