ARC 331: Corporate Modernism

week of

April 12-18

introduction

Introductory comment or great big question

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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

Modernist Migration

  • Read: Gelernter, chapter 9 (through pp. 281)
  • Read: Colquhoun, chap. chapter 12

One of the most profound effects of the war on architecture was in population dispersal. We've seen what this meant for housing, but also on a finer grain, political and economic difficulties in Germany (and elsewhere) encouraged modernist architects to seek new homes in other countries. Bruno Taut landed in Turkey; several Bauhaus faculty went to England; many designers landed in the United States.

In the 1930s, several design schools were expanding and leveraged the opportunity to hire European designers. Albers went to work at Black Mountain College in North Carolina in 1933; Gropius started at Harvard in 1937; Mies van der Rohe landed at the Armour Institute that, auspiciously, was just about to move from its Navy Pier location to new campus on Chicago's South Side and take up the new name, Illinois Institute of Technology. While all of these teachers had immediate impact on students who then fanned out across the country, a significant exhibition helped to spread the ideals of European Modernism--at least in part.

In 1932 the Museum of Modern Art in New York staged Exhibition 15, curated by art historian/director of MOMA Alfred H. Barr & 26-year-old Philip Johnson, and accompanied by the book International Style: Architecture Since 1922, co-written by Johnson and historian Henry-Russel Hitchcock. The exhibition's aim was to show the commonality of aesthetic in modern architecture dubbed "The International Style."

part 2

Mid-Century Glass Towers

After the close of the war, America's massive industrial potential was turned to growing and emblemizing its gigantic economy and the giants within it. And thus the socialist, housing-focused architectural theory of 1920s Europe became the style of choice for American corporate giants.

Bunshaft & De Blois for SOM.  Lever House, New York: 1952

Natalie Griffin De Blois for SOM. Pepsi HQ, New York :1960

Ludwig Mies v.d. Rohe (w/ P. Johnson).  Seagram Building, NYC: 1954

Bruce Graham & Walter Netsch/SOM.  Inland Steel, Chicago: 1955-7

SOM (Bruce Graham, archt. & Fazlur Kahn, eng.).  Sears: 1974-76.

SOM (Graham & Kahn).  John Hancock Center: 1970

additional resources

Additional Resources

Renewing Inequality: Urban Renewal, Family Displacements, and Race, 1955-1966
https://dsl.richmond.edu/panorama/renewal/#view=0/0/1&viz=cartogram

https://dsl.richmond.edu/panorama/renewal/#view=0/0/1&viz=cartogram

 

Ed Bacon in Philadelphia, ca. 1959

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