September 27, 2013

5 Things I Like: Modernist Architecture in America Edition

Today's post celebrates Modernist architecture,  a 20th century movement characterized by lack of ornament, simplification of form and emphasis on volume. Some of this style's most notable architects include Mies van der Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra and Le Corbusier. Modernist architecture includes subcategories such as Miesian, Neo-Expressionism and the International Style.

Edith Farnsworth House

Completed in 1951, the Edith Farnsworth House in Illinois is an exemplar of Mies van der Rohe's designs for single-story dwellings. The house's columns, or pilotti, impart a sense of weightlessness and are a hallmark of Modernist architecture. 
I love how the Farnsworth house appears to levitate off the ground as well as its abundance of windows.

the Rice House 

 Located right here in my hometown of Richmond, Virginia, the Rice House was designed by Richard Neutra in the mid 1960s.
Typical of Neutra, the house features many horizontal planes and an open interior floor plan. 

the Markel Building 

Markel Building
Also in Richmond, the Markel Building is considered by many to be amongst the world's ugliest buildings but I find this example of Neo-Expressionism fun and compelling. 

Sea Ranch Chapel

Another stunning example of Neo-Expressionism, Sea Ranch Chapel was designed by James Hubbell and completed in 1985. The building makes use of local materials and is part of the Sea Ranch planned community located along the Pacific Coast in California.
I love how this building reflects the wild, sweeping cliffs and ocean waves of its immediate surroundings. On a personal note, this is where my best friend from grad school got married. (I know you are reading this so hello and I miss you!)

Mission 66

Mission 66 was actually a widespread program of improvements and additions to the National Park system from 1956 -1966 to celebrate the department's 100th anniversary. Mission 66 architecture, visitors' centers in particular, were essentially International Style buildings within a park setting. 
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This style was a radical departure from the heavy massing and conspicuous ornament of traditional Park Rustic architecture built in the 1930s. Although Mission 66 architecture aimed to create buildings which blended into the background, some of these buildings have recently sparked controversy, like the Cyclorama pictured below.
Designed by Richard Neutra, the building was recently demolished in early 2013.

I hope you've enjoyed my discussion of a few of my favorite Modernist gems in the United States. What are your reactions to this movement?

1 comment:

  1. I like your blog name change!
    I love the Edith Farnsworth house design! I often think I'd love to live in a house with so many windows, that is, if there was nobody to spy on me in the house!
    Have you ever considered a post on your graduate school experience? I am about to graduate with my BA in criminology and am considering my options for either going to grad school, or venturing out with just a BA. I would love to hear your thoughts!


looking forward to hearing from you!