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Basic overview of the political, cultural and social influences on 20th century Architecture based on Kenneth Frampton's "Modern Architecture: A Critical History', for teaching fifth semester B.Arch students of University of Calicut.
layering of exquisite details that together create an elegant, cohesive whole.
This system of organisation and growth is among the most frequent in nature and offers an appropriate expansion towards its circumference,giving the Pavilion generous public areas at its entrance with a 128m2 terrace.
The partitioning seams become a strong formal feature of the exterior façade cladding, whilst these seams also create a spatial rhythm of perspective views within the interior exhibition spaces.
Modern and Postmodern Architecture
WHAT IS ARCHITECTURE?
governed by a
both the process and product of planning, designing and construction
of buildings and other physical structures. architectural works, in the
form of buildings are perceived as cultural symbols and works of art.
historic civilizations are often identified with their surviving architectural
MAKING A STATEMENT
Thinking, discussing and writing about
Architectural theory stayed close to Schools and Styles..As publishing
became more common, theory became rich. With internet, it gained
momentum. As a result, Styles and Movements formed and dissolved much
more quickly than the relatively enduring modes in earlier history.
“Architecture begins when two bricks are put
-Mies Vander Rohe
“You employ stone, wood and concrete, you build
houses and palaces- that is construction. Ingenuity is
at work. But suddenly you touch my heart, you do me
good. I am happy and I say, this is beautiful. That is
Contemporary architectural discourse is concerned with its position within
culture generally and thought in particular (World view)- so philosophy
and cultural studies are as important as buildings..
IN THE BEGINNING OF ARCHITECTURAL TIME...
Architecture and engineering of construction were same...
WITH EMERGING KNOWLEDGE, SCIENCE,
Architecture and engineering separated..architects concentrated on
aesthetics and humanist aspects..
BAROQUE, ROCOCO, NEO CLASSICISM (1700-1850 AD)
elaborate and extravagant ornamentation/ renewed interest in Classic
The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new
manufacturing processes in the period from about
1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840.
• INITIAL RELUCTANCE TO ACCEPT NEW TECHNOLOGY IN ARCHITECTURE
• CRYSTAL PALACE, EIFFEL TOWER, CHICAGO FIRE AND SKYSCRAPERS
• BIRTH OF MODERNISM IN ARCHITECTURE- NEW MATERIALS, NEW
Renunciation of Old World
Commitment to address mass housing needs
Enthusiasm to explore architectural potential of
materials and technologies often disdained by
Belief in the power of Form to transform the world
Simplicity and clarity- elimination of unnecessary
Truth to material-Visual expression of structure
Use of industrially produced materials
Machine aesthetics. (House is a machine to live in,
just like car is a machine to travel- efficiency)
MODERNISM IS NOT JUST MINIMALISM…NOT
PLAIN, WHITE WALLS OR BRUTAL CONCRETE
Cheap and copied ornamentation
Iron buildings- dark satanic mills
Slums, mass housing needs
General dissatisfaction about elaborate decoration
ATTEMPTS TO IMPROVE QUALITY OF MACHINE
PRODUCTION BY INTEGRATING TRADITIONAL
SULLIVAN ‘FORM EVER FOLLOWS FUNCTION’
SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT...
AFTER WORLD WAR I ... ARCHITECTURE OF
POLITICS, POWER AND NEEDS...
Migration and Slums
Skyscrapers and Utopia
Attempt at social reform
through architecture and
MODERN MOVEMENT BETWEEN THE WORLD
Modernity interpreted as Monumental Classicism in
Obscured local, regional and ethnic differences
INDIFFERENT TO HISTORY AND TRADITION
An exploration into the role of architect and the source
of architectural form
i. Function Form (automatic form generation)
ii. Intuition + Genius (self expression)
Still Modern Movement acquired a mythical significance
greater than its actual achievements by WW II
During and following World War II, this broad branching of Modern
Architecture declined, with the rise of International Style and other mid
ALVAR AALTO (1898-1976, Finland)
Works during 1920-1935 – Nordic Classicism style (National
Inspired from Traditional Karelia farm house.
1935-1948 – Modern Functionalism and International Style
1948 onwards- a matured self expression (Critical
Regionalism according to Frampton)
He worked with wood and plywood, following Finnish
His use of ‘white’- inspired from his father’s table...also to get
maximum reflected light in the long Finnish winters.
Inspired from the Finnish lake basins...
The spread of tuberculosis in Finland between the wars led to the
construction of a number of sanatoria throughout the country. One of
these was the Varsinais-Suomi tuberculosis sanatorium in Paimio.
Competition for design was won by Aalto in 1929.
In Aalto's entry for this
competition, the buildings were
grouped in a Neo-Classical
manner with sun balconies
representing a more modern
architectural approach. Lying in
the sun on a balcony was part of
the treatment for tuberculosis so
that balconies like these were an
essential part of sanatorium
The closed building mass first opens
symmetrically and then develops its final
articulated form with no fundamental
change in the basic idea.
The basic functions of the building have been resolved so
that each wing of the building and the functions within it
form a unit of its own. A-wing is the patients' wing with the
sun balconies, the most important architectonic element,
facing south. B-wing contains the common spaces:
treatment rooms, dining hall, library and common rooms.
C-wing contains the laundry, kitchens and staff
accommodation. The single-storey D-wing contains the
boiler room and heating plant. Circulation centres on the
main entrance hall between A-wing and B-wing and the
stairwell linked to it, which together give access to the
other wings of the building.
The Functionalist aspect of the building - the typical
emphasis on technology of the period - is represented by
various things such as the glass-walled lift shaft and the
abundance of details in metal, both in the elevations and
in the interior. To Aalto, even in this, the principal work of
his Modernist period, technology does not have any
absolute intrinsic value, but forms one side of a very
All furniture designed by architect himself
In the public spaces, the colour scheme of the
Sanatorium is convergent with the neo-plastic art of the
twenties and thirties: blue, yellow, grey and white. It
creates a fresh and cheerful yet peaceful atmosphere.
The staircase opens directly from the foyer forming a
space that extends right through the building, into which
daylight filters from both east and west.
Mostly standardized components (eg. balustrade)
VILLA MAIREA (1939) has an L-shape plan-
Farmhouse typology. Partii-two parts enclosing court
yard. Forest concept. Modern open plan with traditional
Tupa. Between rigid angles, curves and free forms of
pool, balcony, fireplace etc. Experimentation in wood.
A PART OF MODERN ARCHITECTURE WHERE
DECORATIONS ARE AVOIDED AND FUNCTIONAL
AESTHETICS IS MOST PROMINENT
Inspired from deStilji. Also Wright, Corbusier,
1932- MoMA- Henry Russel Hitchcock and Philip Johnson-
identified, categorized and expanded upon principles
common to Modernism across the world
Expression of volume rather than mass
Emphasis on balance rather than symmetry
Expulsion of applied ornament
Lightweight technique, modern synthetic materials,
standard modular parts, hypothetical flexibility of the free
plan, skeleton frame construction.
Dr. Lovell Health House,
Casa Bloc communal
Glass House, Philip Johnson
Brazilian Pavilion, Niemeyer
EERO SAARINEN (1910-1961, Finland, moved to US in
Father Eliel Saarinen, mother a sculptor
He was taught that each object should be designed in
its "next largest context - a chair in a room, a room in a
house, a house in an environment, environment in a city
His first independent project was Jefferson Memorial
His furniture designs were very
functional, designed ‘womb chair’
“ The purpose of architecture is to shelter and
enhance man’s life on earth and to fulfil his
belief in the nobility of his existence.”
SIX PILLARS OF
6th pillar: UNITY OF DESIGN
His initial style- especially furniture designs- were based
on Art Nouveau
Eero developed a remarkable artistic range that drew from
colour, form, and materials. He showed a marked
inclination toward innovative structures and sculptural
forms, but not at the cost of practical realities. He moved
easily between the International style and Expressionism,
utilizing a wide variety of curves, cornices, and cantilevers.
He is called father of ‘Neo Expressionism’
PREFAB- WELFARE STATE ARCHITECTURE
Shallow pitched roofs, brick walls,
vertically boarded spandrels with wooden
picture windows painted white or left
bare…People’s detailing- The New
Humanism (William Morris Revival)
BRUTALISM Concrete left rough
Fernard Leger and
• VALUATION OF
EARLY UTOPIAN IDEAS Étienne-Louis Boullée-
CENOTAPH FOR NEWTON (1750)
Boullée's fondness for grandiose designs has caused him to be characterized as both
a megalomaniac and a visionary. His focus on polarity (offsetting opposite design
elements) and the use of light and shadow was highly innovative, and continues to
influence architects to this day. He was "rediscovered" in the 20th century and has
influenced recent architects such as Aldo Rossi.
EARLY UTOPIAN IDEAS Claude Nicolas Ledoux
The Royal Saltworks at Arc-et-Senans (1775–1778)
Neoclassical French architect. His architecture is associated with the term
Architecture parlante (“speaking architecture”). Around the time of the royal
saltworks, Ledoux formalized his innovative design ideas for an urbanism and an
architecture intended to improve society, of a Cité idéale charged with symbols and
EARLY UTOPIAN IDEAS LE CORBUSIER- PLAN VOISIN
Le Corbusier, intended to design a city structure on principles of rationality,
orderliness, and social improvement. He exhibited his "Plan Voisin”. In it, he proposed
to bulldoze most of central Paris north of the Seine and replace it with his sixty-story
cruciform towers from the Contemporary City, placed within an orthogonal street grid
and park-like green space.
EARLY UTOPIAN IDEAS Buckminister Fuller-GEODESIC
The geodesic domes addressed a universal need for housing. They draw together
functional shelter, elusively simple laws of Nature's structuring, symmetry, medium-
high math, countercultural community, Eskimo simplicity, up-to-dateness. The
geodesic dome offered total mobility to people and freed them from getting into debt
and spending their lives to pay off a home. Fuller imagined that these houses would
be mass-produced and available to everyone .
Archigram was formed in 1960 at the Architecture Association in London by six architects
and designers, Peter Cook, Warren Chalk, Ron Herron, Dennis Crompton, Michael
Webb and David Greene. In 1961, Archigram (an eponymous publication whose name was
derived from the combination of the words “architecture” + “telegram”) was born as a single
sheet magazine filled with poems and sketches.
In the late 1950’s a young group of Japanese architects and city planners came together
to form the Metabolist group. Post-war Japan was in need of residential and urban
housing. With this in mind the group began designing structures that would formally be
capable of maximizing efficiency. The Metabolists concerned themselves with housing
large populations while preserving the autonomy of the individual in a modern world. Along
with this, the Metabolists believed that architectural works should change over time with
society; and they should essentially be organic units able to be modified for the good of the
group. It can be noted that this movement does have many similarities to the International
Style in both building materials and their combined lack of ornamentation. Apart from this
apparent commonality, the Metabolists rejected traditional architectural beliefs and
developed a new conception of form and function.
Superstudio was an architecture firm, founded in 1966 in Florence, Italy by Adolfo Natalini
and Cristiano Toraldo di Francia. Superstudio was a major part of the Radical architecture
movement of the late 1960s. In 1967, Natalini established three categories of future
research: “architecture of the monument”; the “architecture of the image”; and
“technomorphic architecture”. Soon, Superstudio would be known for its conceptual
architecture works, most notably the 1969 Continuous Monument: An Architectural Model
for Total Urbanization.
Peter Cook- PLUG-IN-CITY (1964)
This provocative project suggests a hypothetical fantasy city, containing modular
residential units that “plug in” to a central infrastructural mega machine. The Plug-in
City is in fact not a city, but a constantly evolving megastructure that incorporates
residences, transportation and other essential services–all movable by giant cranes.
Herron- WALKING CITY
Self contained living pods
Nakagin Capsule : KISHO KUROKAWA
14 story steel and concrete structural towers
140 pre-fabricated capsules attached by 4 high-tension bolts
3,000 square meters of floor area. Kurokawa initially had it in mind that the owners of these
capsules, as time went by, would be able to interchange capsules, move them, and even
connect them to create larger living spaces for families of businesses. In addition, to fully
make use of the buildings capability for sustainability, the capsules were designed to be
replaced every 25 years. Unfortunately, this has not been the case
Complexities and Contradictions in Society
FAILURE OF MODERNISM
LOCAL,REGIONAL AND ETHNIC
LANGUAGE OF BUILDINGS ALMOST
STARK AND RATIONAL.FAILED TO MEET
HUMAN NEEDS OF COMFORT TO EYES.
DEGENERATED FLATS – SLUMS
MODERNISM WAS BORN DURING
WARS- A NEED THEN. AFTERWARDS
PEOPLE HAD MONEY, TIME AND PEACE
TO THINK AFRESH
DEHUMANIZATION OF UTOPIAN
CITIES OF MODERNISM WERE HIGHLY
• UNIVALENT (it is designed
around one of a few
simplified values )
• LIMITED NUMBER OF
• RIGHT ANGLED
• CLEAN AND SIMPLE
“THE LITTLE PIECE OF INTELLIGENCE IN A MAN NOW IS
NOT ENOUGH TO MAKE A PIN OR A NEEDLE, BUT THE
HEAD OF NAIL OR POINT OF A PIN ONLY”- JOHN RUSKIN
JANE JACOB’S ‘THE DEATH AND LIFE OF GREAT
‘COMPLEXITIES AND CONTRADICTIONS IN
‘THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE CITY’-ALDO ROSSI
‘THE ARCHITECTURE OF THE POOR’- HASSAN FATHY
“The main justification of honky-tonk elements in
architectural order is their very existence. They are what
they are. Architects can bemoan or try to ignore them
(referring to the ornamental and decorative elements in
buildings) or even try to abolish them, but they will not go
away. Or they will not go away for a long time, because
architects do not have the power to replace them (nor do
they know what to replace them with).”
‘Complexity and Contradictions’ had an enormous impact on
architectural thinking in the 1960s, when the legacy of
modernism in architecture was being radically reconsidered.
It demanded an end to functionalist dogmatism and a re
evaluation of architectural history.
Today, it is regarded as seminal document behind the emergence
Venturi - a Populist architect.
Venturi’s description and analysis of vanna venturi house elevated
the structure to iconic status as a model of new architecture which
he sought to define.
“This building recognizes complexities and contradictions”, he
“The front, in its conventional combinations of door, windows,
chimney, and gable, creates an almost symbolic image of a
The building embodies the intellectual agenda and architectural
invention which Venturi presented as a powerful challenge to
The flat, cut out appearance of the front elevation, with its curious
split pediment motif above a gaping front door, and prominent
chimney stack rising behind, is a striking break with modernist
Behind the facade, the simple rectangular plan is extruded to form
a complex volume revealing the influence of the American Shingle
Style, or British Arts and Crafts movement.
The main living
arranged simply at
ground level, with
an upper level
the central area of
the large pitched
The organization of plan
and section hinges on the
between the oversized, off-
center chimney-piece rising
through the house, and the
oddly shaped stair,wider at
the base and narrowing
toward top, which wraps
around the back of the
chimney, and is sandwiched
between it and the double–
height entrance vestibule.
While the modernists would choose either black or
white, it is important to go for “black and white…or
sometimes grey” - ambiguity, complexity and
contradiction in architecture.
Furthermore, Venturi also commented some of the
modernists’ famous work to be quite complex and
contradiction in its manner, one such example would
be Le Corbusier’s masterpiece, the Villa Savoye,
where he said, despite the plain and simplistic
exterior, the plan of the interior present complexity
and this is a contradiction to modern architecture
Robert Venturi was the architect who redefined the
renowned phrase “less is more” into “less is a bore”.
He formulated a theory of the duck and decorated shed
The duck form does its function well, in a very
straightforward manner tells you that the construction
involves ducks or more frankly sells ducks/eggs.
Whereas, in the case of the decorated shed, we cannot
visualize its function from looking at the building alone.
Decorated shed represents an architecture of ambiguity.
Without a sign (hence, decoration), the identity of the building
remains ambiguous, Thus, the purpose, function of the shed
is determined by the decoration such as the sign.
This concept became a significant point in understanding
Postmodern architecture, as opposed to the purity and clarity
of the previous era of modernism.
What is wrong with giving people what they want? Isn’t the
main street almost all right?
In 1977, Charles Jencks published the first comprehensive guide to postmodernism as
an architectural movement, The Language of Postmodern Architecture. He pinpoints the
instant of Modernism’s death, writing “Happily, we can date the death of Modern
Architecture to a precise moment in time… Modern Architecture died in St. Louis,
Missouri, on July 15, 1972 at 3:32 p.m. (or thereabouts) when the infamous Pruitt-Igoe
scheme, or rather several of its slab blocks, were given the final coup de grace by
•Philip Johnson and John Burgee’s AT&T
Building in New York.
•The AT&T Building is double coded
because it is part skyscraper and part
•It blends in with the other modernist
buildings in its vicinity by mirroring and
parodying many of their features. For
example, its façade is left right reversible,
it includes a great many 90° angles, its
ground level incorporates pillars, and
there is a simple capital in the top
horizontal row of windows. Comparing
this with the Seagram Building for
example demonstrates the AT&T’s
• However, the AT&T Building’s pink
granite sheathing provides a welcome
ironic break from the drabber colours of
its repetitive neighbours.
•The building also includes a second capital
on top of the modernist one, the broken
Chippendale pediment, which breaks the
modernist flat-roof code and also evokes a
grandfather clock- a building taking the
form of a clock.
SONY BUILDING (AT&T)
1. DISSONANT BEAUTYOR DISHARMONIOUSHARMONY
2. PLURALISM-CELEBRATION OF DIFFERENCE. DIFFERENT "LANGUAGES" OF ART AND ARCHITECTURE ARE MIXED TOGETHER
FOR SPECIFIC FUNCTIONS AND SYMBOLIC INTENTIONS. AMBIGUITY IS OFTEN VALUED – IT IS UP TO THE READER TO SUPPLY
THE "UNIFYING TEXT".
3. NEW BUILDINGS SHOULD BOTH FIT INTO AND EXTEND THE URBANCONTEXT. REUSE SUCHCONSTANTSAS THESTREET,
ARCADEANDPIAZZA, YET ACKNOWLEDGETOO THENEWTECHNOLOGIES AND MEANS OF TRANSPORTATION.
4. ANTHROPOMORPHISM-ORNAMENTS AND MOULDINGS SUGGESTIVE OF THE HUMAN BODY. THERE MIGHT BE A HIDDEN OR
SUGGESTED FACE, FOR INSTANCE, OR A FULL FIGURE.
5. CONTINUUMBETWEENTHE PASTANDTHEPRESENT. FOR MODERNISM THERE IS A POSITIVE BREAK WITH THE PAST. IN
POSTMODERN ARCHITECTURE THERE IS PARODY, NOSTALGIA, AND PASTICHE. IT IS ALMOST LIKE A HALF-REMEMBERED
DREAM – BITS OF CLASSICAL REFERENCE.
6. RETURNTO PAINTING-RETURN TO CONTENT. IMAGES OF THE PAST, WITHOUT THE NARRATIVE OF THE PAST.
7. DOUBLE-CODING, IRONY, AMBIGUITY, ANDCONTRADICTION. THE UNEXPECTED IS INCORPORATED. OPPOSITES ARE
8. MULTIVALENCE. A UNIVALENT WORK OR BUILDING ATTEMPTS TO REFER ONLY TO ITSELF. A MULTIVALENT BUILDING
REACHES OUT TO THE REST OF ITS ENVIRONMENT AND MAKES DIFFERENT ASSOCIATIONS. THIS ENSURES THAT A WORK WILL
HAVE MULTIPLE RESONANCES, AND DIFFERENT READINGS.
9. REINTERPRETATIONOF TRADITION.A CLASSICAL FORM MAY BE PRESSED INTO NEW SERVICE, AND LOOK STRANGE TO BEGIN
WITH BUT ACTUALLY MAKE SENSE ONCE YOU UNDERSTAND THE REFERENCES.
10. POSTMODERNISTS ALSO TRY TO ELABORATE NEWRHETORICALFIGURES
One of the chief innovators of postmodern
Was a teacher during most of his career.
During his fellowship, Moore served as a teaching
assistant for Louis Kahn.
Became Dean of the Yale School of Architecture from
1965 through 1970
In 1985, he became Professor of Architecture at the
University of Texas at Austin.
Author of The Place of Houses, Body, Memory and
Architecture, Water and Architecture, Dimensions,etc.
As an architect much of his work
was authored under the firm
identification MLTW -Moore,
Moore preferred conspicuous
design features, including loud
color combinations, stylistic
collisions, the re-use of historical-
design solutions, and the use of
non-traditional materials such
as plastic, platinum tiles, and neon
Moore's design philosophy
PRINCIPLE 1 : Habitation supports interplay between occupant and
structure that leads to a particular kind of relationship.
PRINCIPLE 2 : The right of freedom of speech for architecture and
architect . Buildings must 'speak' about how they were built and
about the people who use them and who built them.
PRINCIPLE 3 : Buildings must be inhabitable by the bodies , minds
and memories of that occupiers must be able to imprint their lives
on a building.
PRINCIPLE 4 : Design buildings in which occupants perceive each
space differently and appropriately for the purpose of the room . The
'sense of place' should not merely be visible with the eyes but
perceived by all the senses.
PRINCIPLE 5 : Quality in a building that allow us to 'find our roots'
through making connections with meaningful history and
He developed a humanistic approach to architecture
in which each design attempts to engage users within
a clearly defined spatial environment.
He believed that architecture must elicit responses
from all the senses ,not only visual.
He felt that architecture should be based on client
preference and on a symbolic reference to the site.
Instead of using architecture to moralize an ideal,he
uses it to generate an environment that stimulates the
Sea Ranch Condominium(1963)
The Faculty Club at university of California(1968)
Kresge College at university of California(1961)
The Haas School of Business ,California(1995)
The Washington State History Museum in Tacoma
Sea Ranch Housing
Moore‘s Sea Ranch housing (1965-72) on the California
coast was an extreme example of ecological architecture.
The houses modeled on local barns, are nestled into the
site, sheltered from the prevailing wings. Slanted woods
both deflect wind and collect sun
Sea Ranch Housing
It was a concept of cluster designed to preserve the
openness of a beautiful site, the California wood
tradition projected into a mid-sixties leaner sensibility
and aesthetic, with a builder's type awareness of
• Vernacular elements
• Site oriented design
• Right of freedom of speech
Sea Ranch Housing
Ground floor plan
First floor plan
Sea Ranch Housing
The design principles established by Condominium 1
included the use of what Moore termed aedicules,
small intimate spaces defined by four columns and a
canopy, small projections of the interior space to the
exterior that provide a view or a space.
The units are arranged with horizontal and vertical
view lines through the space.
Tightly grouped the units around a courtyard.
With traditional shed roofs.
An intersecting and towerlike wall planes, creating an
overall commanding form but one of identifiably
individual parts, at once casual and modest, open to
views and sun yet sheltered and protected from the
Sea Ranch housing
The timber frame is clad in vertical redwood siding, with
vertical forms resembling mine structures anchoring a
series of sloping roofs that descend toward the ocean,
perforated by skylights.
Windows are plain openings without mullions.
There are no eaves.
On the uphill side the building wraps around a courtyard
that houses the units' garages.
Sight oriented design.
Suits the context, and the social life.
Piazza d Italia
The Piazza d'Italia is an urban public plaza located at
It is a monument to the Italian-American community
and their contribution to the City of New Orleans.
The piazza was destined to become a major
attraction in a city where tourism is the second
Piazza d’Italia represented a new approach to urban
design, one that modeled itself on the historic plazas
of old Europe.
Moore designed it in close collaboration with three
young architects then practicing with the Perez firm in
New Orleans - Malcolm Heard, Ronald Filson and
Piazza d Italia
• Reference to historic
• Modified historic
• Used modern
• Perception by all
senses , not just
Piazza d Italia
Moore conceived of a public fountain in the shape of the
Italian peninsula, surrounded by 5 concentric colonnades,
playfully appropriated with Classical forms and orders,
executing them in modern materials (e.g., stainless
steel, neon) or kinetically (e.g., suggesting the acanthus
leaves of traditional Corinthian capitals through the use of
a clock tower, and Roman temple - expressed in abstract,
Designed to provide the small Italian-American population
in New Orleans with an architectural focus of ethnic identity
Playful design ,evokes joy unlike any other monumental
Charles Moore brought to post-modernism a gentle
but studied playfullness that made his buildings
immediately accessible to the public.
He felt that architecture should be based on client
preference and on a symbolic reference to the site.
Instead of using architecture to moralize an ideal,he
uses it to generate an environment that stimulates
He took pleasure in historic allusions.
His works were refreshing.
Graves was identified as a member of the New York
Five, a group of young architects whose largely residential
designs were reminiscent of the Swiss architect Le
Corbusier in their geometric abstraction.
After graduation, Michael Graves went to work for the
designer and architect, George Nelson, where his long-
standing interest in furniture design was encouraged
Modifying the Modern Tradition
By the mid-1970s Michael Graves was moving vigorously
away from the Modern tradition and toward an architecture he
characterized as "figurative"—that is, related in visual and
symbolic ways to human beings
Graves' architecture increasingly used anthropomorphic
metaphors, such as the classical three-part division of a wall
to suggest the feet, body, and head of a human figure
His architecture utilizes forms and concepts that derive
from the classical architectural tradition. To his love of
the classical, however, Graves added his training in
Modernist structure and his awareness of American
traditions, developing a personal form of Post-Modern
Post-Modernism Becomes Controversial
Michael Graves' works after 1980 brought him
international recognition as a leading figure in Post-
Modernism, but not without engendering controversy.
With other Post-Modernists, he was accused of
extremism for radically departing from Modernism's
pragmatic expression of function and materials.
Graves, however, found Modernism alienating and
created architecture intended to communicate with its
surroundings and with the public by referring to
architectural tradition. Especially important to him was
ornament, rejected by Modernism but seen by Post-
Modernists as essential to giving a building meaning
Resistance to Specialization
Beginning in the late 1970s, but particularly by the mid-
1980s, Graves expanded his range of influence to the
design of furniture - rugs, kitchen products, dinnerware,
jewelry, clocks, and watches
Tea kettle and peppermill by
Michael Graves for Alessi
Portland Building, Portland, Oregon, 1982
It is a 15 storey municipal office
It costed US$29 million
Added to the National register
of historic places in 2011
Block mass with decorated
facades, criticized for unpleasant
interior. Icon of Post-Modernism
Urban context and mild climate
use of a variety of surface materials and colors, small
windows, and inclusion of prominent decorative flourishes,
was in stark contrast to the architectural style most
commonly used for large office buildings at the time
In 1990, only eight years after it was built, the lobby and
food court were in need of remodeling
The roof of the Portland Building is covered with a green
roof, installed in 2006. The new roof will help the building's
heating, cooling, and storm-water runoff systems.
Roof height-70.41 m (231.0 ft)
In May 1983, the building won an American Institute of
Architects honor award. In 1985, the hammered-copper
statue Portlandia was added above the front entrance.
The pastel colour sprayed into geometric designs
evoked memories of childhood rather than government at
Looks like a giant unsolved rubik cube
Lack of sufficient detail
The flying garlands of portland building look flat and
two-dimensional. The details on the building is paint and
and paint is not form
Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
a resort hotel
The Dolphin and Swan share similar elements, but each has
a distinctive appearance.
The Dolphin is composed of a 257-foot (78 m) tall
triangular tower bisecting a 12-story rectangular mass with
four 9-story wings on the Swan-side of the structure.
The roof of each half of the main mass is adorned with a 56-
foot (17 m) tall Dolphin statue.
On the main colored facade there is a turquoise banana-leaf
pattern echoed by a similar wave pattern on the Swan.
The statues on top of the Dolphin hotel are not
mammalian dolphins, but a stylized version of a nautical
dolphin, a common symbol used on old world nautical maps.
The design of the creatures is based on Triton Fountain in
Humanism is probably the thing that connects all of his
projects. Whether planning a city, designing a building,
designing a piece of furniture or designing a toaster, first
and foremost he think about how people will interact with the
design. He embraced this philosophy while studying in
Rome, and it is the most important filter that he include in all
of our projects, and it is the greatest thing he have instilled in
our office. The terms have become almost cliché, but
function drives form in good design at every scale.
Michael Graves's own work has evolved dramatically, relative
both to his use of color and to his interest in a figurative
architecture that incorporates traditional elements along
with the lessons of modernism
His Hanselmann House (Fort Wayne, Indiana, 1967) a
complexity of form and yet a transitory quality were created by
his layering of exterior spaces.
These qualities became more pronounced in his Benacerraf
House addition (Princeton, New Jersey, 1969) and in his
Snyderman House (Fort Wayne, 1972), as did his organization
of interiors into distinct rooms, an approach at odds with the
Modern movement's traditional emphasis on openness of plan.
Graves also showed an interest in metaphor which would
eventually separate him further from established Modernism.
This metaphor was expressed variously in the classical sense of
processional entry at the Hanselmann House or the color
coding of the Benacerraf addition, suggesting analogies with
the natural environment.
Michael Graves uses what he terms representational
colors, colors that are derived primarily from nature and
For example, terra cotta, representing the earth, is
usually seen near the base of his structures. Blue used
as a metaphor for the sky, is often chosen for the ceiling.
According to Douglas Davis of Newsweek, "Michael
Graves is a man obsessed with communicating the
meaning of every element of his work. His soft, muted
colors reinforce this concern for symbolism".
Even though I was one of the originators of
Postmodernism, I don’t think in terms of style at all. I
never have. I was simply trying to humanize Modernism. I
was simply trying to find a way to make an architecture
that didn’t leave me cold.”
~ Michael Graves
EVEN POSTMODERNISM WAS JUST ANTI-
MODERNIST, NOT A THEORY IN ITSELF.
THE SEARCH FOR A THEORY OF DESIGN
PROMPTED ARCHITECTS TO BORROW THEORY
STRUCTURALISM, FEMINISM, RATIONALISM,
Post-structuralism is a response to structuralism(intellectual movement
developed in Europe from the early to mid-20th century) which argued that
human culture may be understood by means of a structure —
modelled on language (i.e., structural linguistics)—that differs from concrete reality and
Post structuralism is instability in the human sciences, due to
the complexity of humans themselves and the impossibility of fully escaping
structures in order to study them.
Post-Structuralists include Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Gilles
Deleuze, Judith Butler etc
POST-STRUCTURALISM REJECTS THE NOTION OF THE ESSENTIAL QUALITY
OF THE DOMINANT RELATION IN THE HIERARCHY, CHOOSING RATHER TO
EXPOSE THESE RELATIONS AND THE DEPENDENCY OF THE DOMINANT TERM
ON ITS APPARENTLY SUBSERVIENT COUNTERPART. THE ONLY WAY TO
PROPERLY UNDERSTAND THESE MEANINGS IS TO DECONSTRUCT
THE ASSUMPTIONS AND KNOWLEDGE SYSTEMS THAT PRODUCE THE
ILLUSION OF SINGULAR MEANING.
An approach that rigorously pursues the meaning of a text to
the point of exposing the supposed contradictions and internal
oppositions on which it is founded- to show the unstable
Related to Post structuralism. Structuralism says that different
objects come together to create meaning- ‘cat ate the rat’ .
There is absolute meaning.
Post Structuralism says one meaning is dependent on
another. Culture, lifestyle, world view etc. gives meaning,
priorities and hierarchies. So Deconstruction strips off all
meanings created by elements and dependencies, and still
what experience remains, is the absolute spirit.
What could possibly be the reason behind a style which appears
distorted, twisted, bent and destroys the conventional shape of
buildings and dissolves any obvious relationship between the
function of the building and its form?
Deconstructivism, or Deconstruction - - -
is an approach to building design which attempts to view
architecture in bits and pieces. The basic elements of
architecture are dismantled.
Deconstructivist buildings may seem to have no visual logic:
They may appear to be made up of unrelated, disharmonious
Deconstruction’s values challenge harmony, unity and
stability, proposing different views of the structure.
Form distorts itself, but not destroyed.
Base and superstructure- which comes first?
Is function the base, or is form the base?
Form came first, or distortion came first?
You can start distorting before there is a form-
understanding this stabilizes the form even further.
Displaces context-disturbs it- then acquiesces it, to make it
aware. Structure is shaken, but not collapsed.
Function follows deformation
Sense of disquiet by locating impurity within pure form.
Deconstructivism in Architecture:
Modern architecture pretended to be the most rational,
technologically advanced and perfectly functional
It also pretended to be based entirely on the carefully
quantified needs and requirements of its users.
Deconstructivism may be considered to be one of the
fragments of modern with its goal of dissolving the
fixed and determined forms of the modern and of
revealing the dynamic possibilities that lay within the
program offered by the institution and its context.
Deconstructivism in architecture:
The main task of architecture according to some deconstructivists
was a creation of a PURE ARCHITECTURAL EXPERIENCE,
unhindered by function- architecture of pleasure and joy.
One of the keywords in the deconstructivist lexicon is ‘difference’.
What this produced was the design of buildings where the actual
function of the building cannot be easily understood.
Parc de la villette
As part of an international competition, 1982-83, to revitalize the
abandoned and undeveloped land from the French national wholesale
meat market and slaughterhouse inParis, France, Bernard Tschumi was
chosen from over 470 entries including that of OMA/Rem Koolhaas, Zaha
Hadid, and Jean Nouvel. Unlike other entries in the competition, Tschumi
did not design the park in a traditional mindset where landscape and nature
are the predominant forces behind the design [i.e. Central Park]. Rather
he envisioned Parc de la Villette as a place of culture where natural and
artificial [man-made] are forced together into a state of constant
reconfiguration and discovery.Tschumi's competition winning scheme of
1983 places 35 red follies in the Park. Each folly is based on a cube and
deconstructed according to the rules of transformation (repitition, distortion,
superimposition, interruption and fragmentation), without any functional
Designing for the Digital World
“Jacques (Derrida) was
important in the later
stage of my work because
he said that it was possible
in language to separate the
sign and the signified − that
is, the thing and its sign.
What has made
architecture interesting for
philosophy is that
architecture is about the
relationship of the sign to
the signified, that the
column, for instance, is the
sign of the column and
the column itself; or the
wall is the sign of the wall
and the wall itself.
UNIFIED BERLIN- MAX REINHARDT HAUS PROPOSAL BY PETER
The ambition was to redefine /
reinvent the Library as an institution
no longer exclusively dedicated to
the book, but as an information store,
where all media - new and old - are
presented under a regime of new
The New Seattle Public Library- REM KOOLHASS,
The fact that the contents of a whole
library can be stored on a single chip,
or the fact that a single library can now
store the digital content of all libraries,
together represent potential re-
thinking: new forms of storage enable
the space dedicated to real books to
be contained; new forms of reading
enhance the aura of the real book.
During the past decade, Seattle has
played a pioneering role in the
definition of a new society. In addition
to the typical library, there will be
'attractions' that exploit the location of
the library system in Seattle, in the
heart of its emerging culture. The
areas of 'flight,' the digital revolution
and the evolutions of corporate
culture, will be highlighted by offering
access to unique materials and
archives, organized in specific cores.
Books have to share attention with other media of
potent performance and attraction.
A parallel exists between the vast proliferation and
incredible intricacy of program in the New Library, and
the equally explosive multiplication of information
media and social obligations that has to be
accommodated within it.
The Library has been transformed from a space to read into a social center with
Each library today houses a proliferation of adjunct conditions that creates a
since its format has never been fundamentally
adjusted to accommodate its new social role,
the Library is like a host organism
overwhelmed by its parasites
The entire 2025 collection can be held
comfortably within one demarcated
zone, 19,129 sf less than originally
allocated to it.
By genetically modifying the superposition of floors in the typical American high-
rise, a building emerges that is at the same time sensitive (the slopes will admit
unusual quantities of daylight where desirable), contextual (each side can react
differently to specific urban conditions), iconic. Its angular facets form, with the
folds of Gehry's Experience Music Project, a plausible bracketing of Seattle's
Our first operation has been the
‘combing’ and consolidation of the
apparently ungovernable proliferation
of programs and media. By combining
like with like, we have identified five
platforms, each a programmatic
cluster that is architecturally defined
and equipped for maximum, dedicated
performance. Because each platform
is designed for a unique purpose, they
are different in size, density, opacity.
The in-between spaces are like
trading floors where librarians inform
and stimulate, where the interface
between the different platforms is
organized - spaces for work,
interaction, and play. (And reading).
For the Seattle Public Library
(SPL), the intersection of identity
and legibility occurs in the realm
of the virtual first.
For many, the first point of
contact with the identity of the
SPL will be the internet site. It
offers a unique opportunity to
declare the pleasures and
benefits of the new Library, as
well as its structure and
strengths. The virtual functions
also as a training ground -
introducing the platform model,
the hierarchy, features and
ZAHA HADID’S DESIGN FOR CHANEL’S MOBILE
Form-celebration of iconic work of Chanel
Travelling art space
Hosts exhibition of art spaces inspired by Chanel bags
called Mobile art
Building elements-small and easily transportable through
Resulting structure-series of continuous arch shaped
elements and central courtyard
Complexity and technological advances in digital imaging
software and construction techniques have made the
architecture of the Mobile Art Pavilion possible.
Architectural language of fluidity and nature, driven by
new digital design and manufacturing processes
Resulted in the pavilion’s organic form
Evolved from spiraling forms of nature
Offers appropriate expansion towards circumference,
providing generous public areas.
Also, due to Hadid’s explorations of natural
Follows the parametric distortion of a torus
Circular Torus-fundamental diagram of exhibition space.
Doughnut-like shape, created by rotating a circle around
another one in a coplanar axis
Polar grid cuts distorted
torus into 10 degree
Defines joint lines of its
Distortion-creates a variety of exhibition spaces at the
Centre-courtyard-opportunity to meet other visitors to the
Organic shell-created with a succession of reducing
Segmentation-appropriate system of partitioning.
Volatility of design form of pavilion-generated through
digital imaging software.
Allowed for construction techniques to be easily
manufactured and processed.
Through computation, expansion and contraction of the
pavilion made easy
First unique concept-daylighting illuminate downwards,
artificial light pushes upwards
Second-large cavity floods entrance with light blurring
difference between artificial and natural light
Pavilion to travel over three
appropriate system of
Allowing pavilion to be
easily transported in
formal feature of the
exterior façade cladding
Glazed ceiling –control
temperature in different
Natural light from the 7
elements on the roof is
augmented by artificial light
pushed up from the gap
between the wall and
Oppositions between interior and exterior, light and dark and
natural and artificial landscapes are synthesised
Lines of energy converge within the pavilion
Cladding-FRP, strong, lightweight,
moulded into contours
Pavilion’s exterior develops into rich interior spaces-maximize potential to reuse and
rethink space-flixibility in plan
"The general characteristics of Deconstructivist design are as follows:
Explodes architectural form into loose collections of related
Destroys the dominance of the right angle and the cube by using
the diagonal line and the `slice' of space.
Uses ideas and images from Russian Revolutionary architecture
and design -Russian Constructivism
Searches for more DYNAMIC spatial possibilities and experiences
not explored (or forbidden) by the Modern Movement.
Provokes shock, uncertainty, unease, disquiet, disruption, distortion
by challenging familiar ideas about space, order and regularity in
Rejects the idea of the `perfect form' for a particular activity and
rejects the familiar relationship between certain forms and certain