Modern Architecture

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  • Topic: Architecture, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier
  • Pages : 13 (4688 words )
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  • Published : October 11, 2010
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Le Corbusier and Mies van de Rohe were two architects influenced by the contemporary movements of their time period. Le Corbusier’s architectural ideology was derived from the multiple techniques and styles he had previously encountered through study. His early designs were expressive of the “youth style” which was introduced to him by his instructor, L’Eplattenier. New technologies, however, began to influence his philosophies. Le Corbusier saw potential in concrete building systems and desired to experiment with its structural abilities through his designs. The modern industry, as well as the political disorder which came about following the First World War, motivated his innovative design philosophies which appeared in his creation of the Domino House. The structure of the Domino House was a fundamental design for many of his future constructions. Through practice, Le Corbusier developed his own architectural theories in his Five Points on Architecture. Mies van der Rohe, too, was prompted by World War I. “The defeat and collapse of the German military-industrial imperium at the end of the First World War reduced the country to a state of economic and political turmoil and Mies, along with many other architects who had fought in the war, sought to create an architecture that was more organic that permitted by the autocratic canons of the Schinkel tradition.” Mies created an organic architecture through one of Corbusier’s Five Points: the free plan. Both Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier reveal revolutionary architectural designs in response to the development of their time period. Michael Speaks, current Dean of the University of Kentucky College of Design, plays an important role as an advocate of what architecture should be today. Contemporary theory continues to question how architecture of the present is defined. He claims that new architecture is dictated by the process in which it is created rather than on the objects created. He believes that architecture has become unchanging, not due to how a building appears, but due to the design processes contributing to their aesthetics. Mies van der Rohe’s second phase of published theories, “Building” and “Office Building” and Corbusier’s “Toward an Architecture: Argument,” along with Michael Speaks’ text “With All Due Respect,” illustrate their common belief that the process of architecture was a product of the age, that drew upon the past to progress with modern advancements.

According to the developments of Mies van der Rohe and Corbusier, architecture was a reflection of modern technology. Architecture characterized the era with building materials and construction methods. Mies van der Rohe thought that architecture was reactive to the time period, constantly changing. He stated, “Building art is the spatially apprehended will of the epoch. Alive. Changing. New. Not the yesterday, not the tomorrow, only the today is formable. Only this building creates. Create form out of the nature of the task with the means of our time.” Mies van der Rohe’s philosophies dictated that building was focused on the present. Architectural form then must also be altered because the backbone is found in the building systems of the time. The exact form built long in the past was not destined to be used in the present because those means were not attainable. Architecture must evolve from technologies of the present.

Like Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier was adamant that architecture was a product of the times. Le Corbusier declared, “Architecture suffocates in routine. The “styles” are a lie. Style is a unity of principle that animates all of the works of an era and results from a distinctive state of mind. Our era fixes its style every day.” He believed architecture could only accommodate the needs of a modern man when designs were approached with current techniques. According to Corbusier, when a new material is simply applied to a...
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