Moderism

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The early twentieth century is when Modernism first emerged, and by the 1920s, the prominent figures of the movement - Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe – had the largest reputations towards it. It was not until after the Second World War that it gained huge popularity, after modernist planning was implemented as a solution to meet basic social needs, after the previous failures in architecture and design. Up to 15% the urban populations were living in poverty During the 1930s and one of the many social problems of this decade was slum clearance.1 One of the most popular solutions to these problems was modernist planning idea. Unfortunately the movement could not comprehend and cater for all the social problems of family and community, and a result; a lot modernist buildings were torn apart in the seventies. With some input to key architectural studies, this essay discusses the principles of urban modernism, how modernist architects tried to solve design problems by making urban utopias, and why the dream ultimately failed for the ambitious modernists.

The Bauhaus School of Design taught purity of form and to design for a better world by Walter Gropius. The phrase ‘form follows function’ is often used to describe the principles of modernism. It says that forms should be as simple as possible – architectural designs should not have any more ornament that is necessary to function. Ornament should follow the structure and purpose of the building, which is the modernist believes.
Family life and social interaction was at the centre of the modernist dream for a planned environment. “The vision was for trouble free areas by mixing blocks with terraces to create squares, zoning services and amenities, all interlinked by roads”.2 The modernists believed that residential should by separate from the commercial by planning and zoning areas. In the introduction to Modernism in Design, Paul Greenhalgh writes some key features in modernist design



Bibliography: Greenhalgh, P., Modernism in Design (London: Reaktion Books Ltd, 1990) Henket, H Jones, P. & Canniffe, E., Modern Architecture Through Case Studies 1945-1990 (Oxford: Architectural Press, 2007) Newman, O., Creating Defensible Space (Washington D.C: Rutgers University, 1996)

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