Explorations during this time period were pushed by advances in technology and this shoved design and architecture forward. New building practices allowed for more risk and height to be added to design and The Worlds Fairs showed this off. The Buildings that were built to showcase what each country was doing were built with the newest practices to show the world that the country was one of power and importance. The purpose of the worlds fairs were to commemorate design and promote commercial products and show a collaborative design language for the time period also the fairs were held in certain locations as a celebratory event. For example when England held the Fair in the 1851, the London World Fair supported the building of the Crystal palace. The crystal palace was the longest building in the world at the time and by doing this it showed the world the power of London and how they were in the race to be the best and most forward in design and technology.
|The interior of the Crystal Palace|
During the times of the Worlds fairs came a debate of handmade or machine made. This debate created the Arts and Crafts movement where artisans created works of art and revolted against embracing the new building technology of the time. The Robie House in Chicago designed by Frank Lloyd Wright was on of the houses that embrace the arts and craft movement as well as taking it to a new level since Wright designed every single piece of furniture placed in this prairie style house. This way of Design to Wright was all about "shaping the experience" of those who entered the house. The arts and crafts movement was about the attention to details to make the home special and a experience.
|Exterior Shot of the Robie House|
After the arts and craft movement came a art movement called art nouveau and art deco which was prominent in 1880-1920. This movement showed a interest in metal and exploration of material and light. At the time all designers were on a quest to be modern and they found modernism by using inspiration from the past in the baroque period of design. The Casa Mila designed by Antonio Gaudi was made to show fluidity through its gentle curves and has strong ties to the baroque style while also having some ties to skeletal structure. Gaudi said “building should not fall over under sunlight of at all possible."
|Casa Mila exterior walls showing movement |
At this time in history it was a time of was and the implications of the war to design was drastic. With war came a greater need for new technology so this influenced everyone’s quest for modernism but they all choose to do it differently using the newly discovered design techniques. Otto Wagner choose to celebrate the buildings systems in the Postal Savings Bank where Josef Hoffman focused on surface material in his design of the Palais Stoclet in Vienna. The war made labor cheap so to create jobs many buildings were built to stimulate the economy like the Empire State Building by Shreve, lamb + Harmon. With the expansion of building techniques came building codes because skyscrapers were becoming more popular and in doing so created the need to allow light to the streets. The solution to this problem was proposed by William Van Allen with the design of the Chrysler Building the solution was building a structure that as it grew taller it stepped in creating a way for light to reach the streets.
|Step in method |
The drive for modernism became even stronger as time went on as designers pushed the limits of what modernism was and Corbusier was making an attempt at post modernism with the Notre Dame Du Haut. Out of modernism came the international style where no matter where buildings were they were identical not taking into consideration the surroundings at all. Because of this there was a conversation going on between modern architects about wither purpose was or was not necessary to make a building beautiful. While this conversation was going on there was a rise of the mega firm which made a larger gap between designers and clients. As a result of these conversations Decorators came about making a modern classical revival and reviving the past arts and crafts movement.
Scandinavian design soon came about any changed what modernism was about. Scandinavian design was all about simplistic minimal design that was functional. To the Scandinavians functionality was the basic element that all design needed and they also believed that design could solve problems in rooms instead of creating them.
Today in design we all draw inspiration from the past and still embrace new ideas and practices and as technology moves forward so will design and there is no telling what will come about for architecture in the future we can only wait and stand in amazement at the structures that are created.