Paper Example on Modernism: Art and Architecture

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  932 Words
Date:  2022-10-20


The time frames, Italian Rationalism & Le Corbusier's "Toward a New Architecture" and Modernism were different movements formed in different nations. The movements were responsible for spearheading changes in architectural designs. Importantly, philosophers who were architectural designers were the primary contributors to the changes in designs and approaches in architecture. Although the movements lasted for a short period, the philosophers were able to develop structures or magnificent buildings which depict the architectural designs of the time. The first movement, 'Italian Rationalism & Le Corbusier's "Toward a New Architecture"' was formed in 1914 in Italy and lasted throughout the first world war. It is estimated that The pre-war futurist movement along with the classical expression which emerged in Italy after WWI was the beginning of Italian Rationalism (Frampton 210-12). On the other hand, "Towards a New Architecture" was another influential movement in Italy and was began through a collection of essays primarily by Charles-Edouard Jeannaret who advocated for the exploration of the concept of modern architecture.

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The first wave, Italian Rationalism, began in 1914 while Le Corbusier's "Toward a New Architecture" was formed in 1926. The philosophers and architects behind the movement included Charles-Edouard Jeannaret, Giuseppe Terragni and six other graduates from Milan Polytechnic, and Giorgio de Chirico. Giuseppe Terragni and the other six members of the revolutionist movement advocated that the nation needed to change its approach to construction from Novecento style or revivalism to adopt a futuristic approach. The group of seven architects had been inspired by the Deutsche Werkbund and Russian Constructivism; hence, they thought that changing the approach to construction in Italy would steer the nation towards adopting a modernistic approach to the development of housing structures. The group together with other architects and philosophers were able to change the architectural designs in the nation and eventually new housing structures were developed (Kallis 63).

In 1928, the development of futuristic housing structures that did not adhere to neo-classical and neo-baroque revivalism ideologies began. The Novocomun Apartments in Milan was developed using the idea of Russian constructivism rather than the traditional classical approach initially used by Italy. The developers of the house were concerned with the "displacement of mass" and ensured that the building was made symmetrical and contained glass cylinders at its corners. In between 1932 to 1936, the Casa del Fascio, Como was developed and was centered on a glass atrium. Terragni had an obsession with transparent architecture; hence, he ensured the structures allowed the projection of street life into the building. Lastly, the Danteum was developed by Giuseppe Terragni and Pietro Lingeri in 1938. The building was primarily designed to house the museum as well as the library to contain the various editions of Dante. These were among the various infrastructures that the architects went ahead to develop even as a representation of the change in architectural approaches (Frampton 207-11).

On the other hand, Modernism was a similar movement in Germany with the aim of changing the architectural approach in the nation. The movement began in 1919 with the formation of a crafts school. The school had the objective of teaching the craftsmen and artists without any class distinctions. The approach would facilitate the creation of new buildings and future to embrace architecture and sculpture and painting in one unity. Similar to the movement in Italy, modernism began to change the approach to architectural methods an adopt a modern style (Frampton 123). Also, the similar to the Italian style, the movement was influenced by architects and designers. However, the movement different concerning the time frame as modernism began in 1919 and ended in 1932 while the movement in Italy had begun in 1914 until 1943.

The movement began after Germany had been defeated in the First World War and there was a need for a resurgence of radical art experimentation. Walter Gropius was a German architect as well as the pioneering master of modern architectural designs and art. He was the founder of Bauhaus. Johannes Itten who was an instructor at Bauhaus focused on facilitating a curriculum of craft and design. Itten was an expressionist painter and designer. Theo van Doesburg was a Dutch artist and was added as a faculty member in Bauhaus in 1922. In the same year, Wassily Kandinsky, a Russian painter, and theorist joined Bauhaus until 1928. Laszlo Moholy-Nagy, who was profoundly influenced by constructivism and advocated for the integration of technology into arts, replaced Itten in 1923 in Bauhaus. Unlike the Italian movement without a base, Bauhaus was the center of beginning the revolution or changes in artistic approaches (Aynsley 33).


The faculty at Bauhaus improved the skills of the artists and the architects. Marcel Breuer who was an alumnus and later a teacher at Bauhaus developed great structures although he had an adoration for modular construction and simpler forms of architecture. Marcel Breuer designed the Wolfson House in Salt Point, New York which represented modernity in architecture. Moreover, the skills gained in Bauhaus enabled Marcel Breuer, as an architect, to contribute to the construction of UNESCO Headquarters in Paris and Whitney Museum of American Art which represented modern architectural approach inspired by modernism. Other architects such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe had an exceptional contribution to modern architecture, and in 1921, he developed Friedrichstrasse office building Berlin (Frampton 162). Therefore, both the movements that facilitated modern architecture in Italy and Germany were inspired by various architects who developed magnificent buildings to signify the new approach to architecture and construction.

Works Cited

Aynsley, Jeremy. "Bauhaus Houses and the Design Canon: 1923-2019." (2017).

Frampton, Kenneth, and Yukio Futagawa. Modern architecture. ADA Edita, 1983.

Kallis, Aristotle. "Futures Made Present: Architecture, Monument, and the Battle for the 'Third Way'in Fascist Italy." Fascism 7.1 (2018): 45-79.

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