Modern Vs. Postmodern Architecture Essay

1518 words - 6 pages

If modernism and postmodernism are arguably two most distinguishing movements that dominated the 20th century Western art, they are certainly most exceptional styles that dominated the global architecture during this period. While modernism sought to capture the images and sensibilities of the age, going beyond simple representation of the present and involving the artist’s critical examination of the principles of art itself, postmodernism developed as a reaction against modernist formalism, seen as elitist. “Far more encompassing and accepting than the more rigid boundaries of modernist practice, postmodernism has offered something for everyone by accommodating wide range of styles, subjects, and formats” (Kleiner 810).
The essence of modern architecture lays in a remarkable strives to reconcile the core principles of architectural design with rapid technological advancement and the modernization of society. However, it took “the form of numerous movements, schools of design, and architectural styles, some in tension with one another, and often equally defying such classification, to establish modernism as a distinctive architectural movement” (Robinson and Foell). Although, the narrower concept of modernism in architecture is broadly characterized by simplification of form and subtraction of ornament from the structure and theme of the building, meaning that the result of design should derive directly from its purpose; the visual expression of the structure, particularly the visual importance of the horizontal and vertical lines typical for the International Style modernism, the use of industrially-produced materials and adaptation of the machine aesthetic, as well as the truth to materials concept, meaning that the true nature or natural appearance of a material ought to be seen rather than concealed or altered to represent something else; should certainly be regarded as a fundamental substance of the movement.
“In parallel with the progressive movement toward formal abstraction in painting and sculpture in the decades following World War II, modernist architects became increasingly concerned with a formalism that stressed simplicity. They articulated this in buildings that retained intriguing organic sculptural qualities, as well as in buildings that adhered to a more rigid geometry” (Kleiner 778). There are numerous ingenious and revolutionary works that led the American Institute of Architects to distinguish Frank Lloyd Wright as the greatest American architect of all time, but among the 1141 works Wright designed during his 70 years long remarkable career, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York City perhaps stands apart by its grandiosity, eloquence, and elegance. Envisioned as an exhibition building and luxury apartment complex for the Guggenheim Foundation’s first museum - The Museum of Non-Objective Painting - in 1943, Wright’s remarkable artwork, located on the Upper East Side of Manhattan and overlooking Central Park,...

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