The international style

The so-called “International style” was a leading trend in architecture in the period 1930-1960. The principles of the style require the abandonment of decorations and national features in favor of reinforced concrete, steel and glass. The spaces become wide and bright. Architecture is the apotheosis of industrial society, practicality, utilitarianism stand above all other requirements. The motto of this style was coined by one of its most important representatives, Mies van der Rohe: “Less is more”. Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier, Peter Behrens, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Philippe Johnson are the leading architects and initiators of this style. Subsequently, the style penetrated countries with conservative aesthetics such as Italy and Brazil, where architects such as Pierre Luigi Nervi and Oscar Niemeyer built their concrete poetry. It was not until the 1970s that postmodernism in the face of Robert Venturi confronted the boredom and monotony of this style. Mid-century glass skyscrapers in the United States are a product of this style. Mies Van der Rohe’s Siegram skyscraper in New York is a typical example of the style. The entrance was designed by kinetic sculptor Alexander Calder.

Villa Savoy on Corbusier
Corbusier Museum of Western Art in Tokyo, 1959. In this later period he renounced his original purism and under the influence of plastic arts creates more artistic works such as the Ronchamp Chapel (1955)
Corbusier, Ronchamp Chapel
Corbusier, Ronchamp Chapel

Corbusier invented an anthropomorphic scale called MODULOR as a transition between the imperial and metric rocks. At its base is the standard height of the American police officer (6 feet). This scale shows the continuity from Vitruvius through Leonardo da Vinci and Leon Battista Alberti to the fact that architecture is based on human proportions. At the base of Modulora is the golden ratio.

Corbusier, Ronchamp Chapel
Golden spiral in a golden rectangle

Golden rectangle (a-b / b = b / a) and division of a segment in the proportion “golden ratio” (BC = AB / 2, BC = DC, AS = AD and then BS / AS = AS / AB)

Interior sizing according to Corbusier’s Modular
Basic measures of Corbusier’s Modulora on the human figure

Villa Tugendhat, designed by Miss van der Rohe, is the most striking example of “international style” in the architecture of the modern movement in Europe in the 1920s. The villa is a product of innovative spatial and aesthetic concepts related to the new lifestyle and the use of the possibilities of modern industrial production.

Interior of Villa Tugendhat


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