Professional / Architecture Essay

Evolution of Modern Architecture


Modern architecture’s movement that emerged at the start of the modern period, around the early 20th century when express societal advancement and urbanization began to materialize. However, some people believe it started sometime back, probably around the late 19th century when technological innovations began.

Although modernism didn't come into full force until after World War 2, it brought with it a lasting revolution in the way we erect structures, and this is still evident in the present-day architecture.

Before this period, structures were simple and particularly characterized by architecture for primary purposes. Structures were mainly built for shelter, as well as for defense in times of war. Ornaments and themes were removed from constructions, and form was more of a reduced art that it is in the present-day world.

Moreover, at that time, only royal structures and religious landmarks, which we today have as evidence of the antiquated architecture, were given scrupulously outstanding attention, then all over the world, especially in Asia and Europe.

In this article, we'll be examining the evolution of modern architecture from start until the present.

The evolution in structural design started around 1850, although the accuracy of this data is still being disputed, because the advancement in science and technology, which launched the beginning of modern architecture, started earlier than that.

It wasn’t after the Second World War that modernism started to gain more popularity than it had before the war. And, it started to take full force in every aspect of society.

This war lasted a while and caused a lot of destruction which left a lot of people lonely and displaced. And in a bid to solve this problem, there generated a need to fix and put things back into place for the survivors of the ravaging war.

The interest of modern architects was ignited, and they were pushed to introduce revolutionary plans and designs that were presented as one of the straightforward ways of solving the problems of society at that time, as caused by the war. These designs were not only viewed as a way of providing solutions alone, but they also served as media through which themes were expressed in combination with form.

The efforts were also made by architects and builders to merge the philosophy of the time that championed rapid advancement in technology and the restructuring and urbanization of society.

The truth is modern architecture, as believed by many, came to life due to the revolutions that occurred in the social and political estates of that time. It also came as a result of the continuous development in science and technology, such that as modern technologies continued to be introduced now and then into the society, so did the development that occurred in architecture continued to expand.

Modern architecture formed a precursor to other movements like the postmodern and neomodern architecture that aimed to reformulate the principles that were common during the pre-modern period.

As defined according to Alex Brown in The Evolution of Modern Architecture On the Origin of Styles, there are three (3) stages of this evolution; namely, emergence (early modern period), development (the post-war period when the movement became more popular than ever) and the Involution (when there's the reformation of classical designs and the preservation and improvement of modern ones). These stages are aimed at briefly explaining how architecture evolved and how it has stayed in the formations of modern-day constructions.

Emergence: The Early Modern Period

The avant-garde of building and construction started with the breakthrough in technology and engineering, as mentioned earlier in the article. Some designers began a revolution against the classical and neoclassical styles that were common in the architecture of Europe during the early 19th century. New ornamental styles were introduced based on different forms that were related to the Nouveau art styles that sprang up in the 1890s.

The use of colorful stone materials, like the marble, ceramics, in the new decoration styles also became prominent.

New materials, methods, and practices began to be adopted by architects in America and Europe. This allowed them to create novel forms that chronicled the modern period. The buildings of architects like Josef Hoffman, Adolf Loos and so on were used to reinforce the importance of function in form.

Development: The Post War Period

The second war world caused a lot of damage to society and it was this that drove the continuous innovation in technology and engineering, and in the long run, architecture. Because of the demands to sustain power and defeat during the war, such important building materials are scarce such as steel and wood. So architects had to find other means. They started using new materials, for example, in place of steel, aluminum was adopted.

The shortages of materials resulted in architectural conservation. It also led many architects to start exploring and experimenting with materials they had never used before. And this inadvertently brought new forms and construction techniques created to stand the new materials.

The need for quick reconstruction also brought about new building techniques in building and construction.

Involution: The Improvement of Modern Designs and Reformation of Classical Ones

After the reconstruction came a complex improvement in architectural designs. There was a conscious reintroduction of classical styles. Buildings with exceptional lengths and heights began to be built.

In cities across Asia, America, and Europe, there was also a blend of different construction styles. The advent of the computer also brought with it new features and art. Buildings began to be viewed as art. More complicated designs were incorporated and people began to delight in styles and designs. Structures started to be used by architects to make statements and form expressions of modern philosophy.

All these, development in building engineering, conservation, reconstruction, and reformation, formed the movement that we now all call, “modern”, in the world of architecture. We now understand, in a clearer pictureEvolution of Modern Architecture, through this article how and why architects began to combine aesthetics and structure in their design.

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