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Architecture and Avant-Garde

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Revision on some Avant-Garde movements and their architecture

Revision on some Avant-Garde movements and their architecture


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  • 1. Architecture and Avant-Garde Revision
  • 2. Introduction
    • During the 20th century some avant-garde movements had their expression in architecture.
    • In general, these styles are influenced by the Bauhaus, and they are contemporary of it.
    • These avant-garde architectonical experienced are linked to
      • De Stijl or Neoplasticism (Netherlands)
      • Russian Constructivism.
  • 3. De Stijl
    • A ssociated with three important figures :
      • the painters Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg, and
      • the architect and furniture-maker Gerrit Rietveld
    • De Stijl (or “the style”) was perhaps first developed in Mondrian’s post-Cubist paintings, which consist largely of broken horizontal and vertical lines.
    • These works evolved into more spare geometric compositions of orthogonal elements, which are rendered in primary colors set against a white field.
  • 4. De Stijl
    • In 1917, Rietveld created the canonical “Red/Blue Chair” and projected the Neo-Plastic aesthetic into three dimensions.
    • Van Doesburg taught, for a time, at the Bauhaus, enabling him to widen the De Stijl circle to artists as the Russian El Lissitzky under whose influence, Van Doesberg began “to project, as axonometric drawings, a series of hypothetical architectural constructs
    • These buildings compris e an asymmetrical cluster of articulated planar elements suspended in space about a volumetric center.”
  • 5. De Stijl architecture: Characteristics
    • The characteristics of this architecture were established by van Doesburg:
      • the form does not imitate any other style;
      • especial attention is given to plastic elements, in addition to function, mass, surface, time, space, light, colour and material;
      • it is an economic and functional architecture;
      • it does not have any form following fixed styles and the building is not monumental, but a form open to the space through windows;
      • the ground-plan is essential but in this the walls are not closed even if they support punctually the building;
  • 6. De Stijl architecture: Characteristics
      • it is an open architecture in which space and time are considered;
      • it is anti-cubic and surfaces follow a centrifugal trend at the same time that symmetry and repetition are eliminated;
      • there is not a clear front in the building and colour is included as a plastic value but, in general, it is a non decorate architecture that aims to be a synthesis of the Neo-Plasticism
      • It uses the same primary colours that appear in Mondrian’s paintings
  • 7. De Stijl
    • The universalizing tendency of the De Stijl soon gave way to the broader, more objective concerns of the Modern movement.
    • The project of De Stijl became, through necessity and evolution, a broader trajectory dedicated to social concerns and conditions.
    • The desire to create architecture for the people through means of production, rather than an architecture simply guided by aesthetic concerns, became a rallying cry of a broader European Modernism.
  • 8. Russian Constructivism
    • Russian Constructivism was a movement that was active from 1913 to the 1940s.
    • It was created by the Russian avant-garde, but quickly spread to the rest of the continent.
    • Constructivist art is committed to complete abstraction with a devotion to modernity, where themes are often geometric, experimental and rarely emotional.
    • Objective forms carrying universal meaning were far more suitable to the movement than subjective or individualistic forms.
  • 9. Russian Constructivism
    • Constructivist themes are also quite minimal, where the artwork is broken down to its most basic elements.
    • New media was often used in the creation of works, which helped to create a style of art that was orderly.
    • An art of order was desirable at the time because it was just after WWI that the movement arose, which suggested a need for understanding, unity and peace.
  • 10. Russian Constructivism
    • Famous artists of the Constructivist movement include Vladimir Tatlin, Kasimir Malevich, Alexandra Exter, Robert Adams, and El Lissitzky.
    • Tatlin's most famous piece remains his "Monument to the Third International" (1919-20, Moscow), a 22-ft-high (6.7-m) iron frame on which rested a revolving cylinder, cube, and cone, all made of glass which was originally designed for massive scale.
  • 11. Russian Constructivism
    • After the 1917 Revolution, Tatlin (considered the father of Russian Constructivism) worked for the new Soviet Education Commissariate which used artists and art to educate the public.
    • During this period, he developed an officially authorized art form which utilized 'real materials in real space'.
    • His project for a Monument of the Third International marked his first foray into architecture and became a symbol for Russian avant-garde architecture and International Modernism.

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