ETYMOLOGY ANDORIGINOF AVANT-GARDE?
Avant-garde is originally a French term, meaning in English
vanguard or advance guard (the part of an army that goes forward
ahead of the rest).
Avant-garde art can be said to begin in the 1850s with the realism
of Gustave Courbet, who was strongly influenced by early socialist
ideas. This was followed by the successive movements of modern art,
and the term avant-garde is more or less synonymous with modern.
The notion of the avant-garde enshrines the idea that art should be
judged primarily on the quality and originality of the artist’s vision and
Because of its radical nature and the fact that it challenges existing
ideas, processes and forms; avant-garde artists and artworks often go
hand-in-hand with controversy. Read the captions of the artworks
below to find out about the shock-waves they caused.
INNOVATIONANDGEOGRAPHIES THE AVANT-GARDE
The avant-garde is by definition art that is ahead of its time
and is shocking, disturbing, and therefore viewed as socially
and aesthetically objectionable. The specific aim of the avant-
garde is to undermine the existing order and to replace it by
another. It attempts to do this by contradiction, challenge,
confrontation, and self-assertion.
The novelty and abrasiveness of the avant-garde could never
meet the standards of beauty that were the primary conditions
of traditional aesthetics, but its own novelty made it readily
recognizable as innovation.
The avant-garde is predominantly a modernist term for a
movement in art, culture, and politics that cuts at the vanguard
of ideas both in terms of their mode of expression and the
social impact that they have for everyday living.
Avant-Garde: Translating the Esthetic into Politics
Addressing the conceptual purchase of the avant-garde, one
can combine the relationship of the esthetic to the political by
unpacking the arts into three key categories :
AVANT-GARDE ART ANDARTISTS
The concept of the avant-garde has been applied to three types of changes in the arts: in the norms surrounding
the production and distribution of artworks, in the aesthetic content of art, in the social content of art.
Avant-garde art has, traditionally, never just been described as avant-garde, but has also been associated a
particular movement: from Realism to Impressionism to Expressionism to Cubism and so on. Part of the avant-
garde artist's identity and purpose has traditionally involved defining a clear and programmatic set of aims for
their work, generally also associated with a tight-knit group of associates or comrades, which would form the
basis for their creativity.
Some examples of art works and artists
The Painter's Studio/Artist: Gustave Courbet
Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe/Artist: Édouard Manet
Impression, Sunrise/Artist: Claude Monet
The Three Musicians/Artist: Pablo Picasso
AVANT – GARDES ARCHITECTURE
Avant-garde architecture is architecture which is innovative and radical. There have
been a variety of architects and movements whose work has been characterised in this
way, especially Modernism. Other examples include Constructivism, Neoplasticism (De
Stijl), Neo-futurism, Deconstructivism, Parametricism and Expressionism.
1. Modern architecture, or modernist architecture, was an architectural movement
or architectural style based upon new and innovative technologies of construction,
particularly the use of glass, steel, and reinforced concrete; the idea that form should
follow function (functionalism); an embrace of minimalism; and a rejection of ornament.
2. Constructivist architecture was a constructivist style of modern architecture that
flourished in the Soviet Union in the 1920s and early 1930s. Abstract and austere, the
movement aimed to reflect modern industrial society and urban space, while rejecting
decorative stylization in favor of the industrial assemblage of materials.
3. Neoplasticism (in Dutch Nieuwe Beelding - the new plastic art) is an art theory that
arose in 1917 around the De Stijl journal. The main representatives of the new image are
the artists Theo van Doesburg and Piet Mondriaan.They set themselves the goal of
purifying the art from elements that they thought did not belong there and tried to
determine and apply the elementary (and in their eyes universal) principles of each art
form through rational means.
4. Deconstructivism is a movement of postmodern architecture which appeared in the
1980s. It gives the impression of the fragmentation of the constructed building,
commonly characterised by an absence of obvious harmony, continuity, or symmetry.
Besides Fragmentation, Deconstructivism Often Manipulates The Structure's Surface
Skin And Deploys Non-rectilinear Shapes Which Appear To Distort And
Dislocate Established Elements Of Architecture.
5. Parametricism is a style within contemporary avant-garde architecture, promoted as
a successor to Modern and Postmodern architecture. The term was coined in 2008
by Patrik Schumacher, an architectural partner of Zaha Hadid (1950–2016).
Parametricism has its origin in parametric design, which is based on the constraints in
a parametric equation. Parametricism relies on programs, algorithms, and computers
to manipulate equations for design purposes. Aspects of parametricism have been
used in urban design, architectural design, interior design and furniture design.
6. Expressionist architecture was an architectural movement in Europe during the first
decades of the 20th century in parallel with the expressionist visual and performing
arts that especially developed and dominated in Germany. Brick Expressionism is a
special variant of this movement in western and northern Germany, as well as in the
Netherlands (where it is known as the Amsterdam School).
7. Neo-futurism is a late-20th to early-21st-century movement in the arts, design, and
architecture. Described as an avant-garde movement, as well as a futuristic rethinking of the
thought behind aesthetics and functionality of design in growing cities, the movement has
its origins in the mid-20th-century structural expressionist work of architects such as Alvar
Aalto and Buckminster Fuller.
8. Brutalist architecture is an architectural style which emerged during the 1950s in the
United Kingdom, among the reconstruction projects of the post-war era. Brutalist buildings
are characterised by minimalist constructions that showcase the bare building
materials and structural elements over decorative design.
2. 4. 6. 8.
Concept of Avant-garde architecture
Avant-garde architecture has been described as progressive in terms
of aesthetics. However, it is noted for covering a broad range of aesthetic and
political spectrum. It is associated with the liberal left but also cited as
apolitical, right-wing, and conservative in its politics and aesthetics. It is also
considered a stream within modernism that is anti-elitist and open to the
contamination of mass culture.
The concept draws from the idea of integration of life and art. In the De Stijl
Manifesto V, it was stated that art and life are not separate domains, hence,
the argument that art is not an illusion or disconnected from reality. This view
pushed for the construction of an environment that is according to the creative
laws derived from a fixed principle. A conceptualization by Le
Corbusier described avant-garde architecture as constructed for the pleasure
of the eye and comes with "inner cleanness, for the course adopted leads to a
refusal to allow anything at all which is not correct, authorised, intended,
CRITICISMABOUT AVANT-GARDE ARCHITECTURE
Critics note that avant-garde architecture contradicts the very definition of
architecture because its position is contrary to its most specific
characteristics.There are critics who state that it stands in opposition to the
architecture of the classical antiquity. Its importance is said to be exaggerated
since it is always marginal to any decisive change.It has been described as part of
modern architecture that is the most rarefied and the least social in terms of
orientation. It is also noted that many avant-garde architectural projects do not
fare well once evaluated according to suitability principles. According to Eileen
Gray, it is obsessed with the external at the expense of the interior.
Another argument states that avant-garde architecture is an experiment or that
a project is a vehicle for research so that it leads to a built manifesto. For this
reason, the avant-garde architect exploits the resources of his clients to achieve
his purposes, which go beyond his client's narrow and private interests.
Archigram was an avant-garde architectural group formed in the
1960s that was neofuturistic, anti-heroic and pro-consumerist, drawing
inspiration from technology in order to create a new reality that was solely
expressed through hypothetical projects.
Archigram agitated to prevent modernism from becoming a sterile and
safe orthodoxy by its adherents. Unlike ephemeralisation from Buckminster
Fuller which assumes more must be done with less material (because
material is finite), Archigram relies on a future of interminable resources.
The works of Archigram had a neofuturistic slant being
influencedby Antonio Sant'Elia's works. Buckminster Fuller and Yona
Friedman were also important sources of inspiration. The works of
Archigram served as a source of inspiration for later works such as
the High tech 'Pompidou centre' 1971 by Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano,
early Norman Foster works, Gianfranco Franchini and Future Systems. By
the early 1970s the strategy of the group had changed.
AD Classics: The Plug-In City / Peter Cook, Archigram
The Russian avant-garde reached its creative and popular height in the period between
the Russian Revolution of 1917 and 1932, at which point the ideas of the avant-garde
clashed with the newly emerged state-sponsored direction of Socialist Realism.
The Russian avant-garde was a large, influential wave of avant-garde modern art that
flourished in the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union, approximately from 1890 to
1930—although some have placed its beginning as early as 1850 and its end as late as
1960. The term covers many separate, but inextricably related, art movements that
flourished at the time; including Suprematism, Constructivism, Russian Futurism, Cubo-
Futurism, Zaum and Neo-primitivism.
The housing complex “Russian Avant-garde”, a large-scale building with an S-shaped
plan, from 17 to 23 stories high, is located on the territory of the new residential area
“Troitsky” located in the north part of Voronezh next to the Botanical Garden. The
project got into the hands of A.Len when the construction was already underway. At
first, the client offered Sergey Oreshkin to change the façades in another company’s
project but ultimately the architects of A.Len ended up changing everything that was
possible to change at that stage of construction.
The apartments in “Russian Avant-garde” are variously sized: from small
studios to spacious four-room apartments with own terraces on the roof. The
terraces command views of the Botanical Garden and the distant Voronezh
Housing complex "Russian Avant-garde", Project, 2016 A.Len
As for the organization of the adjacent territory, this is where the theme of avant-
garde was explored to the fullest. The master plan of the yards is based on nothing
less than the picture of Mikhail Larionov; all the landscape elements are also based
on the avant-garde paintings. The architects even planned to place into the yard a
model of the Tatlin Tower, painted red.
AVANT-GRADES HIGH-RISE HOUSING DESIGN
It shows how high-rise design was incorporated into both state-sponsored housing
modernization programs as well as the luxury private This article charts the emergence
of high-rise housing design within the European architectural avant-garde housing
market. It details how high-rise housing has failed in many European and North American
contexts but sustained itself as a successful housing solution elsewhere. The article
finally turns to how environmental debates have breathed new life into high-rise design.
Specific high-rise housing developments are mentioned by way of example.
Image courtesy of SOM by James Ewing
Etymology of Machine-Aesthetic
The term Machine Aesthetic refers to a view of the formal aspects of machines--
especially their simple and regular shapes, smooth contours, and reflective surfaces--
as beautiful. This aesthetic was a prominent element of Modernist art in the 1920s and
‘30s and influenced the streamlining of automobiles and other everyday objects.
Machine Aesthetic. The term Machine Aesthetic refers to a view of the formal
aspects of machines--especially their simple and regular shapes, smooth contours, and
reflective surfaces--as beautiful.
Aesthetic or otherwise called cosmetic treatments are non-surgical procedures
designed to combat signs of ageing, rejuvenate and refresh skin. They can be used on
almost any part of the body but the most common areas the face, neck and
Aesthetics, also spelled esthetics, the philosophical study of beauty and taste. It is
closely related to the philosophy of art, which is concerned with the nature of art and
the concepts in terms of which individual works of art are interpreted and evaluated.
The machine was valued for its service. Its aesthetic was promoted by those who
saw a beauty in the machine -- a beauty in appearance and function. The machine
aesthetic was assumed by all sorts of objects. Shiny metals, molded plastics, and
mirrored glass became important decorative devices.
MODERN DESIGN AND MACHINE AESTHETICS
machine was valued for its service. Its aesthetic was promoted by those who saw a
beauty in the machine -- a beauty in appearance and function. The machine aesthetic was
assumed by all sorts of objects. Shiny metals, molded plastics, and mirrored glass became
important decorative devices.
A study of the machine aesthetic may be best served by dividing its development into
four stylistic interpretations, as given by architectural historian Richard Guy
Wilson:2 Moderne, machine purity, streamline, and biomorphic.
The Moderne Style used the look of the machine ornamentally. It was decorative design,
and its machine aesthetic served to conceal the inner workings of the object while calling
attention to itself as machine.
Machine purity, as a stylistic interpretation of machine aesthetics, emerged in the United
States in the early thirties. Indicative of this style was simplified geometric form. This, in
itself, would not particularly separate it from the Moderne.
Another interpretation of the machine aesthetic -- one that often clashed with the
functional ideals of the International style -- was streamlined design. For its leading
practitioners, "speed was the essence of the modern age and the shape which was most
conducive to speed was the ovoid, or tear-drop." It captured the public mind as the symbol
The biomorphic aesthetic dislocated the machine from primary image to enabler. Designs
became sympathetic to the forms of nature and the human body. If the ovoid was the
symbol of streamlining, the ameoba was that of biomorphic design.
FUNCTIONALISMANDMACHINE AESTHETIC OF MODERNARCHITECTURE
Functionalism in Architecture was a movement during the late 19th century and early
20th century was a product of one American architect Louis Henri Sullivan who coined
the term ‘form follows function’. It was Distinct to have exposed architecture of the
existence of ornamentation and therefore aesthetics so that a structure simply
expressed its purpose or function
The arrival of the machine was to have such revolutionary significance that the
following years can legitimately be termed the Machine Age. Among the great number
of cultural changes engendered by this new era was the installation of a machine
aesthetic in the fields of architecture and design. This was of central importance to the
Modern Movement as it provided a means by which its practitioners could engage with
what they regarded as the spirit of the age. The machine aesthetic can be distinguished
in the work of each major figure of the Modernist pantheon; it therefore conditioned the
entire range of Modernist activity.
The aim of Modernism was to achieve the ideal solutions to each design problem in
works that would be style less, timeless and possess the same purity and clarity as
AN ARCHITECT FOR THE MACHINE AGE
1887: Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known to the world as Le Corbusier, is
born in the Swiss city of La Chaux-de-Fonds. He will change his name and take French
citizenship in his 30s. More importantly, he will help pioneer the International Style of
architecture and is one of the most influential proponents of the machine aesthetic.
Jeanneret-Gris' interest in design and
architecture came early in life. He attended
the local art school, where he studied under
architect Rene Chapallaz, who became a
major influence. After moving to Paris in 1907,
he toiled for Auguste Perret, an architect
renowned for his work in reinforced
concrete construction. A few years later he
continued on to Berlin, where he became
fluent in German and schooled under Peter
Behrens, another architect with bohemian
predilections esteemed for his industrial
Le Corbusier was one of the greatest architects of the Twentieth Century. He believed
houses were machines and his early industrialization of building homes as metrics of
functionality — instead of as just basic shelter — forever changed the way we consider
both Art and science today.
COLLINE NOTRE DAME DU HAUT
By 1918, Corbusier’s ideas on how architecture should meet the demands of the
machine age led him to develop, in collaboration with the artist Amédée Ozenfant, a
new theory: Purism. Purist rules would lead the architect always to refine and
simplify design, dispensing with ornamentation. Architecture would be as efficient
as a factory assembly line. Soon, Le Corbusier was developing standardised housing
‘types’ like the ‘Immeuble-villa’ (made real with the Pavilion de l’Esprit Nouveau of
1925), and the Maison Citrohan (a play on words suggesting the building industry
should adopt the methods of the mass production automobile industry), which he
hoped would solve the chronic housing problems of industrialised countries.
But despite his love of the machine aesthetic, Le Corbusier was determined that
his architecture would reintroduce nature into people’s lives. Victorian cities were
chaotic and dark prisons for many of their inhabitants. Le Corbusier was convinced
that a rationally planned city, using the standardised housing types he had
developed, could offer a healthy, humane alternative.
The lesson of Le Corbusier is one of conflict and outrage: We must never accept
the ordinary, the middling or the status quo. It is our job — as purveyors of Artists
and as patrons of Scientists — to always demand the surprise of new thinking.
ETYMOLOGY OF INTERNATIONAL STYLE
In architecture, the term "International Style" describes a type of design that
developed mainly in Germany, Holland and France, during the 1920s, before
spreading to America in the 1930s, where it became the dominant tendency in
American architecture during the middle decades of the 20th century. Although it
never became fashionable for single-family residential buildings in the United
States - despite the efforts of William Lescaze (1896-1969), Edward Durrell Stone
(1902-78), Richard Neutra (1892-1970) - the International Style was especially
suited to skyscraper architecture, where its sleek "modern" look, absence of
decoration and use of steel and glass, became synonymous with corporate
modernism during the period 1955-70. It also became the dominant style of 20th
century architecture for institutional and commercial buildings, and even
superceded the traditional historical styles for schools and churches.
ORIGINS AND DEVELOPMENT
The International Style emerged largely as a result of four factors that
confronted architects at the beginning of the 20th century:
(1) Increasing dissatisfaction with building designs that incorporated a mixture of
decorative features from different architectural periods, especially where the
resulting design bore little or no relation to the function of the building;
(2) The need to build large numbers of commercial and civic buildings that served
a rapidly industrializing society;
(3) The successful development of new construction techniques involving the use
of steel, reinforced concrete, and glass; and
(4) A strong desire to create a "modern" style of architecture for "modern man".
This underlined the need for a neutral, functional style, without any of the
decorative features of (say) Romanesque, Gothic, or Renaissance architecture, all of
which were old-fashioned, if not obsolete.
CHARACTERISTICS OF INTERNATIONAL STYLE
The typical characteristics of International Style buildings include rectilinear
forms; plane surfaces that are completely devoid of applied ornamentation; and
open, even fluid, interior spaces. This early form of minimalism had a
distinctively "modern look", reinforced by its use of modern materials, including
glass for the facade, steel for exterior support, and concrete for interior
supports and floors.
The phrase "International Style" was first coined in 1932 by curators Henry-
Russell Hitchcock (1903-1987) and Philip Johnson (1906-2005), in literature for
their show "International Exhibition of Modern Architecture" (1932), held at the
Museum of Modern Art, New York. The aim of the show was to explain and
promote what they considered to be an exemplary "modern" style of
architecture. As it was, all but two of the buildings showcased were European.
The only American structures on display were Lovell House, LA (1929), by
Richard Neutra; and the Film Guild Cinema, NYC (1929), designed by Frederick
John Kiesler (1890-1965).
FAMOUS INTERNATIONAL STYLE ARCHITECTS
Pioneer practitioners of the International Style included a group of brilliant and original architects in the
1920s who went on to achieve enormous influence in their field. These figures included Walter Gropius
(1883-1969) in Germany, J.J.P. Oud (1890-1963) in Holland, Le Corbusier (1887-1965) in France, and Richard
Neutra (1892-1970), Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969), and Philip Johnson (1906-2005) in the United
1. Walter Gropius
Walter Gropius was the founder of the renowned Bauhaus design school in Weimar, Dessau and Berlin.
He emigrated to America in 1937, where he became Head of the Graduate School of Design at Harvard
University, and set up a partnership known as The Architects' Collaborative (TAC).
2. J.J.P Oud
Jacobus Johannes Pieter Oud, co-founder of the De Stijl movement with Theo van Doesburg (1883-1931),
helped to bring more rounded and flowing geometric shapes to the movement. As the housing architect in
Rotterdam, he designed numerous apartment blocks with a sober but functional austerity.
3. Le Corbusier
Le Corbusier (Charles Edouard Jeanneret), one of the greatest architects of the 20th century, simplified
architecture down to its main functional features: window, ramp, stair and column. He was also especially
concerned to maximize the entry of light into a building by replacing load-bearing walls in its facade.
4. Richard Neutra
The life of no other 20th-century architect so epitomized the term International Style as that of Richard Neutra
(1892-1970), who gained worldwide recognition as an advocate of modern design. In the United States, he had a
strong influence on architecture, particularly in California.
5. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe
He started his own thriving practice as an architect. Such was his energy and innovation, that by the late 1940s
he had become a highly influential mentor to a generation of students as well as professional designers within
large firms such as Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, C.F.Murphy & Associates, and others.
6. Philip Johnson
Johnson has had a profound impact on American architects for more than six decades. In the 1930s as an
architectural historian, he helped introduce modern architecture - the glass box - to America with a book and
exhibit on the International Style at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, where he was director of the
Famous International Style Buildings
1. The Fagus Factory (1911-25) Alfeld on the Leine (Gropius)
2. The Bauhaus School Building (1925) at Dessau (Gropius)
3. Lovell House (1929) Los Angeles (Neutra)
4. Villa Savoye (1929-30) Poissy-sur-Seine (Le Corbusier)
5. Lake Shore Drive Apartments (1948-51) Chicago (Mies van der Rohe)
CRITICISM ON INTERNATIONAL STYLE
In 1930, Frank Lloyd Wright wrote: "Human houses should not be like boxes, blazing in the
sun, nor should we outrage the Machine by trying to make dwelling-places too complementary
In Elizabeth Gordon's well-known 1953 essay, "The Threat to the Next America," she
criticized the style as non-practical, citing many instances where "glass houses" are too hot in
summer and too cold in winter, empty, take away private space, lack beauty and generally are
not livable. Moreover, she accused this style's proponents of taking away a sense of beauty
from people and thus covertly pushing for a totalitarian society.
In 1966, architect Robert Venturi published Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture,
essentially a book-length critique of the International Style. Architectural historian Vincent
Scully regarded Venturi's book as 'probably the most important writing on the making of
architecture since Le Corbusier's Vers une Architecture. It helped to define postmodernism.
One of the supposed strengths of the International Style has been said to be that the design
solutions were indifferent to location, site, and climate; the solutions were supposed to be
universally applicable; the style made no reference to local history or national vernacular. This
was soon identified as one of the style's primary weakness.
OVERVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL STYLE
The International Style grew out of three phenomena that confronted architects in
the late 19th century:
(1) architects’ increasing dissatisfaction with the continued use in stylistically
eclectic buildings of a mix of decorative elements from different architectural
periods and styles that bore little or no relation to the building’s functions,
(2) the economical creation of large numbers of office buildings and other
commercial, residential, and civic structures that served a rapidly industrializing
(3) the development of new building technologies centring on the use of iron and
steel, reinforced concrete, and glass.
These three phenomena dictated the search for an honest, economical, and
utilitarian architecture that would both use the new materials and satisfy society’s
new building needs while still appealing to aesthetic taste. Technology was a
crucial factor; the new availability of cheap, mass-produced iron and steel and the
discovery in the 1890s of those materials’ effectiveness as primary structural
members effectively rendered the old traditions of masonry (brick and stone)
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