International Style Architecture derives from Europe’s architectural modern movement style that emerged as a response to World War I and the surrounding circumstances. Originating in the 20’s and 30’s in Holland, France, and Germany and then quickly spreading to different parts of the world. This style is merely categorized by its concrete forms with combinations of steel and glass which would then flourish in the United States and catalyze the construction of skyscrapers. Along with the thriving intercontinental methods of communication, this method was adopted as a symbol of minimalist modernism. It characterized a type of construction that was progressive and structurally rigid. With the building boom, it became an increasingly important style for major corporations and was seen in buildings such as the World Trade Center Towers and the Sears Towers in Chicago.
If we could draw the best characteristics of this popular style and take an eclectic approach to develop a new style, or an all-encompassing modern style of architecture that exemplifies the growing cross-cultural movement we see in cosmopolitan, and even more rural cities of today, we could potentially advance architecture and have it tailored for the cities of the future. Not referring to an eclectic approach that incorporates impractical aspects into the design of the cities or building itself, but rather an approach that uses different experiences and construction methods that target a wider range of current and future problems that cities and inhabitants face. Of course, while still appealing to the aesthetic tastes that people demand when large constructions are being made in their cities.
Together let us desire, conceive, and create the new structure of the future, which will embrace architecture and sculpture and painting in one unity and which will one day rise toward Heaven from the hands of a million workers like the crystal symbol of a new faith. – Walter Gropius
At the time, international architecture was seen as a perfect harmony between new technologies, and function of the building which was controlled, yet filled with artistic expression. Standing tall and making a stately presence of what the future of architecture and the industrial movement would be. Accordingly, some of the architect’s names prominent of the style which we must know when talking about this period are- Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, Otto Haesler, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, among others. We mustn’t forget however, that with the successes of the international style, there were also many disputed aspects that came along with the period and name itself. One of the great successes was the use of material, but many think that it wasn’t necessarily “international”, and the fact that the designs lost character as it was intended to be for mass production and construction.
The ‘International Style of Modernism’ came with the advent of building services. In the end, the architecture became like a container space, essentially like a boring box with a basement full of machinery to make it inhabitable. As a result, buildings literally started to look identical all over the planet. – Bjarke Ingels
With every solution there is always a new problem that arises, but finding new and innovative ways to draw from past experiences and adopting a new mindset that is open to a wider demographic and more room for interpretation, designers and engineers could discover and create newer and exciting solutions to complex problems. With the merits and failings of this “style” we can make conclusions and hopefully use all of the qualities that came from this period to avoid – or minimize- mistakes made in the past. We have to look beyond what lies right in front of us and adopt new methods and techniques, certainly, without the thought that failing is necessarily bad, as we always learn from our mistakes and experimentation.