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Characteristics of smart materials and systems

We have been liberally using the term ‘smart materials’
without precisely defining what we mean. Creating a precise
definition, however, is surprisingly difficult. The term is
already in wide use, but there is no general agreement
about what it actually means. A quick review of the literature
indicates that terms like ‘smart’ and ‘intelligent’ are used
almost interchangeably by many in relation to materials and
systems, while others draw sharp distinctions about which
qualities or capabilities are implied. NASA defines smart
materials as ‘materials that ‘‘remember’’ configurations and
can conform to them when given a specific stimulus’,3 a
definition that clearly gives an indication as to how NASA
intends to investigate and apply them. A more sweeping
definition comes from the Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology: ‘smart materials and structures are those objects that sense environmental events, process that sensory information,
and then act on the environment’.4 Even though
these two definitions seem to be referring to the same type of
behavior, they are poles apart. The first definition refers to
materials as substances, and as such, we would think of
elements, alloys or even compounds, but all would be
identifiable and quantifiable by their molecular structure.
The second definition refers to materials as a series of actions.
Are they then composite as well as singular, or assemblies of
many materials, or, even further removed from an identifiable
molecular structure, an assembly of many systems?
If we step back and look at the words ‘smart’ and
‘intelligent’ by themselves we may find some cues to help
us begin to conceptualize a working definition of ‘smart
materials’ that would be relevant for designers. ‘Smart’
implies notions of an informed or knowledgeable response,
with associated qualities of alertness and quickness. In
common usage, there is also frequently an association with
shrewdness, connoting an intuitive or intrinsic response.
Intelligent is the ability to acquire knowledge, demonstrate
good judgment and possess quickness in understanding.
Interestingly, these descriptions are fairly suggestive of the
qualities of many of the smart materials that are of interest to
us. Common uses of the term ‘smart materials’ do indeed
suggest materials that have intrinsic or embedded quick
response capabilities, and, while one would not commonly
think about a material as shrewd, the implied notions of
cleverness and discernment in response are not without
interest. The idea of discernment, for example, leads one to
thinking about the inherent power of using smart materials
selectively and strategically. Indeed, this idea of a strategic use
is quite new to architecture, as materials in our field are rarely
thought of as performing in a direct or local role.
Furthermore, selective use hints at a discrete response – a
singular action but not necessarily a singular material.
Underlying, then, the concept of the intelligent and designed
response is a seamless quickness – immediate action for a
specific and transient stimulus.
Does ‘smartness’, then, require special materials and
advanced technologies? Most probably no, as there is nothing
a smart material can do that a conventional system can’t. A
photochromic window that changes its transparency in
relation to the amount of incident solar radiation could be
replaced by a globe thermometer in a feedback control loop
sending signals to a motor that through mechanical linkages
repositions louvers on the surface of the glazing, thus changing the net transparency. Unwieldy, yes, but nevertheless feasible and possible to achieve with commonly used
technology and materials. (Indeed, many buildings currently
use such a system.) So perhaps the most unique aspects of
these materials and technologies are the underlying concepts
that can be gleaned from their behavior.

Whether a molecule, a material, a composite, an assembly, or a system, ‘smart materials and technologies’ will exhibit the following characteristics:

* Immediacy – they respond in real-time.
* Transiency – they respond to more than one environmental state.
* Self-actuation – intelligence is internal to rather than external to the ‘material’.
* Selectivity – their response is discrete and predictable.
* Directness – the response is local to the ‘activating’ event.

It may be this last characteristic, directness, that poses the
greatest challenge to architects. Our building systems are
neither discrete nor direct. Something as apparently simple as
changing the temperature in a room by a few degrees will set
off a Rube Goldberg cascade of processes in the HVAC system,
affecting the operation of equipment throughout the building.
The concept of directness, however, goes beyond making
the HVAC equipment more streamlined and local; we must
also ask fundamental questions about the intended behavior
of the system. The current focus on high-performance
buildings is directed toward improving the operation and
control of these systems. But why do we need these particular
systems to begin with?
The majority of our building systems, whether HVAC,
lighting, or structural, are designed to service the building
and hence are often referred to as ‘building services’.
Excepting laboratories and industrial uses, though, buildings
exist to serve their occupants. Only the human body requires
management of its thermal environment, the building does
not, yet we heat and cool the entire volume. The human eye
perceives a tiny fraction of the light provided in a building,
but lighting standards require constant light levels throughout
the building. If we could begin to think of these
environments at the small scale – what the body needs –
and not at the large scale – the building space – we could
dramatically reduce the energy and material investment of
the large systems while providing better conditions for the
human occupants. When these systems were conceived over
a century ago, there was neither the technology nor the knowledge to address human needs in any manner other than through large indirect systems that provided homogeneous
building conditions. The advent of smart materials now enables the design of direct and discrete environments
for the body, but we have no road map for their application in this important arena.

The phenomenological boundary

Missing from many of these efforts is the understanding of how boundaries physically behave. The definition of boundary that people typically accept is one similar to that offered by the Oxford English Dictionary: a real or notional line marking the limits of an area. As such, the boundary is static and defined, and its requirement for legibility (marking) prescribes that it is a tangible barrier – thus a visual artifact.

For physicists, however, the boundary is not a thing, but an action. Environments are understood as energy fields, and the boundary operates as the transitional zone between different states of an energy field. As such, it is a place of change as an environment’s energy field transitions from a high-energy to
low-energy state or from one form of energy to another.

Boundaries are therefore, by definition, active zones of mediation rather than of delineation. We can’t see them, nor can we draw them as known objects fixed to a location. Breaking the paradigm of the hegemonic ‘material as visual artifact’ requires that we invert our thinking; rather than simply visualizing the end result, we need to imagine the transformative actions and interactions.

What was once a blue wall could be simulated by a web of tiny color-changing points that respond to the position of the viewer as well as to the location of the sun. Large HVAC (heating, ventilating and air conditioning) systems could be replaced with discretely located micro-machines that respond directly to the heat exchange of a human body. In addition, by investigating the transient behavior of the material, we challenge the privileging of the static planar surface.
The ‘boundary’ is no longer delimited by the material surface, instead it may be reconfigured as the zone in which change occurs. The image of the building boundary as the demarcation between two different environments defined as single states – a homogeneous
interior and an ambient exterior – could possibly be replaced by the idea of multiple energy environments fluidly interacting with the moving body. Smart materials, with their transient behavior and ability to respond to energy stimuli, may eventually enable the selective creation and design of an individual’s sensory  experiences.Are architects in a position or state of development to implement and exploit this alternative paradigm, or, at the very least, to rigorously explore it? At this point, the answer is most probably no, but there are seeds of opportunity from on-going physical research and glimpses of the future use of
the technology from other design fields. Advances in physics have led to a new understanding of physical phenomena, advances in biology and neurology have led to new discoveries regarding the human sensory system. Furthermore, smart materials have been comprehensively experimented with and rapidly adopted in many other fields – finding their way into products and uses as diverse as toys and automotive components.

Our charge is to examine the knowledge gained in other disciplines, but develop a framework for its application that is suited to the unique needs and possibilities of architecture.

The contemporary design context

Orthographic projection in architectural representation inherently privileges the surface. When the three-dimensional world is sliced to fit into a two-dimensional representation, the physical objects of a building appear as flatplanes. Regardless of the third dimension of these planes, we recognize that the eventual occupant will rarely see anything other than the surface planes behind which the structure and systems are hidden.
While the common mantra is that architects design space the reality is that architects make (draw) surfaces. This privileging of the surface drives the use of materials in two profound ways. First is that the material is
identified as the surface: the visual understanding of architecture is determined by the visual qualities of the
Second is that because architecture is synonymous with surface – and materials are that surface – we essentially think of materials as planar. The result is that we tend to consider materials in large two-dimensional swaths: exterior cladding, interior sheathing. Many of the materials that we do not see, such as insulation or vapor barriers, are still imagined and configured as sheet products. Even materials
that form the three-dimensional infrastructure of the building, such as structural steel or concrete, can easily be
represented through a two-dimensional picture plane as we tend to imagine them as continuous or monolithic
Most current attempts to implement smart materials in architectural design maintain the vocabulary of the twodimensional surface or continuous entity and simply propose smart materials as replacements or substitutes for more conventional materials. For example, there have been many proposals to replace standard curtain wall glazing with an electrochromic glass that would completely wrap the building facade. The reconsideration of smart material implementation through another paradigm of material deployment has yet to fall under scrutiny. One major constraint that limits our current thinking about materials is the accepted belief that the spatial envelope behaves like a boundary.

We conceive of a room as a container of ambient air and light that is bounded or differentiated by its surfaces; we consider the building envelope to demarcate and separate the exterior environment from the interior environment. The presumption that the physical boundaries are one and the same as the spatial boundaries has led to a focus on highly integrated, multifunctional systems for fac¸ades as well as for many interior partitions such as ceilings and floors.

In 1981, Mike Davies popularized the term ‘polyvalent wall’, which described a fac¸ade that could protect from the sun, wind and rain, as well as provide insulation, ventilation and daylight.2 His image of a wall section sandwiching photovoltaic grids, sensor layers, radiating sheets, micropore membranes and weather skins has influenced many architects and engineers into pursuing the ‘super fac¸ade’ as evidenced by the burgeoning use of double skin systems. This pursuit has also led to a quest for a ‘supermaterial’ that can integrate together the many diverse functions required by the newly complex fac¸ade. Aerogel has emerged as one of these new dream materials for architects: it insulates well yet still transmits light, it is extremely lightweight yet can maintain its shape.

Many national energy agencies are counting on aerogel to be a linchpin for their future building energy conservation strategies, notwithstanding its prohibitive cost, micro-structural brittleness and the problematic of its high insulating value, which is only advantageous for part of the year and can be quite detrimental at other times.

Materials and architecture

The relationship between architecture and materials had been fairly straightforward until the Industrial Revolution. Materials were chosen either pragmatically – for their utility and availability – or they were chosen formally – for their appearance and ornamental qualities.
Locally available stone formed foundations and walls, and high-quality marbles often appeared as thin veneers covering the rough construction. Decisions about building and architecture determined the material choice, and as such, we can consider the pre-19th century use of materials in design to have been subordinate to issues in function and form. Furthermore, materials were not standardized, so builders and architects were forced to rely on an extrinsic understanding of their properties and performance.

In essence, knowledge of materials was gained through experience and observation. Master builders were those who had acquired that knowledge and the skills necessary for working with available materials, often through disastrous trial and error.
The role of materials changed dramatically with the advent of the Industrial Revolution. Rather than depending on an intuitive and empirical understanding of material properties and performance, architects began to be confronted with engineered materials. Indeed, the history of modern architecture can almost be viewed through the lens of the history of architectural materials.

Beginning in the 19th century with the widespread introduction of steel, leading to the emergence
of long-span and high-rise building forms, materials transitioned from their pre-modern role of being subordinate to architectural needs into a means to expand functional performance and open up new formal responses. The industrialization of glass-making coupled with developments in environmental systems enabled the ‘international style’ in which a transparent architecture could be sited in any climate and in any context. The broad proliferation of curtain wall systems allowed the disconnection of the fac¸ade material from
the building’s structure and infrastructure, freeing the material choice from utilitarian functions so that the  facade could become a purely formal element. Through advancements in CAD/CAM (Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacturing) technologies, engineering materials such as aluminum and titanium can now be efficiently and easily employed as building skins, allowing an unprecedented range of building fac¸ades and forms. Materials have progressively emerged as providing the most immediately visible and thus
most appropriable manifestation of a building’s representation, both interior and exterior. As a result, today’s architects often think of materials as part of a design palette from which materials can be chosen and applied as compositional and visual surfaces.

It is in this spirit that many have approached the use of smart materials. Smart materials are often considered to be a logical extension of the trajectory in materials development toward more selective and specialized performance. For many centuries one had to accept and work with the properties of a standard material such as wood or stone, designing to accommodate the material’s limitations, whereas during the 20th century one could begin to select or engineer the properties of a high performance material to meet a specifically defined need. Smart materials allow even a further specificity – their properties are changeable and thus responsive
to transient needs. For example, photochromic materials change their color (the property of spectral  transmissivity) when exposed to light: the more intense the incident light, the darker the surface. This ability to respond to multiple states rather than being optimized for a single state has rendered smart materials a seductive addition to the design palette since buildings are always confronted with changing conditions. As a result, we are beginning to see many proposals speculating on how smart materials could begin
to replace more conventional building materials.

Cost and availability have, on the whole, restricted widespread replacement of conventional building materials with smart materials, but the stages of implementation are tending to follow the model by which ‘new’ materials have traditionally been introduced into architecture: initially through highly visible showpieces (such as thermochromic chair backs and electrochromic toilet stall doors) and later through high profile ‘demonstration’ projects such as Diller and Scofidio’s Brasserie Restaurant on the ground floor of Mies van der Rohe’s seminal Seagram’s Building. Many architects further imagine building surfaces, walls and fac¸ades composed entirely of smart materials, perhaps automatically enhancing their design from a pedestrian box to an interactive arcade.
Indeed, terms like interactivity and transform ability have already become standard parts of the architect’s vocabulary even insofar as the necessary materials and technologies are far beyond the economic and practical reality of most building projects.

Rather than waiting for the cost to come down and for the material production to shift from lots weighing pounds to those weighing tons, we should step back and ask if we are ignoring some of the most important characteristics of these materials. Architects have conceptually been trying to fit smart materials into their normative practice alongside conventional building materials. Smart materials, however, represent a radical departure from the more normative building materials. Whereas standard building materials are
static in that they are intended to withstand building forces,smart materials are dynamic in that they behave in response to energy fields. This is an important distinction as our normal means of representation in architectural design privileges the static material: the plan, section and elevation drawings of orthographic projection fix in location and in view the physical components of a building. One often designs with
the intention of establishing an image or multiple sequential images. With a smart material, however, we should be focusing on what we want it do, not on how we want it to look.

The understanding of smart materials must then reach back further than simply the understanding of material properties; one must also be cognizant of the fundamental physics and chemistry of the material’s interactions with its surrounding environment. The purpose of this book is thus two-fold: the development of a basic familiarity with the characteristics that distinguish smart materials from the more commonly used architectural materials, and speculation into
the potential of these characteristics when deployed in architectural design.

Materials in architecture and design

Smart planes –  Intelligent houses – Shape memory textiles – Micro machines – self-assembling structures – Color-changing paint – Nano systems. 

The vocabulary of the material world has changed dramatically since 1992, when the first ‘smart material’ emerged commercially in, of all things, snow skis.
Defined as ‘highly engineered materials that respond intelligently to their environment’, smart materials have become the ‘go-to’ answer for the 21st century’s technological needs.

Use of Nano materials in Architecture

NASA is counting on smart materials to spearhead the first major change in aeronautic technology since the  development of hypersonic flight, and the US Defense Department envisions smart materials as the linchpin technology behind the ‘soldier of the future’, who will be equipped with everything from smart tourniquets to chameleon-like clothing. At the other end of the application spectrum, toys as basic as ‘Play-Doh’ and equipment as ubiquitous as laser printers and automobile airbag controls have already incorporated numerous examples of this technology during the past decade. It is the stuff of our future even as it has already percolated into many aspects of our daily lives. In the sweeping ‘glamorization’ of smart materials, we
often forget the legacy from which these materials sprouted seemingly so recently and suddenly. Texts from as early as 300 BC were the first to document the ‘science’ of alchemy.1 Metallurgy was by then a well-developed technology practiced by the Greeks and Egyptians, but many philosophers were concerned that this empirical practice was not governed by a satisfactory scientific theory. Alchemy emerged as that
theory, even though today we routinely think of alchemy as having been practiced by late medieval mystics and charlatans.

Throughout most of its lifetime, alchemy was associated with the transmutation of metals, but was also substantially concerned with the ability to change the appearance, in particular the color, of given substances. While we often hear about the quest for gold, there was an equal amount of attention devoted to trying to change the colors of various metals into purple, the color of royalty. Nineteenth-century magic was similarly founded on the desire for something to be other than it is, and one of the most remarkable predecessors
to today’s color-changing materials was represented by an ingenious assembly known as a ‘blow book’. The magician would flip through the pages of the book, demonstrating to the audience that all the pages were blank. He would then blow on the pages with his warm breath, and reflip through the book, thrilling the audience with the sudden appearance of images on every page. That the book was composed of pages alternating between image and blank with carefully placed indentions to control which page flipped in relation to the others makes it no less a conceptual twin to the modern ‘thermochromic’ material.

What, then, distinguishes ‘smart materials’?
This book sets out to answer that question in the next eight chapters and, furthermore, to lay the groundwork for the assimilation and exploitation of this technological advancement within the design professions. Unlike science-driven professions in which technologies are constantly in flux, many of the design professions, and particularly architecture, have seen relatively little technological and material change since the 19th century. Automobiles are substantially unchanged from their forebear a century ago, and we still use the building framing systems developed during the Industrial Revolution. In our forthcoming exploration of smart materials and new technologies we must be ever-mindful of the unique challenges presented by our field, and cognizant of the fundamental roots of the barriers to implementation. Architecture heightens the issues brought about by the adoption of new technologies, for in contrast to many other fields in which the material choice ‘serves’ the problem at hand, materials and architecture have been inextricably linked throughout their history.

Difference between Architecture student and other fields student??

Seating infront of my drafting table i was just thinking of my past architecure studies and life...submissions,those late night studies , elevanth our model making , runnig for plotting , xeroxing the jurnals , computer failure befor the day of submissions....list will go on.. that was amazing..but whats the different between us and the other students like medical or enggi students? what do u think?? is there an difference??


Italian in origin and concept, futurism was first theorized by Filippo Tomaso Marinetti in
a manifesto published on 20 February 1909 in the French daily Le Figaro. Futurism soon became
a movement central to the process of radical artistic renovation carried out by the
European avant-garde. It dealt both with cultural debates specific to Italian art of the first
two decades of the 20th century and with crucial discourses of the European artistic
Encyclopedia of 20th-century architecture 904
revival in general. While affecting primarily the arts in the more restrictive sense of the
term—under the influence of Umberto Boccioni, Carlo Carrà, Gino Severini, and Mario
Chiattone—its most notable representatives in Italian architecture were Giacomo Balla
and Antonio Sant’Elia but also, in various degrees, such architects as Adalberto Libera
and Angiolo Mazzoni, among others. The close collaboration between futurist artists and
architects is evidenced by the fact that the first and only exhibition of futurist architecture
held in Italy of the period was curated by a painter, Fillia, who also edited journals on
topics such as “The Futurist City” and in 1932 wrote a book, La Nuova Architettu ra, in which he gave a
comprehensive view of the significance of the movement.
Most sensitive to the challenges of the new “machinist society” (Le Corbusier) among
the avant-garde artists and architects, the promoters of futurism were concerned primarily
with expressing movement and mechanical speed, which they saw as essential
determinants of modernity. The futurists extended their artistic vision to the study of the
latest conquest of modern science with an undivided enthusiasm for all of what they
perceived to be radical facts of the contemporary civilization. They rejected emphatically
the old canons of static prespectival representation and invoked instead the redemptive
force of the universal dynamism brought about by the machine, itself central to the new
forms of visualization.
Such a proposition was translated in architecture first through visionary
representations of cities shaped by speedy automotive vehicles and later through the
redefinition of the Modern movement’s functionalist themes in terms of extreme
flexibility and mobility (Libera’s imaginary villas, Mazzoni’s control tower for the
Florentine train station, and Le Corbusier’s inhabited high-ways).
The best-known early projects of futurist architecture are Sant’Elia’s and Mario
Chiatone’s urban experiments exhibited in Milan in 1914. The spatial relationships of the
city fabric were determined in the first place by an elaborate system of monumental
arteries distributed hierarchically through and underneath huge “streamlined”
skyscrapers, anticipating the post-Art Deco aesthetics of the 1930s, including Libera’s
entrance to the commemorative Mos tra della Rivoluzione Fas cis ta (1932) or his analogous Italian Pavilion of the 1933
Century of Progress Exposition, Chicago. Sant’Elia’s pre-World War I “città nuova”
projects informed significantly Marinetti himself, who published Manifes t of Futuris t Architecture, commonly regarded
as one of the most important documents of modern Italian architecture.
The thrust that futurism put on solving problems of motorized transportation and its
diversification according to speed and purpose—including strict segregation of pedestrian
circulation—had a significant influence on Le Corbusier’s 1922 speculative
Contemporary City for Three Million Inhabitants, the touchstone of pre-Chandigarh Le
Corbusian urbanism. This influence can be seen as well in the Amsterdam Rokin project
by Mart Stam and that of other European architects, Le Corbusier’s Plan Obus in
particular. Whereas at the eve of World War II the early Russian artistic and literary
avant-garde evolved a genre with a similar name—the Cubo-Futurism of Kasimir
Malevich, Khruchenikh, and Khlebnikov—with little significant connection with the
Italian movement proper, the postrevolutionary Soviet Constructivism (Chernikhov’s
mechanical architecture, Melnikov’s dynamic garages and exploded theaters,
Mayakovsky’s “urban poetry,” or Dziga Vertov’s cinematic constructions) played a
significant role in the development of futurism in Italy (Libera’s and Giuseppe Terragni’s
rooms at the 1932 Mos tra).
Entries A–F 905
After Düsseldorf, where he designed the interior of the Lowenstein house, Balla
conceived the interior of the via Milano Bal-Tic-Tac ballroom (1921) in Rome, often
seen as the first experiment in avant-garde architectural aesthetic in Rome. Vit-torio
Marchi, who wrote two books on futurist architecture in 1924 and 1928, designed the
Pirandello Theater in Rome.
In Italy, where modern and experimental architecture was never banished under
Fascism—and indeed was favored by Mussolini—the futurists emphatically tied their fate
to the new regime and imploded with it in time. Still, the extraordinary mass development
of automobile circulation after the country recovered from the disasters of both war and
Fascism and the increased need, under the circumstances, for pedestrian segregation
along with the desire to emphasize the particular urban character of mechanized
transportation have led urban planners since the early 1960s in Italy to search back for the
still-valid aspects of the futurist credo.

Richard Buckminster Fuller

Architect and philosopher, United States

The American Richard Buckminster Fuller has been variously labeled architect, engineer, author, designer-inventor, educator, poet, cartographer, ecologist, philosopher, teacher, and mathematician throughout his career. Although not trained professionally as an architect, Fuller has been accepted within the architectural profession, receiving numerous awards and honorary degrees. He thought of himself as a comprehensive human in the universe, implementing research for the good of humanity. Born in Milton, Massachusetts, on 12 July 1895, he was the son of Richard Buckminster Fuller, Sr., and Caroline Wolcott (Andrews) Fuller. His father, who worked as a leather and tea merchant with offices in Boston, died when Fuller was 15 years of age. Fuller’s first design revelation came to him when, in kindergarten in 1899, he built his first flat-space frame, an octet truss constructed of dried peas and toothpicks. As a boy, vacationing at his family’s summerhouse on Bear Island, Maine, he became an adequate seaman and developed an appreciation of nature’s provision of principles of efficient design. He followed the philosophy of Pythagoras and Newton, that the universe comprises signs, or patterns of energy relationships, that have an order to them. Fuller used the term “valving” for the transformation of these patterns into usable forms. According to Fuller, these patterns in nature were comprehensive and universal. “Syn-ergy” was the name that Fuller gave to the integrated behavior patterns discovered in nature.

Fuller attended the Milton Academy (1904–06) and Harvard University (1913–15) and was expelled twice while at Harvard. He worked in a few industries and then enlisted for two years of service in the U.S. Navy (1917–19). This experience in industry and with the Navy helped him gain knowledge of technical engineering processes, materials, and methods of manufacturing, which he would apply this knowledge to future  inventions.
When one of his two daughters, Alexandra, died of influenza at age four (1922), Fuller became obsessed with her death. Five years later, on the brink of suicide, he decided instead to devote the rest of his life to helping humanity by converting ideas and technology designed for weaponry into ideas for “livingry.” At the age of 32, he started an experiment, Guinea Pig B (the “B” stood for “Bucky,” his nickname), to discover how an individual with a moral commitment and limited financial means could apply his knowledge to improve humanity’s living conditions by technological determinism. This experiment continued until his death at age 88. Thus, his technological and economical resources belonged to society. He believed in the same moralistic drive to develop better housing for the masses through mass production that many of the European modernists
did, but Fuller’s forms and design principles were quite different.

Among the proliferation of books that Fuller published during his life, the first, 4D Time Lock (1928), propagated his lifetime philosophy. The term “4D” meant “fourth-dimensional” thinking, adding time to the dimensions of space to Encyclopedia of 20th-century architecture 900 ensure gains for humanity instead of personal gains only. The first patent of the 4D designs was a mass-production house, first known as 4D and
later as the Dymaxion House (1927 model; 1928 patent). A hexagonal structure supported on a mast, the house was to be air deliverable and based on his strategy of “design science,” which sought to obtain
maximum human advantage from minimum use of energy and materials.

Using the analogy of airplane technology, he chose materials such as steel alloy cables and the Duralumin mast. After developing the Dymaxion House, Fuller was to engage in developing prototypes of the Dymaxion
Vehicles (1937) and the Dymaxion Bathroom (1940). Later he developed the Dymaxion Deployment Unit (1944), a lightweight corrugated-steel shelter made from modified grain bins. Thousands of these units were
bought by the U.S. Army Air Corps for use as flight crew quarters. The Dymaxion Deployment Unit became the basis for Fuller’s Wichita House (1946). These houses were built to be used as full-size family dwellings, weighing four tons each, and were to be assembled on aircraft production lines built during the war. Another of Fuller’s Dymaxion inventions was the Dymaxion Airocean World Map (1946). This map transferred the spherical data of a globe onto a twodimensional surface.

Fuller, however, is best known for inventing the geodesic dome (1954), a triangulated space-enclosing technology. According to Fuller, this type of structure encloses the maximum internal volume with the least surface area. Designs such as the domes were based on synergy and its connection with mathematics, using such forms as the tetrahedron, octahedron, and icosahedron. Fuller brought into the dome structure ideas
concerning the dome’s tensile ability by introducing a new structural geometry and advancing mechanics into the dome form. He tried to emulate in this structure the atom’s form, including the compound curvature trussing of its dynamic structure. Although this domical design was not new in its elementary form, it was new in its manner of employing these principles in a human-made structure. Numerous domes have appeared all over the world for domestic as well as large-scale industrial use, including the Union Tank Car Company (1958), Baton Rouge, Louisiana; the Climatron Botanical Garden (1961), St. Louis, Missouri; the U.S. Pavilion (1967) at Expo ‘67, the World’s Fair, Montreal, Canada; and the Spruce Goose Hangar (1982), Long Beach, California.

As noted by architectural historian Kenneth Frampton in his book, Modern Architecture: A Critical His tory (1980), Fuller has influenced future generations of architects, most notably the Japanese group the Metabolists, the British group Archigram, Moshe Safdie, Alfred Neuman, Cedric Price, and Norman Foster. A few semiotician scholars liken him to Joyce, but whereas Joyce sought to obscure language intentionally, Fuller sought to emphasize a precise meaning.

Often he would invent words for this purpose, as displayed in his numerous writings and lectures. Later in life, he entered into partnership with Shoji Sadao in New York and Sadao and Zung Architects in Cleveland, Ohio (1979–83). Fuller died on 1 July 1983 in Los Angeles, California, from a massive heart attack; his wife died three days later.

Albert Frey

Architect, United States
Albert Frey holds a unique place in the history of 20th century Californian architecture
as an uncompromising modernist of the European school, a pupil of Le Corbusier, and an
exponent of high-tech and rationalist architecture who lived out his long life in the hills
above Palm Springs, California.
Frey spent the early part of his career working for Belgian modernist architects Jules
Eggericx and Raphael Verwilghen in Brussels, where he was involved with rebuilding
housing following the Great War. He returned to Switzerland in 1927 to work for the firm
of Leuenberger, Fluckiger before moving to Paris in 1928 to work for Le Corbusier and
Pierre Jeanneret for nine months. In Le Corbusier’s atelier he sat between Charlotte
Perriand and Jose Louis Sert, working on the Centrosoyus Administration Building in
Moscow (1933) and the Villa Savoye (1931) at Poissy. Here he was introduced to Sweet’s Catalogue and,
Entries A–F 897
like Richard Neutra before him, found himself drawn to the American dream of a
technological future.
Upon his arrival in New York in September of 1930, Frey began working with A.
Lawrence Kocher, architect and editor of Arch itectural Record, in a partnership that would last until 1935.
The most significant building of Frey’s early career was the exhibition house designed
for the 1931 Allied Arts and Building Products exhibition at the Grand Central Palace in
New York. Called the “Aluminaire House” because of its ribbed aluminum cladding and
its qualities of lightness and airiness, it was strongly influenced by Le Corbusier’s
Maison Citrohan (1920) projects and Maison Cook at Boulonge-sur-Seine (1926–27), as
well as Frey’s own investigations of mass housing, as evidenced in schemes published in
Architectural Record in April 1931. The aluminum- and steel-framed house, with its innovative floor and
wall construction, was subsidized by subscriptions Frey raised from manufacturers and
erected in ten days. Following the exhibition it was bought by the architect Wallace
Harrison, disassembled in six hours and moved to his estate on Long Island. It has now
been rebuilt at the New York Institute of Technology, at Islip, Long Island.
In 1934 Frey traveled to Palm Springs, California, to supervise the building of the
Kocher-Samson office building for Kocher’s brother, a medical doctor. While there he
met John Porter Clark and, terminating his partnership with Kocher, began working with
Clark in a partnership that continued almost uninterrupted until 1957. A brief interlude in
New York in 1938–39, where he worked on the Museum of Modern Art for Philip L
Goodwin, and on a design for the Swiss Pavilion for the World’s Fair with Kocher that is
reproduced most memorably in his book, In Search of a Liv ing Architectu re.
Frey’s philosophy was evinced in the first house he built for himself in 1940.
Assembled out of industrial-type materials, Frey House 1 (Palm Springs, 1940) was a
simple cubic cabin with extending wall planes and an over-reaching, flat roof probing the
landscaped desert around it. These ideas were further explored in the Hatton House and
Guest House (1945) and the Loewy House (1947), all in Palm Springs. The extension of
Frey House 1 in 1947 and again in 1953, with the introduction of bright, electric colors
and profiled metal and ribbed fiberglass cladding, gave it a noticeably futuristic quality
while at the same time incorporating it within the planting and water pools of its natural
site. Although an experimental house, its idiosyncrasies were a direct responses to the
particularities of its desert condition.
With Clark he built a number of crisp, more conventionally modernist buildings,
including elementary and secondary schools in Palm Springs and Needles, and hospitals
at Banning and Palm Springs. These long, low, planar buildings spread out against the
desert landscape, external circulation, play or convalescing areas taking advantage of the
climate. Joined in partnership in 1952 by Robson Chambers, Clark and Frey built the
Palm Springs City Hall (1957) using a palette of traditional and industrial materials. The
design was sensitive to both function and climate, the administrative offices forming a
low, steelscreened T-shaped building with the council chamber expressed as a jagged,
masonry block at one end. Concrete and steel portes cochère, one circular and the other square, marked
the respective entrances to the council chamber and the city hall, the circular form of the
former corresponding to the void within the latter.
Frey House 2 (1965) was built on a mountainside on axis with and overlooking the
centre of Palm Springs, the City Hall visible in the distance. Raised on a concrete-block
podium which incorporated the car port below and the swimming pool above, the house
Encyclopedia of 20th-century architecture 898
appeared to be no more than a glass and steel lean-to cabin, carelessly decaying in the
desert landscape. The architecture is literally subsumed in Nature as a giant rock pushes
through a glass wall, separating the sleeping from the living area and providing, by way
of its mass, a thermal regulator.


Frankfurt am Main was, next to Berlin, perhaps Germany’s most important center of
20th-century architectural developments. Its attempts to initiate an era of “New Building”
with innovative social housing programs and extensive public works construction in the
1920s and its impressive post-World War II rebuilding program that culminated with the
creation of a publicly funded “Museum Mile” in the 1980s have given Frankfurt an
architectural prominence that far outweighs its modest size. The building of dozens of
Europe’s tallest skyscrapers has made Frankfurt’s skyline similarly distinctive.
Located on the Main River at the edge of western Germany’s densely populated
Rhein-Main industrial area, Frankfurt is the capital of the German state of Hesse and one
of Europe’s most important banking, commercial, industrial, and transportation centers. It
began the 20th century as a province of Prussia under the guidance of Mayor Franz
Adickes (1846–1915), who initiated a series of reform-minded urban-planning policies.
Before World War I, visitors and professionals from the nascent field of urban planning
flocked to admire Frankfurt’s new streets, boulevards, parks, housing projects, public
transit system, sanitation, and land development schemes. The unique brand of municipal
socialism created by Adickes gave the city government broad powers to create a beautiful
and well-ordered city that planning officials throughout Germany, England, and the
United States envied and sought to copy.
Despite these reforms, Frankfurt, like most other German (indeed European) cities,
suffered a tremendous housing shortage at the end of World War I in 1918. Although
some remedial reforms were implemented immediately after the war, major
improvements did not come until the enactment of the Dawes Plan and the infusion of
American money and loans in 1923 and the election of Social Democrat Ludwig
Landmann as mayor in 1924. Landmann further reorganized the city government and the
tax laws to allow for more efficient planning and construction of housing and public
works and hired the young architect Ernst May from Breslau in Silesia to take control of
Entries A–F 893
all building and construction departments in the city. Although May did not solve the
housing crisis he inherited, he initiated an unprecedented program of innovative research,
planning, and construction that once again drew the attention and participation of many
of the Europe’s leading architects and planners.
May’s program called for the greater part of the population to live in a series of new
decentralized satellite cities clustered around the old city core, to which they would be
connected with high-speed roads and public transit. Based on older ideas of the Garden
City movement that May had learned as a student of Raymond Unwin in England, the
new housing estates provided high-density low-rise housing for middle-income workers
both in large blocks and in long row houses. Whereas early satellites developments such
as Bruchfeldstrasse (1926–27, E. May), Römerstadt (1927–28, E. May), and Praunheim
(1927–29, E. May) were often laid out with more traditional curved streets and
courtyards, the latter ones, such as Westhausen (1929–30, E. May), Hellerhof (1929, M.
Stam), and Am Lindenbaum (1930, W. Gropius), were laid out in rigid, uniform rows
oriented north to south to maximize the solar orientation of each apartment and allow for
greater standardization of building components.
To realize his ambitious plans, May reorganized the municipal construction industry,
making the process faster, cheaper, and better. Through the help of some national
building research grants (RFG), he rationalized the municipal production of materials and
standardized building components, including the lightweight, prefabricated-concrete
panels that were assembled into cubic, flat-roofed housing. May and his team, including
Grete Schütte-Lihotsky, Martin Elsässer, Adolf Meyer, Emil Kaufmann, and Ferdinand
Kramer, worked hard to define an “existence minimum”—the optimal and most efficient
apartment layout for a given family size. The floor plans, the furnishings, and especially
the “Frankfurt Kitchens” were completely redesigned and mass produced according to
the latest American efficiency theories of C.Frederick, Frederick Taylor, and Henry Ford
in order to minimize costs and work for the housewife. The resulting “New Building”
was, like engineering, striving to be completely objective, rational, and efficient not only
in its construction system but also in its aesthetic and social organization.
The housing program was complemented by an ambitious school-building
program, new libraries, parks and recreation areas, new wholesale markets
and electrical substations, and the implementation of a whole series of
social and cultural reforms to help transform Frankfurt into a more modern
home of the proverbial “New Man.” May publicized Frankfurt’s reforms
in the avant-garde magazine Das neue Frankfur t (The New Frankfurt), which circulated the
innovative ideas to Europe, the United States, Japan, and the rest of the
world. Frankfurt’s successes led the Congrès Internationaux
d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM) holding its second congress in Frankfurt
to inspect, admire, and share May’s achievement of building over 10,000
new apartments in five years. Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Walter
Gropius, and many other avant-garde architects of the Modern movement
marveled at the new housing, infrastructure,advertising graphics, and schools in the “New Frankfurt” and modeled many new
standards on the Frankfurt prototypes.
In 1930, May and his team of architects left Frankfurt because of increasing pressure
from Germany’s radical right, who labeled May’s modern brand of architecture
“Bolshevik” and unGerman. They went to the Soviet Union, where they had even greater
experimental planning projects. Construction on the “New Frankfurt” continued until
1933, when Hitler’s Nazi regime took over political power of Germany and championed
a more traditional, handcrafted, pitched-roof architecture. Although architectural
development slowed, Frankfurt’s banking, transport, and industrial base made it an
important center for Nazi wartime production. Two of the world’s largest chemical
companies, Hoechst and the former I.G.Farben, makers of the gas used in Nazi
concentration camps, had their headquarters in new buildings in Frankfurt, the former in
a brick Expressionist building by Peter Behrens (1924), the latter in a monumental, stoneclad,
10-story curved building by Hans Poelzig (1931). After World War II, Poelzig’s
office building was used as headquarters for the U.S. Army, and after 1995, it was slowly
converted into university facilities.
Entries A–F 895
From the fall of 1943 to September 1944 and especially on the night of 22 March
1944, the historic center of Frankfurt was almost completely destroyed by Allied
bombings: of 47,500 buildings, fewer than 8000 survived at least in part. After the war,
expecting to become the headquarters of Allied occupation forces, Frankfurt’s planners
elected to reconstruct their city based primarily on considerations of efficient traffic
arteries and large building lots rather than restoring the original medieval city fabric.
After rubble removal in the late 1940s, rebuilding started in the 1950s alongside West
Germany’s economic recovery. The modern, International Style buildings designed by
May’s colleague Ferdinand Kramer as well as well-known younger architects, such as
Egon Eiermann, Sep Ruf, and Gottfried Böhm, still dominate downtown Frankfurt. With
the relocation of the West German Central Bank to Frankfurt in 1957, the city grew
rapidly into the largest banking and stock exchange center of Germany, the home of one
of Europe’s largest and architecturally significant convention centers, with exhibit halls
by F.V.Thiersch (1907), O.M.Ungers (1984), and Helmut Jahn (1989), and home to
Europe’s largest and busiest train station, one of the busiest airports in the world, and
some of Germany’s busiest Autobahn crossings.
In the late 1970s, citizens began to demand more spending on cultural affairs and the
creation of a more humane cityscape. They voted to restore and reconstruct their war-torn
central Römer Square with its surrounding 16th-century merchants’ houses, using
traditional half-timber framing techniques. The city also began the creation and
construction of a series of worldclass museums, most of which were located on a short
stretch of riverbank across from the downtown in the more traditional Sachsenhausen
neighborhood. Unger’s German Architecture Museum (1984) and Richard Meier’s
Museum of Applied Arts (1985) added on to early 20th-century villas, whereas the
German Postal Museum (1990, G.Behnisch), the Museum of Modern Art (1991,
H.Hollein), and the Schirn Kunsthalle (1985, D.Bangert, B.Jansen, S.Scholz, and
A.Schultes) are completely new structures.
Although the tall banking towers had already earned the city the nicknames
“Bankfurt,” “Mainhattan,” and “Chicago on the Main,” during the final decade of the
century Frankfurt added a whole series of Europe’s tallest and most innovative new
skyscrapers. The trend started with Ungers’ Torhaus (1984) and Jahn’s Messeturm (1991)
at the convention center. On the skyline, the blue-glass twin towers of the Deutsche Bank
(1984) downtown were soon joined by the DG Bank “Crown” tower (1993) by Kohn
Pederson Fox and the Commerzbank Tower (1997) by Sir Norman Foster, which
contains large multistory atriums every eight floors with trees to help condition the
building’s air. Frankfurt’s recent designation as the home of the European Union’s new
central bank has only fueled the construction boom—the Landesbank Hessen is planning
a tower by Peter Schweiger, and German Telekom is planning a skyscraper by Richard
Rogers. The second “New Frankfurt,” created alongside the new museums and banks, has
once again become a fertile ground for architectural innovation and admiration.

Josef Frank

Architect, Austria
Josef Frank was among the leading Austrian representatives of the Modern movement.
He was a founding member of the Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne
(CIAM), and, as vice president of the Austrian Werkbund, he oversaw the planning and
construction of the 1932 Vienna Werkbundsiedlung. In the early 1930s, however, Frank
emerged as one of the most important and vocal critics of what he saw as the totalitarian
orthodoxy within the various strands of modernism. For the remainder of his life, until he
stopped practicing in the early 1960s, he sought alternatives to what he perceived as the
banality and uniformity of much of the building of his time.
Frank studied architecture with Carl König, Max Fabiani, and others at the Vienna
Technische Hochschule, graduating in 1910 with a dissertation on the churches of Leon
Battista Alberti. While still a student, he flirted briefly with the Art Nouveau (Jugendstil),
but he soon abandoned the style in favor of the renewed historical eclecticism that
dominated much of Central European design in the period after 1905. Around 1909 Frank
formed a partnership with two of his former classmates from the Technische Hochschule,
Oskar Strnad and Oskar Wlach. Together, the three young architects specialized in
houses and interiors for the city’s haute bourgeois ie. In the period just prior to 1914, Frank realized
several houses, mostly notably the Scholl House (1913–14), which, despite its lingering
neoclassicism, showed marked parallels with Adolf Loos’s stark pre war villas. Frank,
however, was much more radical in the composition of his facades and furnishings,
which often relied on complex and asymmetrical arrangements.
After World War I, Frank devoted himself to finding solutions to Vienna’s severe
housing shortage. In the early 1920s he designed a series of housing projects in and
around Vienna that were based on the ideas of reduction and repetition. Frank’s early
postwar works continued to draw on historical precedents, but by 1921 he began to
develop a simplified form language, one that reflected the growing development of s achlich
Encyclopedia of 20th-century architecture 890
(objective) architecture throughout Central Europe. This was especially evident in
Frank’s designs for several apartment buildings for the Vienna municipality, including
the Wiedenhofer-Hof (1924—25) and the Winarsky-Hof (1924–26). The housing blocks,
which were published in many of the leading international architectural journals of the
time, brought Frank increasing notoriety and led to an invitation from Ludwig Mies van
der Rohe to participate in the 1927 Weissenhofsiedlung in Stuttgart.
Frank’s contribution to the Weissenhof exhibition, a double house, was widely lauded
for its straightforward appearance and innovative constructional ideas. Frank’s colorful
and florid interiors, however, which included furnishings and textiles from his shop Haus
and Garten (House and Garden; founded in 1925 with Wlach), drew strong criticism from
many of the other participants and observers who condemned them for being
“conservative,” “feminine,” “obtrusive,” and “middle class.” Frank responded to the
charges in an article titled “Der Gschnas fürs G’mut und der Gschnas als Problem”
(“Frippery for the Soul and Frippery as a Problem”), in which he argued that the strippeddown,
functionalist style of the radical modernists simply did not respond to most
people’s psychological needs. He repeated these criticisms in his book Archi tektur als Symbol: Elemente deuts chen Neuen Bauens (1931;
[Architecture as Symbol: Elements of German Modern Architecture]). Many of Frank’s
subsequent designs similarly constituted immanent responses to the modernist vanguard.
Because of the poor state of the Austrian economy in the postwar period, Frank was
able to realize only a handful of residences for private clients, the most import of which
was the Villa Beer (1928–30) in Vienna. Like Loos’s famed Raumplan (space plan) houses of the
1920s and early 1930s, the three-and-a half-story residence consisted of intricate
arrangement of inter-locking volumes on different levels, and it stands, along with Loos’s
Müller House and Mies’ Tugendhat House, as one of the most significant modernist
explorations of the possibilities of a new spatial ordering.
In 1933, in response to the Nazi seizure of power in Germany and the growth of anti-
Semitism in Austria, Frank immigrated to Sweden and settled in Stockholm, where he
became the chief designer for the interior design firm Svenskt Tenn. He continued to
produce designs for houses into the early 1960s, but increasingly after 1937 he devoted
himself to furniture design, churning out hundreds of ideas for chairs, tables, and cabinets
as well as textiles, rugs, and other objects for the home. The softened, cozy eclecticism
that Frank developed in his designs for Svenskt Tenn was widely admired and imitated
throughout Scandinavia and contributed to the rise of what later became known as
Swedish or Scandinavian modern design.
From 1941 to 1946, Frank lived in New York City, but he was unable to establish
himself in the United States, and he returned to Sweden and resumed his work for
Svenskt Tenn. Frank continued to reflect on the problems of modern architecture,
however, and in the late 1940s and early 1950s he produced a series of designs for houses
based on the principles of nonorthogonal geometry and chance ordering. He spelled out
these ideas in a manifesto titled “Accidentism,” which was published in the Swedish
design review Fo rm in 1958. By that time, Frank was largely a forgotten figure, and his bold
proposals attracted little attention. Many of his ideas for an architecture of complexity
and contradiction, however, presaged the rise of Postmodernism in the 1960s.

Kenneth Frampton

Architect, historian and critic, United States
Kenneth Frampton is an architect, historian, and theorist based in New York. As an
architect with Douglas Stephen and Partners from 1961 to 1966, when he designed an
eight-story (48-unit) apartment block, Craven Hill Gardens (1964), in Bayswater,
London. It received a Ministry of Housing award and is now a Grade Four historic
In 1962, Frampton also became a technical editor for Architectural Des ign and improved the depth and
quality of the magazine’s coverage of new work, such as the Smithsons’ Economist
Building in London. In 1965, he accepted a teaching position at Princeton University
through the efforts of Peter Eisenman, then a young professor there who had studied at
Cambridge University with Colin Rowe. While at Princeton, he became a member of the
Institute for Architecture and Advanced Studies (IAUS) in New York and eventually one
of the editors of its influential historical and theoretical journal, Oppositions (1972—82). While a
professor at Columbia University (1972–73), with Theodore Liebman and others, he was
involved in the design of an innovative low-rise, high-density, low-income housing
project, Marcus Garvey Village, in Brownsville, Brooklyn, for the New York State Urban
Development Corporation.
Frampton is perhaps best known for the concept of “critical regionalism,” which he
first advanced in two articles in 1983. Influenced by the writings of the philosopher
Martin Heidegger, Frampton argued that local building culture and climactic influences
could provide a form of resistance to what he saw as the homogenizing and
environmentally destructive forces of worldwide capitalist development. A vehement
critic of the ironic manipulation of formal imagery characteristic of Postmodernism, since
the 1980s he has asserted the importance of the tectonics of building, a position reflected
in his Studies in Tectonic Culture (1995). In addition to his position at Columbia, he has taught in recent years at
the University of Virginia, the Berlage Institute in Amsterdam, the ETH (Swiss Federal
Institute of Technology) in Zurich, the EPFL (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in
Lausanne, and the Accademia di architettura in Mendrisio, Switzerland.
Frampton’s international advocacy for an environmentally and culturally appropriate
modern architecture has gained him considerable respect around the world, although in
the 1990s some have charged him with being too naively idealistic about the role of
architecture in contemporary society in light of the immense changes being wrought by
computing and the spread of a global consumer economy. His response is that our mode
of building has an important role to play in addressing issues of sustainability and global
warming, and he continues to insist that the “architectural profession has an ethical
responsibility for projecting works which have a critically creative character.”

Norman Foster

Architect, England
Together with architects Richard Rogers, Nicholas Grimshaw, and Michael Hopkins,
Norman Foster is credited with pioneering the design style known as High-Tech in
Britain in the early 1970s. Although in the United States the term refers principally to an
architectural style, in Britain High-Tech points to a more rigorous approach in which
advanced technology is acknowledged as representing the “spirit of the age.” The
aesthetics of industrial production and machine technology are celebrated and embodied
Entries A–F 883
in the methodology of design production. Industry is a source for both technology and
After working in the city treasurer’s office in Manchester Town Hall and
serving for two years in the Royal Air Force, Foster studied at the
University of Manchester (1956–61) and at Yale University (1961–62). In
1963, he formed Team 4 in London, collaborating with his wife, Wendy,
and Su and Richard Rogers, whom he had met at Yale. An early commission was for a house in Cornwall
for Richard Rogers’s parents-in-law, the Brumwells, and their art collection. Marcus
Brumwell had been a founder of Misha Black’s design consultancy, DRU, and this
connection was to lead to further commissions. The house is half buried in the contours
of the site and takes full advantage of the dramatic coastal position; the bridge spanning
the steep gully between road and turfed roof presages some of Foster and Roger’s later
Encyclopedia of 20th-century architecture 884
preoccupations. Another significant early work was the controversial Reliance Controls
Factory (1967) at Swindon. Here, Foster’s interest in tense metal skins for buildings and
Roger’s predilection for expressing structural bracing externally are anticipated. There
was also a concern for civilizing working conditions, which was to become a hallmark of
Foster’s commercial buildings.
Foster Associates was founded in London in 1967 and includes eight partners in
addition to Norman and Wendy Foster (Loren Butt, Chubby S.Chhabra, Spencer de Gray,
Roy Fleetwood, Birkin Haward, James Meller, Graham Phillips, and Mark Robertson). It
has become an immensely successful practice with an international profile. Their first
significant commission was the Olsen line passenger terminal and administration building
(1971) in London’s Dockland. Here, Foster declared his concern of breaking down the
“distinction between us and them, posh and scruffy, front office and workers’ entrance.”
Throughout the early 1970s, Foster brought his commitment to a patrician elegance to a
whole range of modestly scaled buildings, offices, schools, shops, and some factories.
The celebrated headquarters of the Willis Faber Dumas offices (1975) in Ipswich
boasts a curved glass facade that reinforces the street boundaries and harmonizes with the
urban environment. Two floors of office accommodation for 1300 people are elevated
and placed between amenity and support areas above and below, including a swimming
pool and gymnasium on the ground floor and a restaurant pavilion set in the landscaped
garden roof. The Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts (1978), built to house the Sir
Robert and Lady Sainsbury Collection, comprises an ingeniously adaptable structure that
allows any part of the external walls and roof to be changed quickly to provide different
combinations of glazed, solid, or grilled aluminum panels. A single, large, span roof
covers two exhibition galleries, the School of Fine Arts, a large reception area, the
university faculty club, a public restaurant, and storage facilities. The latter requiring
more space, Foster designed the fan-shaped Crescent Wing, completed in 1991. This
addition is introduced discretely into the landscape and does not destroy the integrity of
the main building. The Renault Distribution Centre (1983) at Swindon is based on a
structural module—a masted, lightweight suspended roof that repeats itself. Stansted
Airport Terminal (1991) followed, with its dramatic roof structure surmounting the vast
open space of the main building. Such great “neutral space envelopes,” capable of
accommodating differentiated functions, are a feature of Foster’s work. While being
committed to the HighTech movement, which celebrates the aesthetic of industrial
production, Foster is also concerned with what he describes as design “development,”
evinced in the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Headquarters (1985),
described as the most expensive office building ever constructed. Here, all the main
elements of the building, often prefabricated off-site, result from the close collaboration
of architect and manufacturers, ensuring high levels of craftsmanship and quality of
detail. Stansted witnesses a similar concern for detail, with the architect designing
carpets, seating, checkout desks, and retail outlets. More recent works include a
contribution to Stockley Park (1984), Heathrow, Middlesex, a business park attracting
international companies; the ITN Headquarters (1991); Riverside Offices and Apartments
(1990), including Foster’s own apartment, both in London; and the Library (1992) at
Cranfield Institute of Technology, Bedfordshire, England.


Designed by D.H.Burnham and Company; completed 1903
New York, New York
With its striking shape, prominent location, and exceptional height, the Flatiron
Building was one of New York’s most discussed and distinctive skyscrapers at the
beginning of the 20th century. It was originally named the Fuller Building after the
George A.Fuller Company, which had served as the building’s developer and builder and
was one of its original occupants until moving to a new building in 1929. From its lofty
quarters, the New York office of the Fuller Company oversaw as general contractors the
construction of several of the city’s most prominent buildings. However, few called this
skyscraper the Fuller Building; the triangular lot from which this tower rises quickly led
to the building’s popular moniker, the Flatiron.
The architect of the building was D.H.Burnham and Company of Chicago. Daniel
H.Burnham (1846–1912) had established himself as one of America’s most prominent
architects and planners. By the time the Flatiron was being designed and built (1901–03),
Burnham was devoting much of his time to big plans. Among other things, he played an
important role in the development of the Senate Park Commission Plan (1901–02) for
Washington, D.C. Concurrently, his large architectural office was designing numerous
buildings across the country. Burnham oversaw the operation but left much of the
creative work to several talented designers in the firm, including Frederick P.Dinkelberg,
who appears to have had an important hand in the architectural design of the Flatiron.
At 21 stories or 307 feet tall, the Flatiron Building was one of the taller skyscrapers in
New York when it was built. The building’s structural steel frame, with extensive wind
bracing, reflected the recent acceptance of the all-steel skeleton for skyscrapers in New
York, after the pioneering efforts of the Chicago School (in which Burnham and his
former partner John W. Root had played a key role). The limestone and terra cotta that
Encyclopedia of 20th-century architecture 880
cover the building are of the same light monochrome. The rustication and heavily
ornamented patterns of these walls, as well as the conservatively sized windows, give the
façades a heavy appearance, even though these are not load-bearing walls. The multistory
oriels in the midsection, which are prominent in many of Burnham’s Chicago buildings,
are just barely perceptible on the busy, more enclosed skin of the Flatiron. This greater
visual weight becomes especially evident in comparison with Burnham’s earlier and even
his contemporary work in Chicago. It is as if this Midwest-bred approach to skyscraper
design became more formal when it came east to New York.
Stylistically, the design of the Flatiron draws from the classical tradition, with French
Renaissance motifs. Ever since Burnham played a pivotal role in the staging of the 1893
World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, he became increasingly enamored with
Beaux-Arts classicism, an attraction that found its broadest expression in his involvement
in the City Beautiful movement. The Flatiron is a vertical extension of a Renaissance
palazzo: the tripartition of the overall design into a distinct base, a repetitive midsection,
and a crowning cornice is now extended over 20 stories, making the whole appear
column-like. If the Flatiron had been a building of a more traditional height, it could have
fit comfortably in a contemporary City Beautiful plan with radial avenues carving
triangular lots in a Parisian manner. But the Flatiron is not of a traditional scale. Its
enormous height stretches its classical garb uneasily. It is not a part of a larger
choreographed urban ensemble; in fact, it stands isolated as a freestanding tower on its
own small urban island bound by 22nd Street, Broadway, and Fifth Avenue. The diagonal
slice that Broadway makes through Manhattan’s grid as it skirts past Madison Square
creates the site’s right triangle. The long, thin triangular footprint of the Flatiron extrudes
up through all its stories. With all three façades facing streets, this tall, thin building was
designed to always have very well-lit office spaces.
The most acute angle of the Flatiron points north. Early 20th-century commentators
often likened this sharply curved corner of the building to a ship’s prow. When seen at an
angle from Madison Square, the building can appear to have little depth, like a wall
leaned precariously against the sky. The gravity-defying illusion of the building is further
enhanced by the enormous cornice projecting aggressively from the top of the building,
giving the whole affair a top-heavy appearance. Although the building is in the flattopped
tradition of the Chicago School, its arrow-like north angle can make the Flatiron
appear as if its horizontal cornice is pointing skyward in photographs. The striking visual
presence of this uncommon vertical mass is what made the building instantly famous
both with tourists and those in the arts grappling with the nature of New York’s
modernity. Did D.H.Burnham and Company intend all of this drama in the Flatiron?
Perhaps not; the elements of the design fit in comfortably with the general development
of the firm. It was the unconventional triangular lot, coupled with exceptional height, that
transformed architectural conventions into something unique.
In the first years after completion, the Flatiron Building received
considerable attention from various sources. In 1903 the reported that strong, swirling winds were congregating at the building’s base and
playing havoc with pedestrians. One writer for Munsey’s Magazine in 1905 contemplated the ironies of
contemporary civilization in New York from a godlike vantage point high up in the
Flatiron. A 1903 essay in Camera Work discussed whether the Flatiron would lead to a rethinking of
aesthetics. Photographers responded most profoundly to the visual challenge of the
Flatiron. Photographs by Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen taken soon after the
building’s completion established the Flatiron’s iconic presence upon the modern
imagination. However, these early photographs typically veil the Flatiron in the
atmospheric effects of nature; the building’s stylistic pretensions erode as the sublime
vertical mass becomes dominant.
In 1903 the Flatiron stood in relative isolation near Madison Square, since the city’s
other early skyscrapers were clustered further south on Manhattan. However, ever-taller
skyscrapers soon dwarfed the Flatiron: the 700-foot Metropolitan Life Tower (1909)
arose on the other side of Madison Square, and the Empire State Building (1931) was
built several blocks to the north on Fifth Avenue. From the tops of both of these buildings
Encyclopedia of 20th-century architecture 882
one had new yet belittling views of the Flatiron. Today, the Flatiron is one of New York’s
oldest extant skyscrapers and re tains its theatrical and unsettling presence amid the evergrowing
concentration of Manhattan’s skyscrapers.

Kay Fisker

Architect, Denmark
Kay Fisker was one of the early proponents of functionalism in Danish architecture.
Taking his point of departure from the early 20th-century Danish Neoclassicism so
prevalent in the 1910s and 1920s, he developed a type of functional building design
specific to the Danish language of materials. In this way, Fisker took his inspiration first
from functional theorist and practitioner Louis Sullivan and only later from his
contemporaries among the European architects, such as Mies van der Rohe, Walter
Gropius, and Le Corbusier. Fisker’s successful bridging of these two styles in his practice
Encyclopedia of 20th-century architecture 876
(with partner C.F.Møller from 1930 to 1941), along with his steadfast promotion of
functionalist ideals in his teaching at the Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen and
abroad and as a writer for architectural publications (including the Danish journal Arkitekten),
proves his place as one of the most influential figures in modern architecture in Denmark
is justified.
Fisker first melded regional expression with functionalist principles in a student
project, with Aage Rafn, for a small railroad station (1915) on the island of Bornholm. A
study in form, the end-gabled station, with little architectural detail other than patterning
of the brick exterior, set the stage for Fisker’s drawing on traditional Danish building
types for his simplified structures. Fisker was able to expand on his application of
functionalist principles to large-scale architecture beginning in the 1920s, specifically, on
new forms of housing called for after the world wars. It is for his work in this area that
Fisker is best known today.
The housing shortage in Denmark, particularly in Copenhagen, after World War I led
to substantial government funds allotted to large-scale housing projects. Fisker’s early
housing block Hornbækhus (1922) helped define a new type of structure meeting the
needs of modern Danes. The architect conceived of this rectangular apartment block,
which enclosed a large central garden, as a series of identical apartment modules, both
modern ideas at the time. This early solution, however, expressed functionalism through
the lingering vocabulary of Neoclassicism. The symmetrical brick exterior is broken only
by marching rows of uniform windows running across the entire facade of the building.
Fisker’s early publication with F.R.Yerbury, Modern Danish Arch itecture (1927), championed the neoclassical as
the most appropriate style of the day. It is this sense of regularity, of preoccupation with
massing and form, that remained the hallmark of Fisker’s architecture even after he
abandoned the neoclassical style in the 1930s.
The introduction of international functionalism, introduced through exhibitions in
Berlin and Stockholm in 1930, provided Denmark with a break from Neoclassicism. This
new practical vocabulary had a decisive effect on the direction of Fisker’s later apartment
houses and other structures. After some experimentation, Fisker applied a more attractive
and humanistic solution to the blocks of flats while still retaining their regional qualities.
His Vestersøhus housing project (1935, 1938) features brick facades broken up with
rectangular projecting balconies paired with windows, giving the structure a pleasing
proportion and appearance. This was no mean task with such an inherently long and
monotonous building type, although by this time the enclosed street block, seen in
Hornbækhus, had been abandoned. Fisker, in his 1948 article “The History of Domestic
Architecture in Denmark,” described this new functional aspect of balconies as helping to
“accentuate facades in the rhythm of the new architectural style, facades which…were to
give honest expression to the plan behind them” (Fisker, 1948). This break from
classicism also led to siting becoming a more important aspect of Danish modern
architecture, especially on the newly developed outskirts of Copenhagen. Vestersøhus, by
example, is picturesquely placed with its main facade facing a Copenhagen lake. In
addition, the state’s involvement with these residential estates meant that it exercised
aesthetic control, employing the same architects for later additions to ensure visual unity.
In the period following World War II, Fisker made significant contributions to the new
trend of terraced apartment houses of smaller separate units set about in a parklike area.
The grouping of several smaller housing blocks together throughout such massive estates
Entries A–F 877
became a typical way of breaking up the monotony of large-scale residential projects
while providing more light and a neighborhood feel. Buildings in these complex
developments related to the natural site and to one another in a way that the long housing
blocks could not. Fisker’s Voldparken estate (Husum, 1949–51) is a celebrated example
of this type of housing block evolution in which the previously mentioned solutions are
applied. Fisker again concentrated on overall form and massing, keeping in mind native
qualities. Each house, for example, is constructed of warm indigenous brick with a hip
roof. The long facades are again relieved through Fisker’s use of balconies that
ingeniously project from the building at an angle. Fisker also designed a school (1951–
57) at Voldparken.
Many of the qualities of Fisker’s large-scale housing projects were appropriate for his
most well known project. In 1931, Fisker, along with partner C.F.Møller and Povl
Stegmann, won the competition for the new Århus University campus (1932–68) in
Århus, Denmark. It was only the country’s second university, and the state broke with the
classical, formal situation of an urban campus in favor of a modern one. The setting was
undeveloped land marked by rolling hills, existing groves of trees, and glacial streams
that were dammed to create two small lakes. The university buildings were to be
informally nestled into this park setting while respecting the natural terrain. The
architects strove for uniformity in the architectural vocabulary of the structures, and this
program was adhered to in later additions (Stegmann left the project in 1937 and Fisker
in 1945, after which C.F.Møller was the sole architect). Fisker’s university buildings
again recall traditional Danish structures, with their cubist forms, pitched roofs of yellow
tiles, and unbroken yellow-brick exteriors, but on a much larger scale. Therefore, the
buildings, beginning with the strong, unornamented Institute for Chemistry, Physics, and
Anatomy (1932–33), although clearly expressing the new functionalism, still project the
monumental qualities typical of Fisker’s work.
The transition between Neoclassicism and Danish functionalism in Fisker’s
architecture can also be traced in his silver designs for A.Michelsen in the 1920s, whereas
his domestic and ship interiors display a more modern progressivism. This influence can
be seen in the work of his students, such as Jørn Utzon, who went on to international


Twentieth-century Finnish architecture, with few exceptions, has moved within the flow
of contemporaneous international developments. Within this larger construct, Finnish
architects have simultaneously developed qualities that are particular to the cultural and
natural condition of the country. Over the past half-century, the Finns have not forsaken
modernism but have continued to examine and inspect its potential, creating a legacy of
superb works in architecture and planning.
Toward the end of the 19th century, a growth in national self-awareness occurred in
Finland as well as in other European countries. Although this nationalism was partially
based on an interest in seeking national cultural origins, it was also fostered by the
establishment and growth of democratic institutions that accompanied industrial
development. In response to the repression of the regime of Czar Nicholas II during the
1890s, Finland sought political independence through national self-assertion. Within the
Finnish arts, the search for a national cultural identity resulted in a movement known as
National Romanticism.
With the 1849 edition of the Kalevala, the Finnish national folk epic, the arts were provided
with powerful poetic imagery that led to the development of a national form of artistic
expression that moved from painting to music and eventually to architecture. The music
of Jan Sibelius and the paintings of Akseli Gallén-Kallela express this urge toward
national identity. For architects, the question of the period was, What qualities were
required for a national architecture? The Finnish Pavilion for the 1900 Paris World’s Fair,
by the firm Gesellius Lindgren and Saarinen, was the first occasion for a public
expression of National Romanticism. The work contained many of the formal features
that would characterize National Romantic architecture: picturesque compositions with
Entries A–F 867
irregular asymmetrical plans and masses employing tactile and rough materials. Ragged
and irregular building volumes and profiles are complemented through the use of heavily
rusticated masonry surfaces, protruding log ends, and numerous textural variations in
materials. Often, the ornamentation featured motifs derived from Finnish nature and
folklore: bears, squirrels, and other animals, along with pinecones, tree boughs, and the
occasional character from folklore were sculpted decorative motifs.
The work of Gesellius, Lindgren and Saarinen and of individuals such as Lars Sonck,
Selim Lindqvist, Usko Nyström, and the architect Vivi Lönn exemplified the very best of
Finnish National Romanticism. Hvitträsk (1902), the home and studio of Gesellius,
Lindgren, and Saarinen, combines the organizational pattern of a Finnish vernacular farm
complex with massing elements from medieval stone churches. The interiors continue
these direct references and include an interlocking log living space and a sitting room
decorated like medieval church vaults. The Pohja Insurance Building (1901) and several
apartment complexes in Helsinki are of rough masonry construction that references the
work of American architect Henry Hobson Richardson. Among the most powerful works
of the period was the firm’s National Museum (designed 1901, completed 1915), which
incorporates direct references to Finnish medieval churches and fortresses. Lars Sonck’s
best work of the period includes the Eira Hospital (1905), a bank interior (1904), and the
Richardson-influenced Telephone Building (1905), all located in Helsinki. However, his
Tampere Cathedral (1907) is a true masterpiece: it is a fully integrated work of art and
architecture, assimilating a variety of references into a bold, assertive building. Other
important works of the period include Usko Nyström’s evocative Valtion Hotel in Imatra
(1903) and Onni Tarjanne’s National Theater (1902). Many of the works of this period
were important cultural buildings symbolizing Finland as an emerging nation with a
sophisticated population.
Finland had several women architects practicing during this period, all of whom
attended the Polytechnic Institute in Helsinki. Although Signe Hornborg and Signe
Lagerborg-Stenius engaged in major commissions during the National Romantic period,
it was Vivi Lönn who was a major force during the first two decades of the 20th century.
Her best National Romantic work, all located in Tampere, included the Finnish Girl’s
School (1902), the Alexander School (1904), and the Central Fire Station (1908), along
with other educational and domestic projects.
Two buildings, although appearing National Romantic, signal the movement toward a
more classical approach to design among Finland’s architectural leaders: Eliel Saarinen’s
(the partnership was dissolved by 1907) Helsinki Railroad Station (1914) and Lars
Sonck’s Helsinki Stock Exchange (1911). Both works have a classical restraint and
control and eschew the compositional excesses of National Romanticism. Although
National Romanticism had provided Finland with an international reputation, the style
seemed regressive and heavy. The younger architects desired to generate a purer and
more rational form of expression. The exaggerations of National Romanticism gave way
to a classicizing tendency emergent throughout Scandinavia before World War I.
Finnish classicism of the 1920s is exemplified by the use of simply proportioned
geometric volumes with sparsely decorated stucco surfaces. The flat, stuccoed surfaces
with crisply modeled classical appointments recall the neoclassicism of early 18thcentury
Finnish architects Carl Ludwig Engel and Carlo Bassi and the simple classically
inspired architecture found in the towns and villages throughout Italy. Despite their
Encyclopedia of 20th-century architecture 868
classical uniforms, the buildings of the 1920s contain a number of nonclassical
characteristics. The plan orders are often distorted, making use of asymmetrical
compositions rather than axial or symmetrical ones. A freer disposition of plan elements
occurs to accommodate both functional necessities and the exigencies of context. The
work of Hilding Ekelund, J.S.Siren, Erik Bryggman, Sigurd Frosterus, and Alvar and
Aino Aalto embrace this direction.
Two major works, J.S.Siren’s Finnish Parliament House (1931) and Sigurd Frosterus’s
Stockmann’s department store (1930), both in Helsinki, are serious realizations of Nordic
classicism. The Parliament House, with its columned front surmounting a monumental
flight of stairs, is an essay in restraint and repose. The interiors are well resolved and
expertly detailed, creating an integrated work of form, space, and decoration. The
Stockmann’s department store is more muscular in bearing because of its use of masonry.
The massive vertical brick facade, clear profiles, and culminating copper roof are
balanced by the large, skylit interior central space.
Four women architects made major contributions during this period: Eva Kuhlefet-
Ekelund, Kerttu Rytkönen, Elsa Arokallio, and Elsi Borg. Kuhlefelt-Ekelund designed
one of the exceptional buildings of the era, the Private Swedish Girl’s School (1929) in
Töölö. Rytkönen executed the exciting, more idiosyncratic Salus hospital (1929) in
Helsinki. Arokallio’s work for the Ministry of Defense as well as in private practice and
her Kauhava barracks (1928) are marked by a strict and elegant classicism. A crowning
work is Elsi Borg’s Jyväskylä Rural Parish Church (1928), with its clear geometric
shapes, arresting details, and expressive use of color.
Commercial buildings in addition to housing complexes were executed in
this form of classicism. This was a period of growth and urban expansion
in Finland’s major cities—Turku, Helsinki, Tampere, and Jyväskylä—and
the simplicity of the forms and their responsiveness as urban design
elements made classicism a suitable style for these developments.
Buildings in the 1920s by Alvar and Aino Aalto in Jyväskylä and Turku
and by Erik Bryggman in Turku exemplify these characteristics, especially the Aaltos’s Defense
Corps building (1926) in Jyväskylä and Southwestern Agricultural Cooperative (1929) in
Turk and Bryggman’s two blocks of flats (mid-1920s) in Turku.
Hilding Ekelund’s “Art Hall” (1929) and Töölö Church (1930), both in Helsinki, and
the Aaltos’s Worker’s Club (1925) in Jyväskylä represent, in contrast, the free play of
expression found in this form of classicism. These works, while using elements of the
classical language, often exhibit exaggerated, even mannered, qualities in the overall
composition or the detailing.
Many of Helsinki’s suburban developments date from this period and are
composed of apartment blocks executed in this form of classicism to
achieve a harmonious cityscape. The streetscapes along Mäkelänkatu and
Museokatu in Helsinki are examples of this unified intention. Martti
Välikangas’s Käpylä Garden Suburb (1925) in Helsinki combines classical
motifs and decoration with a simple vernacular-inspired building while
demonstrating an understanding of the most up-to-date town-planning
Encyclopedia of 20th-century architecture 870
Finnish Functionalism
Finnish awareness of the new ideas emerging from continental Europe began in the
1920s, as Scandinavian journals began publishing the work of the French, German,
Dutch, and Russian avant-garde. At this time, Finnish architects were especially open to
currents from the outside and willing to participate in theoretical and polemical
discussions. Architects such as Alvar and Aalto and Erik Bryggman, among others,
traveled throughout Europe to visit the seminal works of the new architecture and to
attend meetings of CIAM (Congrès Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne). In
particular, Aalto’s firsthand knowledge of avant-garde developments not only was
instrumental in the promulgation of Finnish functionalism but quickly established him as
among its leaders.
Accepting both the formal canons and the social programs of modernism, Finnish
functionalism was characterized by use of the “free” plan; the separation of structure
from building envelope, with the structure (usually of concrete) being detached from the
“free” facade; and a machine imagery created by tautskinned, white cubic volumes with
minimalistic industrial detailing. The architects further accepted the modern bias for
buildings sited in open, park-like settings. In built works as well as in proposals, portions
of extant urban fabric were opened to automobile access and the perceived health-giving
qualities of sun, air, and greenery.
Although a number of Finns directly experienced the major new works on the
Continent—which led to extremely sophisti-cated buildings being executed in this small
country—Aalto’s knowledge of his peers’ work and his quick assimilation of
modernism’s industrial detailing techniques were wryly commented on by Hilding
Ekelund in 1930: “With the same enthusiasm as the academics of the 1880s drew Roman
baroque portals, Gothic pinnacles, etc. in their sketchbooks for use in their architectural
practice, Alvar Aalto noses out new, rational-technical details from all over Europe which
he then makes use of and transforms with considerable skill” (Mikkola 1980, 75).
The Aaltos’s Turun Sanomat Newspaper Building (1929) in Turku and Tuberculosis Sanatorium
(1933) in Paimio are seminal pieces of Finnish functionalism, as they have fully
incorporated Le Corbusier’s “Five Points of a New Architecture.” However, Aalto was
by no means the lone practitioner, and by the early 1930s, a number of especially fine
examples of modernism existed throughout Finland. Exemplary works, embracing both
modernism’s formal canons and social programs, were also produced by Erik Bryggman,
Viljo Revell, Erkki Huttunen, Oiva Kallio, and P.E.Blomstedt.
P.E.Blomstedt, who worked with his architect wife Märta, completed two small but
excellent works: the Kannonkoski Church (1933) and the Kotka Savings Bank (1935).
After his death in 1935, Märta Blomstedt, with Matti Lampén, completed the Pohjanhovi
Hotel (1936) in Rovaniemi, one of the most important works of the period. The “Glass
Palace” (1935) in Helsinki by Viljo Revell embraces modernism through expression of its
program of restaurants, shops, and a cinema, all part of the central bus station, as well as
for its machine aesthetics. Bryggman’s library tower (1935) for the Åbo Akademi in
Turku, the exceptional Helsinki Olympic Stadium (1940) by Yrjö Lindegren, and a series
of works by Erkki Huttunen—the Cooperative Shop (1933) in Sauvo, the Kotka Town
Entries A–F 871
Hall (1934), and the SOK warehouse and office building (1938) in Oulu—are all
examples of the acceptance of functionalism in Finland.
Although many architects continued to actively embrace functionalism, criticism of its
propositions began to emerge during the mid- to late 1930s. This criticism initially
concerned tectonics and materiality. As modernist works appeared in Finland and the
forces of nature and the effect of climate began to act on them, architects questioned the
advisability of using Mediterranean-inspired building forms in the harsh northern
environment. To modify functionalism’s astringent forms and material palette, Finnish
architects incorporated traditional pitched-roof forms; brick, tile, and stone cladding; and
punched window openings. Traditional norms modified functionalist “ethics,” providing
more corporeal substance and regional character to the work.
In the Aaltos’s work, this change can be seen initially in the evolution of
the design for the Viipuri Library (1935) and their residence (1936) in
Munkkiniemi. However, the Finnish Pavilion at the 1936 Paris World’s
Fair and the Villa Mairea (1939) are the pivotal works that reveal and
codify the directions that Aalto took over the next three decades of his
production (Aino Aalto died of cancer in 1949). Erik Bryggman’s elegant
Resurrection Chapel (1940) in Turku is another example of this movement
toward a more experiential and tactile architecture. In both the Villa
Mairea and the Resurrection Chapel, the interplay between nature and the
architecture is an essential characteristic of the design. A number of
housing complexes and service facilities for factory complexes by Aalto,
Aarne Ervi, and Viljo Revell exploit this play between built form and the
natural setting.
Postwar Developments
At one level, Aalto’s work dominated Finnish developments in the post-World War II
era. The Säynätsalo Town Hall (1952), Rautatalo office building (1955), National
Pensions Institute (1956), House of Culture (1958), and Vouksenniska Church (1959) all
reinforced his international standing and independent direction. However, Finland during
the 1950s and 1960s was more than Aalto.
Whereas Aalto went his own way, the majority of Finnish architects continued to
practice an evolved form of modernism influenced by Mies van der Rohe and others.
Their buildings are characterized by their direct approach in the use of reinforced
concrete and steel along with brick and wood, coupled with rational planning and
organizational techniques. Examples include Viljo Revell’s Palace Hotel (1952, with
Keijo Petäjä) in Helsinki and Vatiala Cemetery Chapel (1962); the numerous housing
complexes by Arne Ervi; Yrjö Lindegren’s Serpent house (1951), Kaija and Heikki
Siren’s National Theater addition (1954) and Otaniemi Chapel (1957); and Aarno
Ruusuvuori’s Hyvinkää Church (1961) and Huutoniemi Church (1964). Less Romantic in
conception than Aalto’s contemporaneous works, these buildings expanded the rationalist
Encyclopedia of 20th-century architecture 872
aspect of modernism while incorporating more expressive spatial exploration with a
richer material vocabulary.
Often, this period in Finnish architectural development is viewed as the quiet, golden
age of the century, a result of Aalto’s code of not discussing his architecture, coupled
with the general preference of a material palette relying on brick and wood. However,
this was not necessarily the norm, and in fact much influence should be accorded the
work and theoretical writings of Aulis Blomstedt. Blomstedt aimed to develop an
objective theory of architecture that was verified through practice, with simplicity,
austerity, and abstraction becoming essentials in his designs. His terrace housing complex
(1954) in Tapiola and Worker’s Institute (1959) in Helsinki are essays in his rigorous
process of thinking and doing, as are a series of abstract graphic and installation pieces
that he did to study proportion. In addition to practicing, Blomstedt was a professor at the
Helsinki University of Technology, and his influence is seen in the works of his
students—Kristian Gullichsen, Juhani Pallasmaa, Erkki Kairamo, and Kirmo Mikkola,
among others—executed during the 1970s and 1980s.
New towns were also a feature of Finnish postwar development, especially around
Helsinki. Because of the city’s growth in the 1950s, a series of planned garden suburban
developments was created. The most famous was Tapiola Garden City, begun in 1952,
which embraced the Finn’s particular enthusiasm for living close to nature. The plan for
Tapiola comprised three neighborhoods grouped around a city center and separated by
green zones. The shopping and administrative center (1961) was designed by Aarne Ervi.
The housing complexes were done by the best of Finland’s architects: Aulis Blomstedt
designed flats (1961), terrace houses (1964), and studio housing (1965); Viljo Revell
executed flats (1958) and a complex of tower blocks (1960); Aarno Ruusuvuori designed
the Weilin and Göös print-ing works (1964) and the parish church (1965); and H. and K.
Siren contributed a complex of terrace houses (1959).
By the late 1960s, Finnish architects were either exploring a more expressive
modernist language or working toward a more rationalist, abstract form of expression.
The first can be seen in the Helsinki City Theater (1967) by Tima Penttilä; the Taivallahti
Church, or famous “church in the rock” (1969), by Timo and Tuomo Suomalainen; the
Sibelius Museum in Turku (1968) by Woldemar Baeckman; and the Kouvola City Hall
(1969) by Saarnio and Leiviskä. The second, influenced by Blomstedt, can be seen in the
more purist architecture of the Villa Relander in Muurame (1966) by Kirmo Mikkola and
Juhani Pallasmaa, the Moduli 225 system of construction (1970) by Kristian Gullichsen
and Pallasmaa, and the Liinasaarentie multifamily housing (1971) and semidetached
housing (1980), both in Espoo, by Erikki Kairamo. Aarno Ruusuvuori’s sauna (1968),
designed for industrial manufacture and commissioned by Marimekko, is a true essay of
architectural purity achieved with the most minimal gestures.
While a duality was established between Aalto and Blomstedt, another
design force emerged in Finland during the late 1950s that appeared to
bridge the two: Reima Pietilä and his architect wife Raili Paatelainen.
Their early work—beginning with the Finnish Pavilion at the 1958
Brussels World’s Fair and including the Kaleva Church (1960) in
Tampere, the “Dipoli” student union (1964) at Otaniemi, and the
Suvikumpu housing (1969) in Tapiola—is both distinctive and
Entries A–F 873
Expressionistic yet rational. Although their work often seems to emerge
from the site, somewhat akin to Aalto’s, there is still a controlled abstract
quality to their architectural conceptions, as Pietilä learned much from
Blomstedt and was influenced by his writings and thinking. After the
critical success of these projects, Pietilä had a decade-long hiatus in his
work and did not receive a significant building project in Finland until the
commission for the Hervanta Community Complex in suburban Tampere
in 1975. Although Hervanta was not of the quality of their earlier work,
the Pietilä’s last works—the Lieksa Church (1982), the Tampere City
Library (1983), and most especially the Finnish President’s Official
Residence (1993)—regain an intense and expressive architectural power.
The Past Quarter-Century
Contemporary Finnish architects carry forward both the rational and the expressive
threads present in the past half-century of architectural production. The best work
combines both threads into a rich experiential architecture that also builds on a deep
understanding of program and site. Architects such as Ruusuvuori, Pallasmaa,
Gullichsen, and Kairamo are joined by Käpy and Simo Paavilainen; Juha Leiviskä; Pekka
Helin and Tuomo Siitonen; Mikko Heikkinen and Markku Komonen; the three-some of
Matti Nurmela, Kari Raimoranta, and Jyrki Tasa; and the group MONARK, among
others, in creating some of the very best work recently done in Finland.
The Olari Church and Parish Center (1981) in Espoo, the new Parish Center (1989) in
Paimio by Käpy and Simo Paavilainen, and the numerous churches by Juha Leiviskä—
the Church of St. Thomas (1975) in Oulu, the Myyrmäki Church and Parrish Center
(1984) in Vantaa, the Kirkkonummi Parish Center (1984), and the Männistö Church
(1992)—are true instruments for manipulating natural light. Leiviskä in particular, whose
churches are organized as series of parallel white planes, creates through a combination
of baroque exuberance and Nordic coolness wonderfully engaging settings for light to
play in. In his other works, as exemplified by the German Embassy (1992) in Helsinki
and the art museum (1988) in Kajanni, Leiviskä demonstrates his mastery of the use of
the wall as the primary organizing element in his architecture.
Juhani Pallasmaa took a breather from architecture for about a decade. He was director
of the Museum of Finnish Architecture for five years and spent much time writing on the
theory and philosophy of architecture and doing graphic design and artistic projects.
When he returned to architecture, his work, as best witnessed in his Rovaniemi Art
Museum (1986) and Finnish Institute (1991) in Paris, extends his earlier rationalism
toward a more considered, thoughtful experiential expressiveness. Like many of his
colleagues, Pallasmaa designs furniture and art objects and does graphic design: however,
more in keeping with Aalto, these endeavors seem to more directly influence his
The work of Arkkitehdit Ky runs a range of expressive techniques, depending on
which of the design principals—Kristian Gullichsen, Erikki Kairamo, or Timo
Encyclopedia of 20th-century architecture 874
Vormala—is in charge of the project. Gullichsen’s work, best seen in his Parish Center
(1983) in Kauniainen and Pieksämäki Cultural Center (1989), is a demonstration of the
concept of “building as wall,” which structures the entire site and overall spatial order.
Kairamo’s work is more “Constructivist” in expression, as demonstrated in his
semidetached houses (1990) in Espoo and the much celebrated Itäkeskus Tower and
Commercial Center (1987) in Helsinki. Vormala’s architecture is more vernacular and
traditional in expression, yet it is grounded in modernism, as seen in the apartment
complex (1980) in Varisto, Ventaa, and the block of flats (1984) in the Näkinpuisto
section of Helsinki. The firm also produced the highly visible and significant extension to
the Stockmann’s department store (1989) in central Helsinki.
The range and scope of work executed by Pekka Helin and Tuomo Siitonen is
impressive for its conceptual strength as well as detail execution. Their UKK Institute for
the Study of Health and Fitness (1983) in Tampere; the Swimming Hall and
Multipurpose Hall (1986) in Hollola; the UNIC Ltd. headquarters (1991) in Helsinki;
their exquisite Sibelius Quarters housing complex (1993) in Boräs, Sweden; and the
North Karelian Provincial Library (1992) in Joensuu, among other works, demonstrate
the diversity of their projects.
A series of very interesting building complexes have been executed by
Matti Nurmela, Kari Raimoranta, and Jyrki Tasa. These include the
Lippajärvi Daycare Center (1983), the Post Office (1984) in Malmi, the
Library (1984) in Kuhmo, and the Commercial Center (1989) in Pori. The
Cultural Center (1989) for Tapiola by Arto Sipinen and the unique Finnish
Pavilion for the 1992 Seville World’s Fair by MONARK are additional
examples of the range of architectural thinking occurring in Finland today.
And then there is the expressive and excellently executed work of Mikko
Heikkinen and Markku Komonen: Their Finnish Science Center
“Heureka” (1988) in Helsinki, the Rovaniemi Airport (1992), and the
Finnish Chancery (1993) in Washington, D.C., all bespeak an elegant
clarity in organization as well as detail quality.
Over the course of the 20th century, Finnish architects have desired to create an
architecture of both place and time. In doing so, they have created a tradition of executing
strong architectural ideas and conceptions and developing them toward a rich and
expressive result. The architecture of 20th-century Finland is not one of overly complex
ideas executed in a simple-minded fashion but, rather, that of substantive concepts that
are worked and elaborated into a palpable, meaningful, and fully experiential