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September 27, 2016

Architecture from The Bauhaus to Deconstructivism

Bauhaus building in Dessau 2003, Copyright Wikipedia

At the end of World War I, a cultural relaxation in Germany led to a radical experimentation in the arts and architecture.  The left wing in the arts were affected by Russian Constructivism…. “art as a practice for social purposes.”  Walter Gropius founded a school of the arts in Weimar where all the arts would be brought together as a total.  (1)

Zuev Workers' Club, 1928.  A. V. Shchusev State Research Museum of Architecture; Moscow.
Unlike the Russian politicalizing of the arts, Gropius stated that the Bauhaus was totally apolitical.  “The design innovations commonly associated with Gropius and the Bauhaus—the radically simplified forms, the rationality and functionality, and the idea that mass-production was reconcilable with the individual artistic spirit”….were begun in 1907 to influence mass production. (2)  Later the Bauhaus teachings influenced everything from type fonts to fabrics as well as architecture.

AEG Turbine Factory, Peter Behrens, 2008, Photo: Doris Antony, Berlin - put it under the GFDL and CC-BY-SA-3.0

While the Bauhaus style was becoming, “one of the most influential currents in modern design, and Modernist and architectural education,”(1) Hitler was rising to power.  The school was closed by its leaders in 1933 after pressure by the Nazis.  Most of the instructors fled overseas and continued to spread the Bauhaus theories of design world wide.

After World War II, Bauhaus Modernism evolved into what we call now, the International Style.  This “major architectural style…emerged in the 1920s and 1930s, …defined by Americans Henry-Russell Hitchcock and Philip Johnson in 1932.” (3)  The was emphasis more on architectural style, form and aesthetics than the social aspects of the modern movement in Europe.”(3)


The Barcelona Pavilion, photographed By Ashley Pomeroy at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0,

The International Style was known for its common characteristics of “i. rectilinear forms; ii. light, taut plane surfaces that have been completely stripped of applied ornamentation and decoration; iii. open interior spaces; iv. a visually weightless quality engendered by the use of cantilever construction. Glass and steel, in combination with usually less visible reinforced concrete, are the characteristic materials of the construction. (3)


Seagram Building, New York, 

Brutalism grew out of the international style.  It’s a heavy adaptation of this earlier movement, and “flourished from the 1950s to the mid-1970s. …The term originates from the French word for "raw" …used by Le Corbusier to describe his choice of material béton brut (raw concrete.” (4)  In the 1980’s, institutional architects eagerly moved to Brutalism, and in many cities today we find these bulky buildings representing safety and security in the minds of the average citizen.


The Hubert Humphrey Building designed by Breuer, Photographed By 'Matthew G. Bisanz, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Growing out of the International style and Postmodernist architecture, Deconstructivism… began in the late 1950s.  It is influenced by the theory of "Deconstruction", which is a form of semioticanalysis. It is characterized by fragmentation, an interest in manipulating a structure's surface, skin, non-rectilinear shapes which appear to distort and dislocate elements of architecture, such as structure and envelope. The finished visual appearance of buildings that exhibit deconstructivist "styles" is characterized by unpredictability and controlled chaos. (5)

East face of the Imperial War Museum North by the Salford Quays.  This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.

Previous Articles in this Abbreviation on Western Architecture:


September 26, 2016

Dozin' The Day Away

Often I get earaches from dust.  One of those started four days ago.  Suffice me to say, it grew and I slept all morning today.  Probably more later.  G is working hard on someone else’s work.  They resigned.  Every once in a while he checks on me and goes back to work. 

We did stir up a lot of dust yesterday.  All but a few things are cleaned and organized on G’s side of the office.  I have a pile of magazines and family pictures to scan on mine.  Everything else is done on my side too.  He admits it needed doing.  Boy do I agree.

We have a mail area, we have a file system, we have tax storage too.  The office itself is decluttered.  Now I am moving on to email filing decluttering…what ever that means.  I know I can do this while I blow my nose.    Decluttering is the key to all of this, says the guru.  Documents folder and download history…empty out.  Deleting emails and attachments you have already saved to your hard drive.  I can do this.  Sent folder.  I get the idea.

Photo and Video files too.  Oh, that’s almost as frightening as clearing out the unused fabrics….mountains of table cloths, napkins, and that sort of thing left over from the antique shop years.  They suggest 15 minutes.  So that’s what I will do. 

The rest of the day, you can find me napping.


  • Himself:  Got several hours of overtime while covering for the dear departed employee.  He’s off to meet with John tonight.
  • Herself:  Read, doze, drink lots of water.  Put together a meat loaf.  I can do this.  I need to schedule time to read my “Poets and Writers” magazine.
  • 52 Week House Reorganization:  Email and other electronic stuff.
  • Reading:  Catch by Mayor.
  • Gratitudes:  That it’s only 90 something outside.

  • September 24, 2016

    Hot Stuff

    Sahara, my middle granddaughter tells me that I need to use Thumb Drives to save stuff.  I think somewhere here there are floppy discs, and there certainly are Zip Discs in the bookcases too.  For many years I’ve been saving to CD, and now that technology is outta here also. 

    Not only am I hot after a wonderful day struggling to sew, thanks to the change in the weather I feel like I am a roasted Mage as I learn to save to my thumb drives from two hard drives.  Hot stuff indeed.

  • Himself:  They don’t make switches that can be turned from TV to computer and back.  He was dissapointed, but he crawled around on the floor and got my backup computer into the network again.  Busy day at the museum with the Smithsonian crowds.

  • Herself:  At least today I can visualize what goes where in the quilt.  I could sew straight seams too, but I could not remember that fabric sides went together.  After taking everything apart for the 4th time, I went back to my book.

  • 52 Week House Reorganization:  Moving into “Office organization.”  Oh my.

  • Reading:  Just finished Chat by Major.

  • Gratitudes:  That I have a sewing machine.  That I know what a Hard Drive is.  LOL