Cubism emerged as the art movement of the new era in the early 20th century. In the early years, the main quest of this movement in painting, the dynamism and the pursuit of expressive plasticity.

In the following years, the movement has spread to other areas such as architecture. The movement was heavily influential between 1910 and 1914 and continued to be built after the First World War. After the war, the movement continues as the “rondo cubism” in Prague. Rondo cubism is about the combination of cubist architecture and round shapes.

Cubism is traditional and avant-garde at the same time and can be asserted as early-modern.

1. House of Black Madonna | Cubism

Architect:  Josef Gočár

It was built in 1912 by Josef Gočár and it houses the only Cubist café in the world called Grand Cafe Orient. In 1912-1914, Vlastislav Hofman built entrance pavilions of Ďáblice cemetery. The architect employed the characteristic Cubism idiom mainly on the entrance portal, dormer windows, and the staircase balustrade; the illusive painting of the interior walls with the geometric design was equally compelling.

2. Palace of the Assembly

Architect:  Le Corbusier

Le Corbusier’s Palace of Assembly project is an example of how architecture emphasizes the relationship that cubism builds with the surface. It is seen that the diversity of the mass created by the gap and the surfaces created by the perspective are rich.

3. Steinberg, Herrmann & Co. Hat Factory

Architect:  Erich Mendelson

Luckenwalde town, where Steinberg, Herrmann & Co. Hat Factory located, is a critical region with hat manufacturing. Mendelson’s design approach is co-existing functional production and aesthetics of every detail. The eye-catching hat of dye works was demolished in the 1930s. Between 2006 and 2011, it was restored and still known as Mendelssohn Hall.

4. The church of San Francesco dAssisi al Fopponino

Architect:  Gio Ponti

The building provides a public space to the dense part of the city with the square it creates. The façade consists of diamond-shaped cavities that open between them in their massive stance. Thin, vertical slits create a dramatic pattern of light and shadow across the entire interior elevation.

5. Cooperative Houses | Cubism

Architect:  Otakar Novotny

Built after World War I as a residential block, the Cooperative Houses have a frisky geometrical façade. It was built as the ‘second wave’ of cubism and one of the critical examples from Bohemia. It differs from Czech Cubism due to the colorful detailed facade.

6. Kovarovic Villa

Architect:  Josef Chochol

Inspired by Picasso and Braque, here is another residential project by architect Josef Chochol, Kovarovic Villa. On the façade, it carries the characteristics of cubism with the composition of the basic geometric forms created by light and shadow. The effects of cubism can be seen not only on the façade but also on the layout of the garden and the flowerbeds, even on the fences or steps of the house.

7. Hodek Apartment Building

Architect:  Josef Chochol

The façade of the apartment block, built-in 1913-14, reminds us of a folded origami paper. This effect is especially visible in strong sunlight and creates different dynamic effects at different times of the day. Again, on the facade of the Hodek Apartment, there are forms that recall a diamond form under the window openings, on the cantilevered roof details.

8. Lamppost in Jungmann Square

Architect:   Emil KrÁlÍČeks

In 1913, Emil Kralicek, who was renovating the Jungmann square, designed street lamps for the square. The Street Lamp is a repetition of a triangular prism. This lamp is an indication that cubism is not only on the scale of multi-storey structure but also affects the aesthetic understanding of the period, even to the design of furniture, etc. The Street Lamp is located between these two scales.

9. Krystal Ceramic Box

Architect:  Pavel Janak

Pavel Janak is one of the Cubist architects who worked from urban planning to furniture design scale. This ceramic box designed by Janak is an example of the folded paper seen on cubist facades and the use of the cubist diamond shape on different furniture scales.

10. Legio Bank Building | Cubism

Architect:  Josef Gočár

Legio Bank Building is designed by Josef Gocar and built-in 1921-23. The building is a prime example of Rondo cubism in Prague. Circular geometries now become an important part of the composition. Circular shapes are seen in the ornamentation on the façade or on wooden doors and walls. The roof structure also has 3 circular-shaped axis which strongly affects the atriums atmosphere.

 

Author

Şengül Has is an architect from Istanbul, Turkey. Alternative practices that require looking at architecture from unusual aspects are of high interest to her. She has degrees from competitions and she continues her researches on relations of architecture and media.

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