Art has always been used by mankind for expressing emotions, ideas, and thoughts through various means available to us. It is notoriously known for its powers of educating people about the current environment or completely creating a new world for the viewer’s fascination as per the artist’s desire. Modern art emerged approximately in the period 1870- 1970 as a revolution by the artists of that era which challenged the traditional practices and ideas of art. Many modernists were keen on examining and evaluating their traditions to experiment with new ideas, forms- shapes, colors, and lines that make up an art piece. The effects of this wave of experimentation can still be felt by the whole architecture community who was heavily influenced by many art movements.
This international style, which was most popular between 1890-1910, was a reaction against traditional art practices of the 19th century after the Industrial Revolution. This style heavily featured elements of nature but in stylized forms. Inspired by the colorful and lifelike works of the artist involved in this movement, many buildings emerged which reflected this decorative style. Rather than strict adherence to straight lines, natural forms, curvy structures depicting dynamism, asymmetry, and depicting a story with the use of modern materials are symbolic of this style. The idea of romanticizing the surfaces of buildings, adding a flare of unusual designs to create a sense of fantasy was brought forth by this movement and paved the way for many artistic works of future architects.
Cubism is a multi-faceted and far-reaching art movement pioneered by artist Pablo Picasso that revolutionized the architecture that we see today. Reducing any form, human, animal, or places to simple geometric shapes – cubes was the basic idea behind this movement. The concepts of visualization of any form in multiple dimensions, spatial recognition, and repetition of elements were adopted from this movement into architecture and help shape the cities that we see today. Rather than being a single entity, designers began to see architecture as combinations of multiple pieces. Cubism influenced many designs in the early 20th century like the House of the Black Madonna in Prague, Mendelsohn factory in Germany, and Le Corbusier’s Assembly Building in Chandigarh which can be seen today. Though it emerged almost a decade ago, traces of cubism can still be found in contemporary architecture we see today with its geometric forms, facades offering amazing views from different perspectives and sharp margins.
Stripping art down to its primal elements to signify purity or simplicity was the foundation of minimalism that emerged in the early 20th century. As opposed to the art style of imbibing and imitating elements seen in the world, minimalistic art presents its own identity and makes the viewer communicate with it. It maintains its clarity, no deeper emotions are involved, perception is the only thing important here. Inspired by this, many architects translated this idea into architecture and many buildings emerged with distinctive features like – simple geometric forms, monochromatic color schemes, and lack of ornamentation or detailed pieces. Works of minimalists like the Barcelona Pavilion by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the Rural house by Rafael Aranda, the Glasshouse by Philip Johnson are some of the iconic structures having these features are enjoyed by people today.
De Stijl, a Dutch artistic movement translating to ‘The Style’ (also known as Neoplasticism) became popular among the people of the Netherlands in the early 20th Century. The movement adopts the abstract style of composing asymmetrical art with the help of straight lines, rectangles and squares of various sizes, and strong primary colors with black and white. These features translated very well in architecture as seen in The Rietveld Schröder House in Utrecht and Café l’Aubette Strasbourg. This movement had a major influence on the Bauhaus movement in Germany which was designed to optimize efficiency in design and to commercialize art which changed the face of the architectural industry.
Emerging after the First World War, this sleek style embraced grandeur and opulence with bold shapes, jagged lines, and broad curves that defined that era of the world. One of the major factors for the imbibing of this style in architecture was the introduction of new materials, especially reinforced concrete. Exemplary buildings influenced by this style like the Empire State Building, The Chrysler Building, and Palais de Tokyo were designed to be eye-catching and give a sense of luxury. Besides these, Art deco style still lives today and clear influence can be seen in recent architecture like the Parkview Square in Singapore and the Williams Tower (also known as the Transco Tower).