Modern architecture is the movement that emphasizes the nature of the form of buildings as well as its structure and material components. As part of the modern architecture principles, it studies geometries, and it creates a unique language in design which analyses the efficiency and use of space. The desire for analysis form and its relationship with function allowed architects to incorporate innovative materials as reinforced concrete, glass, and steel. Moreover, unlike other architecture movements, such as Baroque, modern architecture leaves aside the ornament as one of the fundamental elements’ spatial composition.

Therefore, experimentation was the key to architectural practice. Its innovation was based on the redefinitions of techniques on how spatial design could adapt to the human’s routine. Some influential architects of modern architecture movements were Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Richard Neutra, Philip Johnson, and others. For instance, the emerging architectural ideas from the late 1800s to 1940s resulted from a transforming era, in which socioeconomic and political concepts were revolutionized. All the contextual implications influence how the arts were the expression. As a result, it initiated an architectural movement that was highly encouraged by the industrial revolution and looked for cultural transformation. 

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Form rather than ornaments ©Divisare

The question now is: What influenced modern architecture in the first place?  

The industrial revolution inspired one of the fascinations of modern architecture. The technological advances encouraged artists to illustrate ideas in a different way of scepticism; the machine proposed a new alternative to express innovative forms and a transformative theory of aesthetics in arts.  The modern expression in architecture examined the motion leading factor of architectural design, which was reinforced with a software generation, such as 3-D animation software, Maya, Rhino, and 3D Studio Max. Moreover, in modern architecture, there were two types of methods to include motion in modern architecture. The first one consists of the superposition, and the second one consisted of the procession. The meaning behind the techniques relates to how architecture is a static element that interactions with the occupants. For that reason, by using a sequential composition, it could create an equal equilibrium of space and a dynamic architectural prototype. Applying motion techniques in architecture highlights visual qualities, and it introduces the concept of architectural space combined with technology and appreciation of time. The idea of incorporating technologies into architecture is the different design approach to how monumentality could be reinforced, and it is a distinctive representation of simulate of movement.   

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Industrial Revolution ©Foundation for Economic Education

The desire to represent motion in architecture was a structural experiment which looked to achieve the dream of motion. One of the pioneers representing the unconventional architecture forms was Vladimir Tatli with the Monument to the Third International or better known as Tatlin’s Tower in 1919. The tower that Tlatlin designed is a symbol of modernity because it responds to the concept of kinetic structure, which merged the nature of the pyramid, cylinder, and cube. In addition, the representation of Tatlin’s creates a new dialogue between experimental architecture and the technological advances at that moment. Simultaneously, by Tatlin’s representing the original impulses of architecture, he materialized how architecture evolved, and his intervention meant the idea of architecture in motion through sculptural structures. Consequently, artists, painters, and especially architects started to adapt the draftsmanship aspects and theoretical backgrounds to creates a new form of expression is in the modern era or Machine Age. 

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Tatlin’s Tower ©Alamy

After the industrial revolution, designers were focused on systems and efficacy through machines. As a result, architecture retook these concepts and applied it to modernist structures.

When all the transforming ideas blend with the new architectural theories, the phrase ‘form follows function’ comes into place. At that moment, architects started to focus on how architecture could serve its occupants, which refers to the social interaction and interior environment. Therefore, some design principles focused on how the intervention could create anti-historicism, social progress, and social values.  For example, social housing was one of the most evolved concepts in the architectural scale because it was adapted to modern living society at the architectural scale—one of the architects who worked on current housing and architecture as a machine was Le Corbusier. By creating design principles, it contributed to the architectural systems for human well-being. One of the most prominent attempts to establish the spatial qualities was the concept of the modern house by Le Corbusier. Analyzing the idea about modern housing, le Corbusier suggests the machinic aesthetics structures which depend on functionality. Furthermore, in a manner, his design standards merge rational thinking and scientific backgrounds into modern architecture’s performance. In the field, machines didn’t only inspire architecture as a machine but also influenced how architecture could capture motion. One of the professionals in modern architecture was Frank Gehry; he is the one who sculpted architecture to create movement on static structures and influenced modernist architecture. The architects attempt to capture the moment by applying the chaos-theory physicist. Some of the exemplary examples of “the frozen motion” are Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Walt Disney Concert Hall, and Luis Vuitton foundation.  Finally, both ideas, Taitlin’s Tower and Le Corbusier’s statement of “The house is a machine of living,” are examples of how machines influenced modern architecture and how the demonstrated the essence of the machines’ motion. The architectural movements were a consequence of the transforming social concepts of the early twentieth century.  

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Architecture: Captivating Motion ©Refik Anadol

Modern architecture restructures the methods used in society, tries to canalize social-economical-political problems, and it offers a new theory on how to design architecture.  Creating a new language in architecture innovated the spatial design to address the purpose of environments and its relationship with human well-being.

Modern architecture represents complexity over simplicity and creates a system in which architecture is compared to a machine’s idea and creates a metaphorical language that understands social aspects of the era.


Andreina Sojo comes from Caracas, Venezuela. Seeking for higher education, Andreina studied in Broward College, Florida, and Seville, Spain as a recipient of the William E. Green Scholarship. Andreina graduated with honors, and she transferred to the University of Florida to complete her Bachelor's in Architecture and Minor in Landscape Architecture.