An art movement is always guided by a specific philosophy or goal. They develop as a correspondence to ongoing situations, often questioning the status quo. These movements help us understand the history better.

Architecture Movements have been a byproduct of the art movements.

Let’s look into 11 major Art and Architecture Movements in the world.

1. Classic, between 7th and 4th century BC

Ancient Greece witnessed emergence of Classical Architecture. Principles of order, symmetry, geometry and perspective were central to the movement. The era is best known for its large religious temples, built in stone. Doric, Ionic and Corinthian orders were prominently observed in the important architectural structures of the time. Human scale played an important part in deriving proportions for the structures.

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Image Sources: The Parthenon ruins, Acropolis of Athens, Greece ©Kristoffer Trolle

2. Gothic, between 900 and1300 century AD

Gothic Architecture was a structurally and aesthetically integrated system. Pointed arch was an engineering innovation that further led to development of ribbed vault, flying buttresses and window tracery. Gothic originated as ecclesiastical but later was adopted for building town houses, commercial premises and civic buildings.

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Image Sources: Reims Cathedral ©Atout France

3. Baroque, 16th century

Prominent features of Baroque Architecture are broad naves, unfinished elements, lighting and ornate finishing. Baroque Architecture was used to signify wealth and power of the Catholic Church. European colonialism and Baroque architecture emerged parallel. Colonial money allowed for industrialization, thereby leading to construction of Baroque palaces and monarchies by powerful people.

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Image Sources: Saint Peter’s Basilica ©Petersdom Von Engelsburg Gesehen

4. Neoclassical, 18th century

Neoclassical architecture is characterized by grandeur of scale. Neoclassicism was inspired from art and culture of classical antiquity. Neoclassicism first gained influence in England and France.  Neoclassicism was influenced from Greek and Roman style geometric lines and order.

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Image Sources: The Pantheon ©Philippe

5. Beaux-Arts, emerged during mid-1830’s

Beaux-Arts drew upon the principles of French neoclassicism, but also incorporated Gothic and Renaissance elements. It used modern materials, such as iron and glass. It remained an important style until 19th century.

It can be characterized with sculptural decoration along conservative modern lines, slightly over scaled details, bold sculptural supporting consoles, rich deep cornices and swags.

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Image Sources: The Grand Palais ©Hemis

6. Art Nouveau

Art Nouveau is known for its distinguishing ornamental characteristics, often taking the form of flower stalks, buds, vines, insect wings, and other delicate natural objects.

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Image Sources: Casa Batlló ©Luciano Mortula

7. Art Deco, emerged right before World War I

Art Deco movement represented modernism turned into fashion. It progressed with an intention to create a sleek, anti-traditional elegance as a symbol of wealth and sophistication. It went out of fashion after World War II. But even today, Art Deco continues to find its place in product and interior design.

Art Nouveau, Bauhaus and cubism were influential in the development of Art Deco.

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Image Sources: Palais de Chaillot ©CAPA-Nicolas Borel

8. Bauhaus, emerged at the beginning 20th century

Bauhaus movement was influenced by Art Nouveau. The movement championed in geometric, abstract styles. Rigid angles of glass, masonry and steel were typical features of Bauhaus style of architecture. The aesthetics favored function and mass production; and avoided hint at any class structure or hierarchy.

One can find influence of aesthetics from the movement in the works of many architects, designers and artists, even today.

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Image Sources: Bauhaus building in Dessau ©Tadashi Okochi

9. Modern, emerged in the first half of 20th century

Modernism is an optimistic utopia. It reimagines how humans would live, work and interact. Simplified geometry and a lack of ornamentation are key aspects of a modernist architecture. Modernism was a step ahead of Bauhas.

Philip Johnson and Henry Russell Hitchcock staged ‘Modern Architecture: International Exhibition’ that bought attention to the emerging architectural style. A year later, Congres Internationaux d’Architecture Moderne (CIAM) published the Athens Charter, which revolutionized urban planning philosophies. Both events paved way for Modernism, as we know today. Though modernism was a utopian idea around the world, it was adaptable to any “progressive” ideology.

Le Corbusier played a significant role in delivering the concept of modernism. Even today, architectural and planning discourse is dominated by Modernism.

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Image Sources: Villa Savoye ©Valueyou

10. Postmodern, 1929 to late 1970’s

Postmodernism was a reaction against the ideas and values of modernism. It was based on skepticism and a suspicion of reason. It embraced complexity and layers of meanings, often in irony. It advocated individual experience and interpretation of one’s experience over idealism and reason. It introduces a new era of freedom and breaks the established rules about style. It is often confrontational and controversial.

Jacques Lacan, a prominent French psychoanalyst and theorist was influential in the development of postmodernism.

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Image Sources: AT&T Building designed by Philip Johnson ©David Shankbone

11. Deconstructivism, emerged in 1980’s

French philosopher Jacques Derrida developed a form of semiotic analysis known as deconstruction, which influenced the rise of the movement Deconstructivism. The movement stands for not following ‘rules. It symbolizes a rebellion against the social dilemma.

It was a medley of Russian constructivism and Modernism with a pinch of Post-modernism, expressionism and Cubism. Although it was not an established movement then, Philip Johnson and Mark Wingley saw similarities amongst Zaha Hadid, Peter Eisenman, Daniel Libeskind, and many other’s approach to design and combined them under one roof, MOMA 1988 Deconstructivist Architecture Exhibition.

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Image Sources: Seattle Central Library designed by Rem Koolhaas ©DVD R W

These movements are part and parcel of the cumulative history. Each one had an important role to play. Each one had an idea to portray. They are called movements because they emerged with an intention to challenge the status quo.

Forum Shah
Author

Forum Shah swims on waters of Architecture, Art & Cities post her job-ly routine of working as an architect. She is currently pursuing her master’s in Urban Design from CEPT University. Often, she will be smilingly looking at you speak while fantasizing about Parisian cafes, Italian pizzas, and some red wine.

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