Thursday, April 26, 2012

US 3: Explorations; from within

(In this unit we pushed to create a name/style for ourselves and that is what the photo represents)

      The final unit embraced the idea of exploring the world, but through the trade and other movements we as Americans realized that we lacked a defining style.  We began our unit with the extravagant world's fair that was the first industrial showcase for entrepreneurs and innovators.  The first fair was in Paris and it showcased everything from food to trees.  An exhibition building is built each time the fair is coming, but it is not a permanent building, it will later be knocked down within a few years.  Since the world was now in an industrial state one of the main attractions was the new materials that were being manufactured.  As the fair informed the public of the new materials many people became consumed in the idea of the industrial world except one group of pure craft lovers.  The arts and crafts movement was full of craftsmen who felt like manufactured products were not as carefully crafted.  As time passed many of the anti-industrialists movements had passed, but their belief in substance over surface is still a contributing factor in design today.  As many movements began to flourish the realization that America still lacked an original architectectural style began to weigh heavily on the minds of the people.  
      We were still a very undefined country and the hunt for our style had all types of designers and architects in a frenzy to establish a portion of it.  The big cities of Chicago and New York were some of the focal areas and with there not being much room in these cities and with the cost of land; we decided the best solution would be to build up.  This great idea began the race for skyscrapers and through the world's fair a new object had been created, the elevator.  We now had the ability to build as high as physics would allow us to.  We had created a signature style for the big cities, but one man wanted to establish a style for the people.  Frank Lloyd Wright began to create neighborhoods in Chicago and later branched off to different states and did smaller projects there.  His homes still stand all over the country capturing the homes of the everyday Americans and later he began to show America what the world had to offer in the home market.  However, we still felt as if America had not caught up with the European’s glorious architecture and a new rebellious genre of architecture was formed.  If the belief is that the Renaissance is thinking in the box and Baroque is thinking outside the box then modernism would be like lighting the entire box on fire and creating something with the ashes.  
      Corbusier and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe dominated the different types of modernism, but a key concept that will always encompass this genre is commodity, firmness, and delight.  People were designing in such an abstract manner that they no longer cared about the functionality of the building, beauty was the main priority.  We were being selfish and with that it made us come back to grounds with what our style really was.  However, even at the end of this unit we have realized that the modernism movement is still in full gear and we still face the same issue of functionality that the designers did at that time as well.  Today we take commodity, firmness, and delight in mind as a priority, because we realized all the harm we were causing to the world so since then we have just become more cautious.

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