Friday, April 29, 2011


The Sea Ranch Condominiums express how in this section all styles of design and architecture are simply trying to find their own balance between form and function in search of 'modern'.

Explorations brings together the entire world to showcase what each country and culture has to offer as history marched forward into the next century.  New ways of thinking and styles of doing make everyone question:  What is the correct way?

With the worlds fairs booming around the end of the 19th century and the first part of the 20th century many new ideas and innovations helped drive the contemporary in both technology and design.  These fairs and expositions were funded through both government and big business means.  The race for best showcase brought forth many new products, educational tools, entertainment methods, transportation forms, food, and ways of thinking.  In a personal contrast I would call this the Internet of yesteryear.  Some of the major worlds fairs took place in Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Paris, and London.  With 262 worlds fairs in total every country has had the opportunity to leap forward in the global society.

Some new design theories and forms of thinking came about from these interactions.  Arts & crafts (whether they be hand made or by machine) was an American hark back to the old ways of design.  Classical revival says exactly what its purpose was, to renew the old from the old world, as does Medieval revival.  Other forms such as the English free architecture movement focus on the aesthetic of movement.

After the worlds fairs started to dwindle there was a major search for 'modern'.  Post impressionism, fauvism & cubism, expressionism & futurism, destijl, art nouveau, and art deco, modernism/international style, and brutalism to name a few of the styles which battled each other during the 20th century.  Some of the major contenders in this fight were Cezanne, Duchamp, Gaudi, Picasso, Braque, Horta, Van de velde, Wagner, Olbricht, Hoffman, Eliel Saarinen, William van alen, Shreve, Lamb, Hood, Mies van de Rohe, Fellheimer, Loos, Corbusier, and Wright.  The multiple 'modern' views we see pinnacle with the modernism and international style which brought out many obscure and non user friendly rules.  The people will conform to the building instead of making the building purposeful in a useful sense; aesthetics above function.

Whilst these arguments were traversing each other there was a major movement for interior spaces and how they should be designed.  A few of the important early interior designers were Elsie de Wolfe, Syrie Maugham, Rose Cummings, Dorothy Draper, Eleanor McMillen Brown, Jean-michelle Frank, Ogden Codman Jr., Rex Whistler, T.H. Robsjohn-Gibbons, Billy Baldwin, and David Hicks.

In reflection we looked at how technology, history, and locality played in certain structures.  With technology we see advanced ways to support structures or how to celebrate the way things are made: Wexner center, Hong Kong and Shanghai bank, & lloyd's of London.  Historic implications help to preserve or reinforce history laiden areas: Monticello, louve pyramid, & starwood residence.  The locality of a place can change not only how it looks, but how it functions: Sea ranch condominiums, Vanna Venturi house, & atheneum.

What forms of the contemporary will we deal with in the future?  It seems that next step is up to our generation to discover.

Photo Credit: (, 

No comments:

Post a Comment