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Architecture of the 1920s

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ARCHITECTURE IN THE TWENTIES



For the United States the Twenties was a time to flourish and enjoy the common wealth, but unlike everything else, architecture was in a creative slump. many artists were having difficulty in depicting a "style" for the new era. Many new technological advances were occuring through the steel industry and the discovery of glass. The architects of this period wanted to incorporate those advances in their designs, thus bringing forth an experimental period. With architects from different backgrounds and cultures working to produce a masterpiece the International Style was created.

The International Style was the most common and wide-spread type of architecture found in the twenties. This style dominated architecture until about 1950. Buildings of this time were characterized as having "...geometric shapes, white walls , and a flat roof with a garden," ("Architecture ". World Book CD-ROM). They were constructed of reinforced concrete (concrete with embedded metal rods to add strength). Typical buildings had large windows, which created a light, airy feeling and the exterior had little or no ornamentation. ("Architecture". World Book CD-ROM). Architects were able to acheive the light airy feeling found in the buildings because of the new inventions of industrial materials and the technical advances.

The 1920's brought forth many new technological advances. Builders could now use steel, iron, and glass. Alloys, or blended metals, were discovered and produced, and the elevator was invented. These new materials had great and long lasting influences on modern architecture and are still used today. Architects were able to use steel beams to reinforce concrete, allowing them to build taller structures, known as skyscrappers. Elevators were installed to replace stairs. A gradual modernization of technical systems took place. Plumbing and heating/cooling systems were improved and the use of electricity became more popular. ("Architecture". Grolier CD-ROM). For the architects of the 1920's "climate could be disregarded, for mechanical heating and cooling devices make a building independent of its region...". (Hamlin, 633) Because of these new advances architects were able to experiment with options they were never given before.

Despite the difficulties and dry periods the archtects experienced in the twenties, a new style was born. The International Style dominated the field for many years. New technological advances such as glass, air conditionioning, and the elevator were incorporated into the design and structure of buildings, giving them a new look. The Twenties were a difficult period for architects, but they managed to find survival in an international way.

"Architecture." Groler Encyclopedia, CD-ROM. Grolier Electronic Publishing INC., 1995.

"Architecture". World Book Multimedia Encyclopedia, CD-ROM. World Book Inc. Chicago, IL., 1995.

Hamlin, Talbot. Architecture Through the Ages.. New York: Putnam, 1953.

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