International Style Architecture, What is International Style Architecture

International Style Architecture speaks to what is International Style Architecture and define International Style architecture. 

It has been popular in North America and especially Canada from the 1940s to the present and is most easily recognized by its use of a module, usually a square or rectangle that forms the basis of a building design. Hard, angular edges, severely plain surfaces and large expanses of glass express a structural system based on a skeleton of steel or reinforced concrete.

At its best, it is a subtle style relying for its beauty upon harmonious proportions and beautiful finished materials and at its worst it is repetitious and cheap looking. This was the style being used almost exclusively by the commercial sector in the second half of the twentieth century. It was less often used in domestic design, but where it is found, the framing system may be a traditional wood one. However, the flat roof, cube-like or rectangular massing, large, horizontally arranged windows and lack of applied decoration maintain the severe functional qualities of the style.

The Modern style was popularized and named International Style Architecture by Henry Russel Hitchcock and Philip Johnson through their catalogue for an exhibition of new work by contemporary architects at he Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1932 which was titled “The International Style: Architecture Since 1922”.

Centres of modern design, most noted the Bauhaus in Germany, sought a new way of building that was independent of historical styles and reflected the new steel and reinforced concrete construction methods. New construction methods, they argued demanded a new aesthetic. These systems allowed supports to be widely spaced and distributed throughout a structure, so that the exterior walls no longer bore the load of the building. They became curtains that could if desired be constructed almost entirely of glass.

When leaders of this movement, such as Walter Gropius (1883 to 1969) and Mies Van der Rohe (1886 to 1969 fled Germany in the 1930s they brought the style to Britain and North America.

There were examples of International style buildings constructed in Canada as early as the 1930s it was not until after the Second World War the style took hold in North America. The prosperity of the 1950s and 1960s led to a building boom that transformed Canadian cities, giving them many large commercial complexes in this style.

Certain architect designed homes also reflected the reductionism of the International style, in their openly expressed grid like framing, unadorned wall curtains, and ope, flexible interior plans. Variations on the rectangular grid included the use of other pure geometric forms such as the circle and the parabola.

As defined by “Wikipedia” architecture is defined as:

"Architecture" can mean:

A general term to describe buildings and other physical structures.

The art and science of design and erecting buildings and other physical structures.

The style and method of design and construction of buildings and other physical structures.

The practice of the architect, where architecture means the offering or rendering of professional services in connection with the design and construction of buildings, or built environments.

The design activity of the architect, from the macro-level (urban design, landscape architecture) (to the micro-level (construction details and furniture).

The term "architecture" has been adopted to describe the activity of designing any kind of system, and is commonly used in describing information technology.

In relation to buildings, architecture has to do with the planning, designing and constructing form, space and ambience that reflect functional, technical, social, environmental, and aesthetic considerations. It requires the creative manipulation and coordination of material, technology, light and shadow. Architecture also encompasses the pragmatic aspects of realizing buildings and structures, including scheduling, cost estimating and construction administration. As documentation produced by architects, typically drawings, plans and technical specifications, architecture defines the structure and/or behaviour of a building or any other kind of system that is to be or has been constructed.

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