10 Best Architecture Books: Modernism
Avant-garde designs and modernism in world architecture. Fill your library with the best books about architects and photographs of beautiful modernist designs from 1890 - 1965.
Classic modernist thinkers
The dawn of modernism in architecture
Modernism was first known as "avant-garde" or simply "modern art" which was created in Europe and the Soviet republics in the last part of the 19th century. The movement started in literature and science in the 1870s and soon the impact of these ideas carried into the visual arts and architecture to be exported to other parts of the world.
The first evidence of the modern movement in architecture can be seen at the beginning of the 20th century. Succeeding generations and cultures have advanced the style with modern technology and materials. The final validation of modernism comes when a variety of post-modern styles were developed in reaction to the tenants of pure modernist architecture.
Model of Vladimir Taltlin's Tower, 1919 via Wikimedia Commons
The style also had a major impact in other countries around the world. South America has a long tradition of modernist architecture, the best example being the new capital city of Brasília designed by one of the last remaining communists in the world: Oscar Niemeyer (celebrating his 103 birthday in 2011).
Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier, Richard Neutra and Philip Johnson are the top architects associated with the modernist movement practicing in the United States after World War II. These are the best architecture books to reveal the genius of these architects and this original style of design that still has a major influence on the current generation of architects and contemporary building design.
Modern Architecture from Phaidon Press
Third revised edition with 650 photos; this is a standard reference book for modernism
Phaedon always publishes the best quality architecture books (and also Rizzoli Bookstore)
The beginnings: Avant-garde and "Modern Art"
roots of modernism in architecture
Origins of modern architecture
Start at the beginning
|Before the Bauhaus: Architecture, Politics, and the German State, 1...|
Cambridge University Press
|International Style: Modernist Architecture from 1925 to 1965 (Worl...|
|Lost Vanguard: Russian Modernist Architecture 1922-1932|
The Monacelli Press
International style architecture
1932 MoMA International Exhibition of Modern Architecture NYC
Architects of modernism
Architects associated with the modern movement are the giants of architecure in the 20th century, the designers who came out from the obscurity of anonymous architects to become household names in the years after World War II. Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier and Richard Neutra came to the United States and turned the country into their showplace for design ideas they developed in Europe. Later, I. M. Pei designed the East Wing of the National Gallery in Washington D.C. and Philip Johnson redefined residential architecture with his iconic Glass House.
Glass House by Philip Johnson in New Canaan, CT, USA. Photo by Staib via Wikimedia Commons
|A Modernist Museum in Perspective: The East Building, National Gall...|
NGW-Stud Hist Art
|Philip Johnson: The Constancy of Change (Yale University School of ...|
Yale University Press
|Walter Gropius, 1883-1969: The Promoter of a New Form (Taschen Basi...|
|The Pan Am Building and the Shattering of the Modernist Dream|
The MIT Press
|Richard Neutra: And The Search for Modern Architecture|
|Modernist Paradise: Niemeyer House, Boyd Collection|
Rudolf Schindler's Lovell Beach House, Newport Beach, Orange County, California
Photo from the Historic American Building Survey via Wikimedia Commons
Simplification of form and subtraction of ornament
Modernism grows and flourishes
Modern architecture around the world
Modernist architecture found fertile ground for development in countries around the world. Towns in arid climates seem well suited to the unadorned surfaces and simplicity of this type of building. Second generation architects re-interpreted the initial modernist design principals while academics argued about the definition of modernism as it grew out of avant-garde beginnings.
The city of Haifa, Isreal is an isolated oasis of modernism, set in the desert along the Mediterranean coast. Los Angeles, California is another community where the development of modernist architecture blossomed after the Second World War.
Entire cities were also created "out of thin air" in the midst of the desert for the town of Chandigarh on the continent of India by well-known modernist architect, Le Corbusier. Japan has been a testing ground for new ideas about modernism and post-modern architecture. Scandinavia also has a long history of elegant modern design in architecture and many other design fields such as interior design and furniture.