30 Of The Most Stunning Examples Of Modernist Architecture Admired On This Online GroupInterview
From stunningly gorgeous and utopian to cold and soulless, there are probably as many opinions about modernist buildings as there are people in the world. In the eternal discussion about whether function or form is more important, the balance might arguably be skewed in favor of the former when we talk about modernism, the architectural style that dominated much of the 20th century. Though who’s to say that modernism doesn’t allow for beauty and balance?
The ‘Modernist Architecture’ subreddit is a digital space where people can discuss the style of architecture and share photos of buildings around the entire world. The modernist buildings they share are truly impressive. But whether or not you approve of them is entirely up to you, Pandas.
Scroll down and upvote the pics that you liked the most. We’d also love to hear your opinions on this, so tell us what you think of these buildings and modernism as a whole in the comments. If you enjoyed what you saw, be sure to follow r/ModernistArchitecture for their latest posts.
Bored Panda got in touch with the friendly moderator team at r/ModernistArchitecture. Redditor u/joaoslr, the founder of the community, as well as its head mod, was kind enough to answer our questions about the subreddit, as well as modernism as a whole. "I believe that in order to fully understand modernist architecture, you need to look at its history and context," the redditor told us. Read on for the full interview.
The founder of r/ModernistArchitecture shared with Bored Panda that they created the subreddit nearly 3 years ago due to their "growing frustration with the existing architecture-related subreddits. Each time I (or someone else) tried to share anything related to modernist architecture, the comments would get the usual trolls with the typical low-effort anti-modernist bashing saying things like 'modernism is awful,' 'Le Corbusier is trash,' and so on, making it difficult to have interesting and constructive discussions."
They got tired of this and decided to do something about it. The goal of the r/ModernistArchitecture subreddit was to make it a place where everyone could share their constructive views and preferences regarding modernism... and avoid all the trolls. "Don't get me wrong, criticism is welcome in this subreddit, as long as it is constructive and contributes to the discussions," the head moderator said.
Community founder u/joaoslr told Bored Panda that they've been "passionate about modernism since a young age, probably after I saw a photo of Villa Savoye in my History textbook."
"At first I was confused why a building that looked brand new was there, but then I saw its construction date (1931) and was amazed. How could something designed so many decades ago still look so modern? That was the question that made me learn and research more about modernism," they mused.
Tyler House, Designed In 1950 By John Lautner. Los Angeles, California, USA
“Graham House” West Vancouver, Bc. By The Late Arthur Erickson. 1962. He Was A Master Of Working With Difficult Cliff Sites
Redditor u/joaoslr kindly shared their knowledge about modernist history and philosophy with Bored Panda. "At the beginning of the 20th century, many people lived in cities with very precarious conditions, in tiny and filthy houses that led to the propagation of diseases, and away from the richly ornamented buildings owned by the rich. Modernism changed this paradigm," they said.
"By taking advantage of the latest technical and technological innovations, modernist architects showed that it was possible to move away from ornamentation-focused architecture and to create more functional and efficient designs, intended to improve everybody's lives. This new focus allowed many different approaches, making modernist architecture very diverse. This is probably my favorite characteristic of modernism since it was composed of many smaller movements: international style, expressionism, Bauhaus, De Stijl, brutalism, etc. The variety is immense!"
For the founder of r/ModernistArchitecture, function and form go hand in hand. "One is meaningless without the other. Of course, the way they relate is open to interpretation, which is why modernism is so diverse. Personally, I feel that both are equally important, a good design should be focused on its essential functions, making it useful, but should also be aesthetic since it causes an impact on the people that interact/experience it."
Indian Institute Of Management, Bangalore, India, Designed By B.v. Doshi In 1977
Catton House, West Vancouver, Canada, Designed By Arthur Erickson And Geoffrey Massey In 1967
My Hand Made Modern Birdhouse!
The head mod also opened up a bit about the community itself and the ins and outs of moderating, and why good communication is essential for a healthy subreddit. "Most of the issues that we deal with are either people who post buildings that are not related to modernism or trolls that appear in the comment sections. Thankfully, I am not alone in this task, there is another mod that joined the sub in its early stages and has done a tremendous job moderating and promoting the subreddit," they complimented their colleague.
"I believe that having a good moderator team is the first step for a well-working online community. It doesn't have to be a big team, it just needs to be a team with passionate people that have good communication between them. The second step is to be clear in your actions and communicate them to the users. For example, when we delete a post or comment we explain in a constructive way why we did it, so that the user in question understands which rule he broke. That way we can educate the community on the rules, which are well defined and easily available on the sidebar," they said.
"The last step is to truly be part of the community and not just sit aside as a moderator. In this sub, the moderation team frequently posts new content and participates in discussions started by other users. This allows us to also experience the sub as 'regular users' and to adapt our rules and actions accordingly."
Goulding Summer House, Enniskerry, Ireland, Designed By Scott Tallon Walker In 1971
McGregor Conference Center, Detroit, Michigan, Designed By Minoru Yamasaki In 1958
Segal Residence Seen From The Beach. Malibu, California. (1979) John Lautner Architect
Founded nearly three years ago, in mid-October of 2019, r/ModernistArchitecture has since grown to house nearly 37.4k members (or ‘Modernists’ as they’re called online).
The ‘ModernistArchitecture’ subreddit actually sits comfortably in the top 5% of all Reddit communities, ranked by size. Though there are certainly bigger architecture–related subreddits, size definitely isn’t what matters. It’s the quality of the content and the friendliness of the community that are key.
Modernist architecture follows the idea that form follows function, in that buildings should be functional above all else. A style that emerged in the early 20th century, modernism approaches architecture analytically, looks at the use of materials from a rational standpoint, and aims to eliminate decoration. In short, the focus is on innovation and what the space is used for rather than the aesthetics (though the utilitarianism can, in fact, be pleasing to the eye).
Niterói Contemporary Art Museum, Brazil, Designed By Oscar Niemeyer In 1991
The Wave, La Baule, France, Designed By Pierre Doucet In 1979
Experimental Ranch House By: Cliff May. Restoration By: Marmol Radziner Architecture. Built In 1952. Brentwood Neighborhood Of Los Angeles
The mods ask members of the community to only post content and discuss things related to modernist architecture. In other words, there’s a singular focus here and redditors shouldn’t deviate from that too much.
The community also values original content very much. For instance, you shouldn’t repost pictures of a building if they’ve already been shared on the sub within the past year. However, if you happen to have “significantly different photos” of the very same building, that isn’t considered a repost, so feel free to share those.
It should come as no surprise that community members are expected to be polite to each other. They’re also encouraged not to make low-effort posts bashing modernism. “Obviously, you don't have to like all the buildings posted here, but you should at least try to fundament your opinions,” the mod team shares.
Noyes Hall At Vassar College By Eero Saarinen, Poughkeepsie, New York (1958)
Runion House, Seattle, Washington, Designed By Ralph Anderson In 1969
Meanwhile, those sharing posts should put in the effort to make their titles descriptive. For instance, you should add the name of the building, where it can be found, the architects, as well as the year the building was constructed. That way, the audience will always have the basic information available to them and won’t have to do the research themselves.
Viking Ship Museum, Roskilde, Denmark, Designed By Erik Christian Sørensen In 1968
Druzhba Sanatorium, Ukraine (1978-85) By Igor Vasilevsky
Johnson Administration Building And Research Tower, Frank Lloyd Wright
If you happen to post newly constructed buildings, be sure to add the ‘Contemporary’ flair to your post. “New buildings that, despite respecting the principles of modernist architecture, aren't part of the modernist movement,” the mods explain why this is needed.
Raleigh House, United States (1954), By Eduardo Catalano
Natural History Museum Of Obafemi Awolowo University ~ Ile-Ife, Nigeria
Functionalism, minimalism, the lack of ornamentation—these lie at the core of modernism. The architectural movement welcomed innovative technologies of construction, as well as the use of materials such as glass, steel, and reinforced concrete.
Warner House, New Canaan, Connecticut, Designed By John Johansen In 1955
General Motors Technical Center Interior By Eero Saarinen (1956)
Stahl House, Los Angeles Ca, USA (1957) By Pierre Koenig, Photography By Julius Shulman
Emerging in the first half of the 20th century, modernism dominated the architectural scene in the post-World War 2 era. Until the 1980s, it was the principal style used for institutional and corporate buildings. It was later supplanted by postmodern architecture.
World Trade Center, New York City, By Minoru Yamasaki (1973)
The Eames House, Case Study House No. 8 In The Palisades
Haus Des Rundfunks, Berlin, Hans Poelzig 1931, Staircase Near The Great Broadcasting Hall
Modernists embraced asymmetrical compositions, geometric forms, and flat roofs. There was an emphasis on horizontal lines, as well as neutral or white palettes. The interiors of buildings, meanwhile, were characterized by spaciousness, openness, and light.
Casa De Vidro, São Paulo, Brazil, Designed By Lina Bo Bardi In 1951
University Of Michigan Law Library Extension, Ann Arbor, Michigan, By Gunnar Birkerts (1981). The Modern Extension Is Largely Underground
Notre Dame De Royan, France, Designed By Guillaume Gillet And Marc Hébrard In 1955
Note: this post originally had 116 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.
Modernism itself shifted and changed over the years. Offshoots of the modernist philosophy include Bauhaus, brutalism, constructivism (and later deconstructivism), expressionism, the so-called ‘International Style,’ and more. These are all slightly different aspects of the same architectural philosophy that valued innovation and moving towards utopia, as imagined by the architects.