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Expressionism – Modern Architecture (Part – 4)

Expressionism was born to design that evokes emotion. It was predominant in Europe during the first decades of the 21st century. It was a conception of architecture as a work of art.

Architectural Features

  • Distortion of forms to evoke emotion
  • Dramatic gestures of form
  • Expressive form through abstraction of arts
  • Free-flowing organic forms
  • Non-geometry
  • Mixture of colors
  • Expression of artists by artwork
  • Mixture of colors
  • Monolithic material choices

Examples of Expressionism

1. Einstein Observatory Tower

Image source: architecture-history.org
  • Building: Einstein Observatory Tower
  • Function/Use: Observatory
  • Location: Albert Einstein science park, Potsdam, Germany
  • Date of construction: 1919-21
  • Architect: Erich Mendelsohn
  • Key Features: Expressive and organic form
  • Materials Used: Brick, Stucco
  • Structure and façade: The design of the structure reflects Einstein’s groundbreaking theories. The building is designed as a research facility that focuses on the theory of relativity. Mendelsohn depicted that the form evolved from the “mystique around Einstein’s universe”. The building form curves and bends (twists and turns), as if rising from the landscape. Windows appear to be carved from the surface.

2. Second Goetheanum

Image source: metalocus.es
  • Building: Goetheanum
  • Function/Use: Centre for Anthroposophical Movement
  • Location: Dornach, Switzerland
  • Date of construction: 1924-28
  • Architect: Rudolf Steiner
  • Key Features: sweeping and organic form
  • Materials Used: cast concrete
  • Structure and façade: The building’s sweeping and monolithic form explores the potential qualities of reinforced concrete. It appears as a cave from the outside with rectilinear curves. It constitutes library, galleries, and auditorium spaces.

3. Grundtvig’s Church

Image source: flickr.com
  • Building: Grundtvig’s Church
  • Function/Use: Church
  • Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Date of construction: 1927 – 1940
  • Architect: Peder Vilhelm Jensen-Klint
  • Key Features: Facade’s strong verticality
  • Materials Used: Brick and other traditional building materials
  • Structure and façade: The church is a rare example of expressionist-style architecture. The church exhibits a strong vertical façade that draws our eye toward heaven. Klint merged the modern geometric forms of brick expressionism with the classical vertical of Gothic architecture.

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