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Neo-Futurist – Shell Forms (Modern Architecture Part – 5)

The neo-futurist style started during the late 1960s and 1970s (late-20th to early-21st-century) movement in the arts, design, and architecture.

The futuristic style is an early modern movement depicting the new age. It is a transition style from Modern to Post – Modern Architecture.

Notable architects are Buckminster Fuller, Eero Saarinen, John C. Portman Jr., etc.

Matthew Phillips defined the Neo-Futurist aesthetic as a “manipulation of time, space, and subject against a backdrop of technological innovation and domination, that posits new approaches to the future contrary to those of past avant-gardes and current technocratic philosophies”.

Architectural Features of Neo-Futurist Style

  • Structure, form, and function blend together
  • Complex and Curvilinear forms
  • Strong dynamic lines and fluidity
  • Sense of movement
  • Fluidity and Dynamism

Examples of Neo-Futurist Modern Style

Guggenheim Museum

Image source: franklloydwright.org
  • Building: Guggenheim Museum
  • Function/Use: Art Museum
  • Location: Manhattan, New York City
  • Date of construction: 1956-59
  • Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright
  • Key Features: Curvilinear facade
  • Materials Used: Concrete
  • Universal Value: UNESCO World Heritage Site, U.S. National Register of Historic Places, U.S. National Historic Landmark.
  • Structure and Facade: The form is generated from the function. The curved spiraling (an inverted form of a cone) effect of the exterior reflects with interior planning. It is a ramp that continues the inner floor plate of the central atrium, starting from the ground floor and moving up to the six-Storey height of the building.

Notre-Dame du Haut

Image source: lecorbusier-worldheritage.org
  • Building: Ronchamp Cathedral
  • Function/Use: Roman Catholic Church
  • Location: Ronchamp, France
  • Date of construction: 1953-55
  • Architect: Le Corbusier
  • Key Features: Upturned roof, the visual weight of the building.
  • Materials Used: Concrete
  • Universal Value: UNESCO World Heritage Site, U.S. National Register of Historic Places
  • Structure and Facade: The cathedral is considered an outstanding architectural masterpiece by Swiss architect Le Corbusier. Enclosed by thick walls, and an upturned roof, the design of the structure expresses fluidity, dynamism, and movement. The interior, dark and elegant, is punctured with warm light peering through colored-glass apertures.

TWA Flight Center

Image source: americanlandmarks.org
  • Building: TWA Flight Center
  • Function/Use: Airport Terminal
  • Location: John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York City, United States
  • Date of construction: 1962
  • Architect: Eero Saarinen
  • Key Features: Bird look alike structure
  • Materials Used: Reinforced concrete shell structure
  • Universal Value: U.S. National Register of Historic Places
  • Structure and Facade: The structure is a fine example of thin shell construction which consists of a reinforced concrete shell roof supported by corners. Saarinen described the head house form as being like the “Leonardo da Vinci flying machine”. Two tubes – departure and arrival passenger tubes radiate out from the head house. The curvilinear form blends with the function of the airport terminal.

Munich Olympic Stadium

Image source: Wikimedia commons
  • Building: Munich Olympic Stadium
  • Function/Use: Olympic Stadium
  • Location: Munich, Germany
  • Date of construction: 1968 – 1972
  • Architect: Behnisch & Partner, Frei Otto,
  • Key Features: Tensile structure
  • Materials Used: steel masts, tensile members
  • Structure and Facade: Large steel masts support the roof of the gallery with the support of tensile members. The roof includes large sweeping canopies of acrylic glass

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