Lienhard 6

relationship between technology and the arts in the coming of modernism
Design--what visual approach do you take to solving the problem of function (definition used in design field)
(in engineering design is more how do you put the pieces together to solve the problem)

painting of a woman in an Eames chair
Painting: Anne Wallace, Eames Chair, 2004
Eames chair
              modern chair by Charles and Ray Eames
Charles and Ray Eames built new simpler furniture--you may not like modern art but our world is full of that kind of furniture, not old-fashioned furniture.  Think of the shock it must have been--that isn't what a chair is supposed to look like but it does the job well.  It was a startling new way of seeing the world1956 video, Ted talk (3:40)

They designed the 1977 film Powers of Ten (there is also a 1968 version)--explicitly about seeing the world in a new way as a result of science.

Architecture example: the Guggenheim Museum in New York:

Guggenheim museum
looking down inside the Guggenheim

Architecture was transformed by new technology but also by architects who gave up all traditional notions of what a building was supposed to look like and started fresh with the question of what would do the job well

Another example: bridges
brige by
David Billington argues that Robert Maillart's bridges are beautiful precisely because they are efficient structural design.


American architecture initially used wood, which was in very short supply in Europe but very plentiful in most of North America

when a great fire burned central Chicago in 1871, people realized the city would need to be rebuilt in a more fire-proof way
old postcard of Chicago skyscrapers

this led Chicago to
Several technologies were needed to make this possible:
 Eiffel Tower Eiffel Tower
Steel Frame:
tall buildings weren't necessarily cost efficient but they became a sign of pride Bayard Building, New York

13-story Bayard-Condict Building
in New York, designed by Louis Sullivan
and built in 1898--use new technology to do traditional things

Sullivan and the other architects working in Chicago paid more attention to decoration than the architects in New York.  Sullivan invented his own new
style of ornamentationEmpire State Building

New York skyline
plaza of Seagram bulding, New York
Seagram Building 1954-58

church and skyscraper in BostonModernist architects started to simplify the building masterworks of modern (and postmodern) architecture stamps
Guggenheim Museumstamps showing masterworks of
          modern architecture
Chrysler Building
Vanna Venturi House
TWA Terminal at JFK Airport, New York

Walt Disney Concert Hall
860-880 Lake Shore Drive
East wing of the National Gallery
The Glass House

Yale Art and Architecture Building
High Museum of Art, Atlanta
Exeter Academy Library
Hancock Center, Chicago

Turning Torso building in Sweden

this has become even more elaborate in postmodern buildings (post-modern involves more elaboration and decoration, less strictly functional)

What are the themes here?

This page written and copyright Pamela E. Mack
HIST 122
last updated 10/2/2019