Example Of Essay On Farnsworth House
Philosophy of Architecture: Mid-Century Modern Architecture
The architectural era between 1940—1970 is referred to as the Mid-Century Modern Architecture era. This architectural era was characterized by the use of glass extensively in buildings and incorporation of design concepts that favored the creation of open spaces. This was geared towards forging the then architectural style with natural elements such as sunlight, aeration, and beauty. The Mid-century modern architectural era represents architecture that is laden with forward-looking ideas. It was popularized by architects who believed that these architectural concepts would be instrumental in bringing about social change ultimately leading to the creation of better societies. Key elements that characterized this architectural era were flat planes, changes in elevation, large windows, and integration of nature into building design. The architectural designs were characterized by flat planes where geometric lines of the buildings maintained particular regularity and an increased preference for flat roofs. Moreover, the walls were characterized by large glasses and doors were made using sliding glass. The incorporation of expansive panes of glass in walls and doors was necessary so that natural light could seep into the rooms from many angles. Additionally, the architectural style was focused on the integration of design concepts with nature by leaving the interiors spaces open so as to let in the outdoors aura. This design concept was infused so as to encourage people to inculcate healthy living in their lives. Some of the mid-century modern architects who furthered the major design concepts of this era include Marcil Breur, Ludwig van der Rohe, Walter Gropius, and Niemeyer, and Le Corbusier. The architectural era sprung from the Second World War in which experimental building materials like steel, glass and plywood, and technologies were widely used in the building industry. Five major architectural structures that I think best represent the Mid-century modern architecture include Farnsworth House, Church of Saint Francis of Assisi in Belo Horizonte, Stahl House, The Philip Johnson Glass House, and Neutra VDL Studio and Residence.
Farnsworth House is an architectural marvel designed by Mies Van der Rohe and built from 1946 to 1951. Mies Van der Rohe is considered to be one of the pioneers of the Mid-century modern architectural design concepts, and his Farnsworth House is considered to be a representation of international style of architecture in the US. The building incorporated large panes of glass in its structure, the use steel frames, and integration of nature into the buildings structure. The structure of the house is made of concrete floors that are precast, and its roof slabs are supported by strong steel frame consisting of columns, girders, and beams (www.columbia.edu, n.p). Moreover, its facade is made using single large panes of glass that transcend from the floor all the way to the roof. The large panes of glass are fastened to the entire system using steel bars. Heating of the building is achieved through radiant coils that are infused in the concrete floor. Natural ventilation is achieved through the open and amble floor plan. Additionally, the shade of nearby trees reaches this building therefore providing minimal cooling to it. The building is an example of a structure that has opened its interior spaces to the outdoor environment like shades of trees and multiple views of the outside through the walls made of glass. The integration of nature in architectural design concepts was one of the important elements of this period. Farnsworth building initially proved difficult to live in because the challenges of cooling the interiors. The house has incorporated elegant and clean simplicity making it to be one of the crucial accomplishments of the Mid-century modern architecture.
The Philip Johnson Glass House
The Philip Johnson Glass House is built on the top of a hill on an estate covering 47-acres. The building is found in New Canaan, Connecticut. It has garnered fame all over the world because of its perceived deficiencies. The entire building is transparent, and it was built using extremely minimal materials. The transparency incorporated in the building allows the outdoor landscapes to flow into the house. The building was designed and built by Philip Johnson in 1949, and it’s a masterstroke of genius. The architectural design that Philip Johnson used in this house can be broken down to the equivalent of a suitcase that is intelligently packed and that contains a bathroom, bedroom, dining space, kitchen, and entertaining space all perfectly arranged in a rectangular simple space that measure mere 32 by 56 feet (Hawthorne, n.p). Philip Johnson designed the house at a time when his love for modernism architectural design concepts was fading. Ironically, he ended up designing a compact house that espoused the characteristics of mid-century modernism. This is by infusing large window panes in the entire walls of the building. Natural light is able to seep through from all angles. The roof of the building is supported by strong steel frames consisting of columns and beams. The use of steel frames and beams eliminates the use of support walls that are bulky, hence giving the building immense simplicity. This clean simplicity with which the building was designed is a characteristic of mid-century modernism architecture.
The Stahl House is one of the architectural marvels of the Mid-Century and one of the most celebrated residential spaces in America. It is based on the mid-century modernism, and it is found in the Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, California. The architect who designed the house was Pierre Koenig. He considered to be one of the pioneer architects who incorporated steel and glass in building houses. The house has an “L” shape that essentially ensures that the private residential spaces are separated from the public ones (Kroll, n.p). To access the house, one has to cross a swimming pool first. The living space of this architectural marvel is stationed behind the swimming pool, and it has a concrete wall. This house incorporates elegant simplicity, and it is built using glass on three sides. Large pieces of glass are used as walls on these three sides. The incorporated design geometry includes arranging the large glass planes at regular lines, and the flattening of the roof. The expansive use of glass in this building was informed by the prevalent design concept of the time of infusing nature into architectural works. By using large glass planes on three sides of the buildings, the design architect achieved the necessity to bring the outdoors into interior spaces offering a panoramic view of Los Angeles. An occupant of this house could get a glimpse of the outside world from multiple points. Moreover, natural light can seep into the interiors unhindered.
Church of Saint Francis of Assisi, Pampulha
This iconic structure was designed by Oscar Niemeyer, a Brazilian architect born in 1907. The architect incorporated the organic modern design concepts. The church’s roof has a “T” shape emanating from the tapering of its four undulating parabolas (MIT Libraries, n.p). The side walls are vertical in nature and face tile murals that are painted. The church’s tower is slender, and it tapers towards the base of the church more like a leg of a chair. Niemeyer was fascinated with curvaceous attributes of nature like in mountains, rivers, and waves of the sea. He believed the entire universe was made of curves. He infused this view of nature into the design of the church by making its walls to be tapering parabolas. In essence, he integrated nature into his design concepts. The undulating parabolas are composed of steel and glass, key materials that were used during the mid-century modernism period.
Neutra VDL Studio and Residence
This house was built originally in 1933, but a fire destroyed the original building necessitating a rebuilding in 1966 (Rago, n.p). It was initially built to serve as a research center and henceforth given the name VDL Research House. The house was designed using the latest building materials at the time: steel, glass, mirror, and concrete. The existing structure of the building incorporates steel frames, support beams and suspended aluminum. These were the materials that were widely used to build modern houses during this period. The walls are made using large glass planes that allow large amounts of natural light to enter the interior spaces. The glass planes are fastened using steel frames and poles. The design of the building allows the shade from natural objects find its way into the inside of the building providing a minimal cooling. The designer's focus was to integrate natural phenomena into the design of the building and he definitely achieved this.
Hawthorne, Christopher. "Architect Philip Johnson’s Glass House." Architectural Digest. Http://www.architecturaldigest.com, 1 Jan. 2015. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.
Kroll, Andrew. "AD Classics: Stahl House / Pierre Koenig" 22 Oct 2010. Arch Daily. Web. 15 Mar 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=83038>
MIT Libraries. "Church of Saint Francis of Assisi, Pampulha." MIT Libraries Dome. MIT Libraries, 2015. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.
Rago, Danielle. "Neutra Revisited." Domusweb.it. 29 July 2013. Web. 15 Mar. 2015
Www.columbia.edu. "The Farnsworth House." Farnsworth House by Mies Van Der Rohe. 2015. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.