Modernism: What is the Big Deal?


Throughout recent years modernism has transformed the skylines of numerous cities. Dubai being one and China another. We are all constantly being told that we are in huge debt, and yet somehow, miraculously, people can still afford to build huge skyscrapers that commonly explore new, and unfounded areas of architecture. So what is the big deal with Modernism and why do we feel it is a necessity?

I think modernism has popped up around the world because, for most people it is the uniform image for what a 'cool' building should look like. There is a very specific formula that needs to be followed as well to achieve a modernist looking building. White walls, obviously, large windows, and at least one wacky shape to make it look 'different' and out of the ordinary. Very much like the building below:

But, if we all already know what a modernist building is going to look like, except maybe for the abstract shape, then why are we all obsessed with them? There are hundreds of buildings which can be classed as modernist. 101 of the best can be seen here: 

Now then, I realise that up till now, this article could come across as being negative towards modernism, and I agree! But in all instances I actually really like it, especially buildings that have been designed to be truly breathtaking. My only issue is when architects design the simplest building in the world and call it modern in the hope that someone will class it as a 'design classic'. In reality, all they have done is regurgitated the same design that has been used a thousand times before with a slightly different design twist.

Half a year ago I went to Nice on holiday, whilst there I went into an art gallery which contained exhibitions for a different artist each week. It promised to be very exciting, but was more of a disappointment in reality. The 'artist of the week' decided to concentrate on the color blue, I'm sure we'll all agree it's a nice color. The only issue was that one of his exhibits was a white sheet of paper, splattered with blue paint. This may never have been done before, but this still doesn't mean that it is artwork worthy of being displayed in a national gallery.

The same principles are in modernism. Just because it hasn't been done before, does not mean that it is of a 'good' architectural design.
Cite this article:
"Modernism: What is the Big Deal?" 3/23/2013. ArchitectWeekly. Accessed .