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functionalism

GERALDEAGER


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405168908.2010.x


Extract

The practical and artistic are interwined in the creation of architecture, but the belief about architecture promoted in functionalism is that the practical (how well a building is constructed and works) takes precedence over the artistic (how beautiful or delightful to experience a building is). Functionalism appears in two overlapping phases in the late nineteenth century: the first holds simply that the artistic is secondary to the practical, and the second – a more extreme position – denys that the artistic is important at all. In the first phase it is argued that if a building is responsive to structural requirements and the needs of its occupants, its artistic character will emerge on its own. This is the view that is suggested by Louis Sullivan's statement, “form follows function.” In the second phase, the sole measure of a structure is how fit it is to fulfill its use. This view is captured in L e Corbusier's statement: “a house is a machine to live in.” In the first phase of functionalism architecture is aligned with the useful arts, and its architects are inspired by buildings of vernacular traditions, such as barns and farmhouses; in the second phase architecture is understood as a science, and its architects seek out the work of engineers for ideas, such as bridges and factories. Both phases of functionalism, then, look to utilitarian structures, and both find there ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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