Contemporary Architecture

De Stijl: The evolution and dissolution of Neoplasticism

Essential Elements:

  • Abstraction
  • Rectilinear Geometry
  • Use of primary colors

The tenets of Neoplasticism

  •  Coloration must be in the primary colors of red, blue and yellow or the non-colors of black, gray and white.
  • Surfaces must rectangular planes or prisms.
  • Aesthetic balance must be achieved and this is done through the use of opposition.
  • Compositional elements must be straight lines or rectangular areas.
  • Symmetry is to be avoided.
  • Balance and rhythm are enhanced by relationships of proportion and location.


  • Founded in 1917
  • Piet Mondrian, Theo van Doesburg and Gerrit Reitveld.
  • Published a journal ‘De Stijl’ from 1917 – 32.
  • Other members were Georges Vantongerloo , Jacobus-Johannes-Pieter Oud, Bart van der Leck and more.
  • “Pure plastic vision should build a new society, in the same way that in art it has built a new plasticism”. – Piet Mondrian
  •  An expression of absolutes of life.
  • Only absolutes of life were vertical and horizontal lines and the primary colors.
  • Art as a collective approach

Theo van Doesburg and Hans Vogel

  • Studies for purely Architectural Sculpture resulting from ground floor plan, 1921.
  • In this study the asymmetrical pyramidal composition of cubic volumes is strictly generated from the plan. All ornamental accentuation has been eliminated.

Contra-Construction, 1923:

  • Theo van Doesburg and Cornelis van Eesteren
  • Axonometric drawing of hotel Particulier.
  • 3-D Representation of objects in 2-D
  • A development of van Doesburg’s earlier studies, the cubic composition is further broken by arbitrary places rectangles of color.

Rietveld Schroder House, Utrecht 1924, Gerrit Rietveld:

  • Radical break from its past.
  • One of the best known and the most perfect example of De Stijl Architecture.
  • A dynamic, changeable open planning concept.
  • Traditional ground floor plan.
  • Sliding and revolving panels provide flexibility to the upper floor.
  • Rietveld Chair,1924,Designed as furniture for the Rietveld Schroder house.

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Contemporary Architecture

Influence of Frank Lloyd Wright on younger generation architects

A research on the Influence of Frank Lloyd’s Influence on younger generation architects. This was also a part of a class presentation for History of Modern Architecture class. The pattern followed is a brief description of an architect and then the influence on Frank Lloyd Wright on him. Do go through the slideshow at the end.

Influence on Dutch Architects

  • Hendrik Petrus Berlage
  • Gerrit Rietveld
  • Robert van ‘t Hoff

Hendrik Petrus Berlage:

  • Born in Amsterdam in 1856
  • Considered the “Father of Modern architecture” in the Netherlands
  • The intermediary between the Traditionalists and the Modernists
  • Berlage’s theories inspired most Dutch architectural groups of the 1920s, including the Traditionalists, the Amsterdam School, De Stijl and the New Objectivists.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s influence on Berlage:

  • A visit Berlage made to the U.S. in 1911 greatly affected his architecture.
  • From then on the organic architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright would be a significant influence.
  • Lectures he gave when returned to Europe would help to disseminate Wright’s thoughts in Germany.
  • 1913 Den Haag (ZH) .Influences of Wright’s work are present in the design of this house in the form of the projecting roofs.
  • 1927-1935 Den Haag (ZH): Municipal Museum. In the style of Frank Lloyd Wright

Gerrit Rietveld

  • A Dutch furniture designer and architect.
  • One of the principal members of the Dutch artistic movement called De Stijl
  • Strongly influenced by Charles Mackintosh and Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Influence on Gerrit Rietveld:

  • Rietveld Schröder House. His love for basic geometry was greatly influenced by Wright. Other influences in this specific case include:
    •Breaking the box
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Influence on De Stijl:
  • The social and economic circumstances of the time formed an important source of inspiration for their theories, and their ideas about architecture were heavily influenced by Berlage and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Robert van ‘t Hoff and Frank Lloyd Wright:
  • In 1913 van ‘t Hoff was given a copy of a German translation of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Wasmuth Portfolio by his father.
  • This made a profound impression and in June 1914 he travelled to the United States to see Wright’s work in person, visiting the Unity Temple, Taliesin, Midway Gardens, the Larkin Administration Building and Wright’s suburban houses in Oak Park, Illinois.
  • Van ‘t Hoff and Wright discussed collaborating on a project for an art gallery on Long Island, New York that van ‘t Hoff had become involved with through his relationship with Augustus John, but the project did not progress and van ‘t Hoff returned to Europe.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Influence on Van’t Hoff:
  • Van ‘t Hoff’s first work on returning from the United States was the Villa Verloop – a summer house in Huis ter Heide whose design bore the unmistakable influence of Wright’s Prairie Houses.
  • The Villa Henny:It was a highly idealistic and experimental house in both design and execution.One of the earliest houses to be built entirely out of reinforced concrete.
  • The Villa Henny made full use of the aesthetic freedom this presented with a flat roof, overhangs, receding walls and a highly geometrical outline that presented an unambiguously modern profile compared to the rustic naturalism of his earlier designs.

Willem Marinus Dudok:

  • Willem Dudok was born in Amsterdam in 1884
  • Dudok’s early style grew out of the Amsterdam School
  • List of major buildings / works:Public Baths, Hilversum, 1921, Abattoir, Hilversum, 1923, Dutch Hostel, Paris,1926-38, Town Hall, Hilversum, 1928-30, Bilenkauf Store,Rotterdam,1928-30, Vondel School, Hilversum, 1929.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Influence on Dudok:

  • Dudok borrowed extensively from Frank Lloyd Wright and the American Prairie School. He utilized the brick architecture and the dramatic asymmetrical massing of geometrical forms common to this style.
  • The overhanging eaves and other elements of his landmark City Hall were clearly influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright

Mies Van Der Rohe:

  • Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, along with Walter Gropius and Le Corbusier, is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of Modern architecture.
  • He created an influential 20th century architectural style, stated with extreme clarity and simplicity.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Influence on Van Der Rohe:

  • After 1923, Mies’s style shifted, and he came heavily under the influence of Dutch neo-plasticism and Russian suprematism.
  • The former influence, along with the work of Frank Lloyd Wright, drove Mies to experiment with independent walls and ceilings arranged in an open, pin-wheeling manner.
  • The latter influence drove Mies to consider the reduction and abstraction of these elements into dynamic and contrapuntal compositions of pure shapes in space.
  • Mies was enthralled with the free-flowing spaces of inter-connected rooms which encompass their outdoor surroundings as demonstrated by the open floor plans of the American Prairie Style work of Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • These experiments culminated in one of Mies van der Rohe’s most significant works, the German Pavilion built for the Barcelona World Exposition in 1929.

Walter Gropius:

  • A German architect
  • Founder of the Bauhaus School
  • Along with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Le Corbusier, is widely regarded as one of the pioneering masters of modern architecture.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Influence on Gropius

  • The plan of the Cologne building was axially designed in the Beaux-Arts tradition, but the major influence was predominantly that of Frank Lloyd Wright.
  • Gropius and Meyer were influenced by Wright’s style especially in the horizontality and the wide overhanging eaves, but also in the symmetry, the corner pavilions, and the whole spirit of Wright’s concept.

Le Corbusier:

  • Swiss-French architect, designer, urbanist, writer and also painter, who is famous for being one of the pioneers of what now is called Modern architecture or the International style.
  • He was a pioneer in studies of modern high design and was dedicated to providing better living conditions for the residents of crowded cities.

Influence of Frank Lloyd Wright on Corbusier:

  • The plan and interiors of the Schwob house in Switzerland closely resemble that of Frank Lloyd Wright. Le Corbusier’s notion of Free plan was greatly influenced by Wright.

The salient features of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Design that inspired the architects to follow include:

  • His structural systems
  • Horizontality
  • Cantilevers
  • Breaking the box
  • Furniture designs
  • Fluidity of spaces
  • And last but not the least “Organic architecture”

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