Architectural Manifesto for the 21st Century Modernist Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1464 words)  ·  Style: Chicago  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Architecture

Architectural Manifesto for the 21st Century

Modernist Architecture encumbers the soul with spiritual fatigue and frustration. Art is life and design is its blood. Transfuse society with architecture that reestablishes humanity's spiritual link with nature. Today's vistas are overwhelmed by perfectly sharp edges; Modernist Architecture visually denies our connection to nature. It is not enough to espouse a "green" building; design must align with nature and bring its comfort into our lives once again. Buchanan points out "the uniform conditions of temperature and humidity throughout the day, which are used in many air conditioning systems, not merely waste energy, but do not contribute to comfort. Most people prefer variation in accordance with the changing conditions outdoors" (p. 425). This paper reviews relevant peer-reviewed and scholarly literature concerning opinions and recommendations for the examination and expression of the beliefs, values, and cultural impact of architectural design. This manifesto is a cultural call to arms. A summary of the research and important findings are presented in the conclusion.

Review and Discussion

The Past:

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Humanity's search for relevance precedes the earliest oral histories. Gods were created so that humans could believe there is purpose to their lives. For eons man found evidence of gods while pondering the universe. Its scale and structure attests to purposeful design. If there was purpose to the universe, there was purpose to mankind. Man recognized this by elevating design to an art form. Successive generations created visual reflections of their life's meaning and architecture became their palette.

Term Paper on Architectural Manifesto for the 21st Century Modernist Assignment

As Sundarum expresses, "It has also been claimed that a rectangle whose sides conform to the golden ratio is aesthetically pleasing, and this ratio has been identified in many works of art and architecture, such as the Parthenon of Greece and the Pyramids of Egypt." (p. 176) These designs are stunningly beautiful and bring a sense of oneness when viewed in situ. Now consider the architecture created by the Third Reich; classic lines perverted to achieve sensation of power and dominance. Can the subliminal power of architectural design be doubted? The ability to apply architectural design for vastly different intents is best displayed by a simple graphic from antiquity - the duality symbol of the Chinese "Yin Yang." The power of design is established; let us now consider the impact of today's Modernist Architecture.

The Present:

I.M. Pei is a renowned contemporary architect and is a Pritzker Prize recipient (Pei). It is one of the highest accolades in architecture. Nevertheless, future historians will consider his architectural designs as barren. The John Hancock Tower in Boston is a prime example. It is a mirrored monolith devoid of spirit. It is a steel and glass parasite simulating art by stealing from neighboring designs. Consider Pei's creation for Louvre - a glass pyramid! Amid astonishing beauty lies a borrowed concept made both heartless and cold. Dennis Sharp refers to the Louvre Pyramid as "spectacular in concept" (p. 407); however, that superfluity reminds one of a classic children's story - "The Emperor Has No Clothes." Modernist Architecture has reached apogee and now begins its inevitable decline like all ideas that exhaust their energy. Viewing the Louvre's Modernist Architecture, we can apply a French expression - "Le Roi est mort, vive le Roi!"

This manifesto contends that the cold, lifeless designs of Modernist Architecture have so depersonalized society that inhabitants subconsciously yearn for a reaffirmation of their natural identity. For instance, compare a college campus and an urban city. The campus' image evokes rounded corners, meandering paths, and natural light, all of which creates a gratifying sense of purpose. It is not the halls of study that feed the soul but rather the constant comfort of feeling in harmony with life itself. The city's image evokes a suffocating sameness borne of sharp angles. The treeless plazas spawn a simmering resentment. These bleak hives we call modern office buildings are soulless traps that reduce their occupants to insignificant treadmill mice.

These are strong viewpoints but the world is perceived through our senses. If life imitates art then art suggests the future. Lifeless architecture creates lifeless societies yearning for relevance even if it must resort to fundamentalist beliefs. Architecture can stray so far from personal relevance that society may revolt. Perhaps this explains why wealthy oil producing nations are breeding grounds for the most severe fundamentalist demagogues. Their architecture further alienates an already discontented social spirit. Vapid, emerging cities spawn… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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APA Style

Architectural Manifesto for the 21st Century Modernist.  (2008, March 31).  Retrieved March 7, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Architectural Manifesto for the 21st Century Modernist."  31 March 2008.  Web.  7 March 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Architectural Manifesto for the 21st Century Modernist."  March 31, 2008.  Accessed March 7, 2021.