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International Style I (Early Modern)  

Approximate Dates 1929-1940
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008 Starret-Lehigh Building 010 The New School 061C THE TIME WARNER BUILDING 066 Manufacturers Trust Company 102 Gainsborough Studios
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130 McGraw-Hill Building

034- Williamsburg Houses

see also- International Style II, International Style III (Late Modern)  

Early International Style
• Develops in 1920s in Europe; sources include commercial building, and Chicago School
• Named in 1932:  exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York -- “The International Style”
• Leading architects:  Walter Gropius, LeCorbusier, Mies van der Rohe

First buildings

• W. Gropius: Bauhaus, Dessau, 1926
• LeCorbusier: Villa Savoye, near Paris, 1929
• Mies van der Rohe: Barcelona Pavilion, Spain, 1929
• G. Howe & Wm. Lescaze: PSFS Building, Philadelphica, 1930

Style and Ideology

• Modernist
• Anti-Historicist
• Anti-Ornament
• Functionalist
• Celebrates technology
• Exclusivist


• Universal Style
• Universal space
• Utopian Society

Mies van der Rohe – selected quotes

• “Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space.”
• “Less is More”
• “God is in the details”
• “True architecture is always objective and is the expression of the inner structure of our time, from which it stems.”
• "Technology is far more than a method, it is a world in itself.  As a method it is superior in almost every respect....Whenever technology reaches its real fulfillment, it transcends into architecture.  It is true that architecture depends on facts, but its real field of activity is in the realm of significance."

Style Definition
The International Style is the purest and most minimal form of modernism. It originated in a number of movements from Germany and The Netherlands in the 1920s, especially the Bauhaus but also influenced by de Stijl and the German Werkbund. Its designs are generally simple prismatic shapes, with flat roofs and uniform arrangements of windows in bands or grids.

The most common materials in International Style buildings are glass, steel, aluminum, concrete, and sometimes brick infill. Plaster, travertine marble, and polished stone are common on the interiors.

The leader of the Bauhaus School and a founder of the International Style was the architect Walter Gropius. Another Bauhaus architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, is the most famous and influential figure in the movement. The Finnish architect Alvar Aalto another famous and original contributor to this style.