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Modernism Through the Decades

To complement our Modernism style guide, RIBApix presents a visual survey of Modernist architecture from its origins in the 1920s through to 1960s. Click on the links below to view selections of images of Modernist buildings through the decades.

Feature by Suzanne Waters

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National Congress buildings, Eixo Monumental, Brasilia: the Chamber of Deputies and the Towers of Congress

RIBA2161-16
Niemeyer, Oscar (1907-2012)
NOTES: The city of Brasilia was planned and developed in 1956 with Lucio Costa as chief urban planner and Oscar Niemeyer as principal architect. It formally became the capital of Brazil in 1960 and is the seat of all three branches of the Brazilian government. The National Congress buildings completed in 1958, comprise the Federal Senate, the Chamber of Deputies and the administrative twin Towers of Congress.

Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, Liverpool: pyramid of one of the heavy concrete roofs over Lutyens's cantilvered staircase to the crypt in the foreground with the cathedral behind

RIBA2554-10
Frederick Gibberd & Partners
NOTES: In 1930 Sir Edwin Lutyens was commissioned to design the second Roman Catholic cathedral to contrast with the Gothic Revival Anglican cathedral of Giles Gilbert Scott being erected on the other end of Hope Street from 1904. Construction on Lutyens's massive structure began in 1933 but was suspended in 1941 due to wartime restrictions. Work recommenced on the crypt in 1956 and it was completed in 1958. Thereafter Lutyens's design was considered onerously expensive and was abandoned with only the crypt complete.

Schocken department store, Chemnitz, at night

RIBA2671-16
Mendelsohn, Eric (1887-1953)

Palazzetto dello Sport, Rome

RIBA2876-25
Nervi, Pier Luigi (1891-1979)

Castrol House, Marylebone Road, London

RIBA2881-25
Gollins Melvin Ward & Partners
NOTES: Later known as Marathon House, this office block was converted into flats in 1998.

Design for a beach house, California, for Rupert R. Ryan

RIBA3085
Schindler, Rudolph M. (1887-1953)

Glass House, New Canaan, Connecticut

RIBA3360-53
Johnson, Philip (1906-2005)
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