Aug 15, 2019 in History

The history of architecture is a long process that has evolved over different traditions, styles, trends, and regions. Accordingly, rapid changes in architecture have been instrumental in facilitating transformations in the construction of the buildings. In the early days, the architecture used to be focused on the details that would make a structure more appealing and useful for future generations. However, modern movements seemed to change this tendency by basing on the simplistic use of the architecture. This makes most buildings of the modern movement pathological artifacts. This paper analyzes modern architecture and proves that buildings of the modern movement are pathological artifacts rather than vital structures.

Are modern Movement Buildings Vital or Pathological Artifacts?

Buildings of the modern movement are largely categorized as pathological artifacts. In tandem with the theory of permanence, these buildings are considered pathological artifacts because they appear as isolated elements in the urban system. Most of them do not stand the test of time to serve different functions that are supposed to be enjoyed by individuals. More so, their pathological nature is enhanced by understanding that they are only constructed for limited functions, which might not allow them to serve diverse functions in the future.

Buildings of the 1920s differ from those of the 1960s because they were massively based on abstract expressionist paintings, while those of the 1960s relied on new directions, such as hard-hedge painting. This implies that most buildings in the 1920s paid more attention to the details of the painting and the intended meanings as compared to the buildings built in the 1960s. The Tribune Tower in Chicago is a key example of the 1920s architecture while the Boston City Hall is a clear representation of the architecture of the 1960s. In both analyzed buildings the emphasis on the color could be clearly noticed.

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Another relevant difference between the buildings constructed in the 1920s and the 1960s is the aspect of technology. The 1960 buildings are seen to have a lot of technical details as compared with the architecture of the 1920s. This is connected with the technological revolution that came up after World War II which motivated many architects to incorporate massive technological aspects in the design of their buildings. In the early 1920s buildings were characterized by profound modernist influence, while in the late 1960s they were filled with technological elements.

How Building of the Modern Movement Represent the 20th Century Progress

Buildings of the modern movement represent the 20th-century progress through the focus on effective planning, especially in urban areas. It is worth noting that the 20th-century buildings were focused on effective structuring of urban centers to alleviate any instances of overcrowding in the urban centers. The focus on technology was also immense at this time, and buildings in the modern movement have been keen on the maximum incorporation of technologies in their different aspects. For instance, most buildings, especially those in urban centers, are designed as skyscrapers to limit the wastage of space and reflect the proper organization of the city.

Corporations and institutions were quick to adopt modern architecture for several reasons. One of the key reasons that motivated corporations and institutions to adopt modern architecture was simplicity and clarity in the design of buildings. It is important that modern architecture eliminated keen focus on the details, and most institutions were focused on utilizing necessary simplicity that came with the modern movement. For instance, the Sony Tower (formerly AT & T building) in New York is reflective of the desire for simplicity and clarity for institutions and corporations.

More so, many institutions and corporations were motivated to adopt modern architecture because of its functionality. This implies that these institutions could have an opportunity to construct their buildings in a way that may match their goals instead of construct buildings that serve different purposes. The City Hall building in London is a perfect representation of the buildings constructed to serve the specific purpose. For instance, the City Hall building in London serves administration purposes.

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Negative Perceptions about Modern Architecture

One of the negative perceptions against modern architecture is that it ignores the desirable details of the building. It has been mostly criticized for its focus on technological aspects that promote simplicity while ignoring key details of the buildings. This has been perceived a fail on the part of modern architecture, as it has lost its aesthetic value that is supposed to be captured in the buildings.

Another negative perception is that modern architecture has failed to meet the space and time requirements of people. However, most buildings of modern architecture have used up the little space that would have been preserved for other people or other purposes. The Barclays Center is one of the modern architecture buildings that have received this form of negative perception.

These perceptions exist because modern architecture ignores the standards that were set by early architecture. Critics believe that it would have been appropriate for modern architecture to be built on the construction principles that had been laid down by early architecture.

Nevertheless, these perceptions have reinforced the continued existence of these buildings through relevant modifications to make them more appealing and suitable for their purposes. These perceptions have made it easier for constructors to modify the buildings and ensure that they continue to serve their different purposes appropriately. The perfect example of a modern architecture building whose existence has been reinforced by these perceptions is the Gallery of Modern Art building in New York, which has since undergone a major glass overhaul.

The negative perceptions affect decisions about the preservation and demolition of modern buildings. Accordingly, extreme negative perceptions catalyze the decision to demolish these buildings for the development of better structures that are likely to meet the desired standards. However, limited negative perceptions encourage the preservation of these buildings through appropriate repairs and modifications to their designs.

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Preservation of Modern Movement Buildings

Buildings of the modern movement should be preserved. All countries should aim at preserving buildings of the modern movement because they are still a significant part of the transformation of architectural designs over the years. Preserving them would be instrumental in highlighting and correcting some of the architectural failures that might have been experienced in the construction process throughout the ages. The preservation of these buildings will set the stepping stone for better architectural designs that reflect the desired standards in the future.

These buildings could remain functional by serving multiple purposes. Buildings only become pathological artifacts in case they become isolated in the city because of the inability to serve different purposes. However, these buildings could become vital by serving multiple functions as emphasized by the functionalist theory. This would put them in a position where they are able to be remembered and utilized in the future for the different purposes they serve. It also eliminates any opportunity of these buildings to become isolated in their respective cities.

The buildings could be retrofitted into today’s ideas through modifications that would ensure they serve multiple purposes. They could be effectively modified and designed so that they capture today’s ideas on sustainability. For instance, the contemporary world is in need of adequate space for the continued existence of individuals and many other reasons. These buildings could be modified in such a way that they use minimum space and time. This would meet today’s vision of sustainability and maximization of the little space people have. Therefore, modern architects must dedicate their efforts toward multiplying the purposes of modern buildings instead of limiting them to a specific use.


In conclusion, it is worth understanding that there are significant differences between early architecture and modern architecture. Though early architecture paid attention to the details of the structure, modern architecture does not necessarily emphasize these details and mostly relies on the presence of technology to simplify the details of the buildings. This explains why most modern buildings are pathological artifacts that remain isolated in their cities after serving their designated purposes. Most early buildings have remained vital to date, while modern architecture has failed in the design of structures that are likely to remain significant in the course of history. However, the focus on minimal details and the functional design have motivated many institutions to adopt the ideas of modern architecture. They have not looked backward in the construction of buildings that match the modern-day technology and the functions they intend to serve in the course of their operations. Criticism based on the consumption of space and lack of aesthetic appeal has influenced ideas of preservation and demolition of these activities. They have ensured that these buildings are modified in a way that gives them a chance to remain vital in the future. Most of them have not been demolished especially because of the costs that have been incurred in their construction. Modern buildings could be made vital through advancements that focus on their aesthetic nature and their functions. They should be made to accommodate a large range of activities instead of only serving particular purposes. This will ensure they stand the test of time without being isolated in the city. Their consumption would remain a vital part of their preservation and continued utilization into future generations.

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