International Style


The International Style describes a trend in early 20th century architecture characterized by modern, pared-down buildings largely devoid of ornamentation. In 1932, art historian Henry-Russell Hitchcock and architect Philip Johnson co-curated Modern Architecture: International Exhibition—the first architecture show at the Museum of Modern Art—coining the term “International Style” to describe the streamlined designs of Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Le Corbusier. Their buildings were at the forefront of technological advancement, featuring cantilever constructions, iron and steel frames, and reinforced concrete. The exteriors of these modern buildings were lined with bands of windows, making them appear visually weightless. More familiarly, International Style skyscrapers like the Seagram Building in Chicago continue to dominate skylines across the globe.

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