(In Brief) Twentieth Century Architects

A list of powerhouse personalities with a Modernist bloodline.
Selections from copywriting artist biographies in 140 words or less; originally written for Artsy.net. ◊◊

 

LUDWIG MIES VAN DER ROHE
German, 1886-1969

Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe (known primarily by his surname) was a highly prolific architect, considered by historians to be one of the most important of the 20th century, and one whose work left a legacy in architectural theory. His designs were known for their emphasis on open spaces and function over ornamentation, and his favored materials were basic and utilitarian: steel, concrete, brick, and glass. He famously told a graduating class of designers: “You have to build up the world you want to live in.” Mies studied with Peter Behrens, working alongside Le Corbusier and Walter Gropius. He also served as the director of Bauhaus, and designed objects and furniture, including the iconic Barcelona Chair.

LE CORBUSIER
French-Swiss, 1887-1965

Le Corbusier was visionary writer, theorist, and architect, and a lesser-known painter. Born Charles-Édouard Jeanneret, he adopted his moniker when he began to author architectural designs and paintings. He had a fascination with proportion, modularity, and geometry, often taking his cue from classical architecture theory. His designs, however, were modernist and industrial. He fondly called houses “machines for living in,” and said that the basic principal for design is that “it must be beautiful.” Le Corbusier was interested in solving what he called the problem of urban co-habitation, and produced a great number of designs for apartment buildings. Le Corbusier worked at the atelier of Peter Behrens, the training grounds of other architectural masters like Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius.

ZAHA HADID
Iraqi-British, born 1950

Zaha Hadid is a prolific and visionary architect and designer, as well as the only female recipient of the Pritzker Prize for Architecture since its 1979 inception. Hadid’s structures are famous for their use of fragmented geometry and multiple entry points to the effect that a building looks different from various perspectives. She explains: “It’s all about promenading, being able to pause, to look out, look above, look sideways.” Hadid, who has a background in mathematics, studied at the Architectural Association in London, which is famous for its rejection of post-modern styles of architecture in favor of classic modernism. There, she worked under Elia Zenghelis and Rem Koolhaas, the latter of whom would become her first employer.

Leave a Reply