Architectural Functionalism

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Architectural Functionalism

Architectural Functionalism


In architecture the term functionalism refers to the basic architecture principle which is used by architects to design or build a structure in accordance with the purpose of that structure. This definition of the functionalism has been a cause of confusion and controversy within this discipline; and has been less self evident since its early introduction especially in relation to modern art and architecture. This paper in connection to functionalism will discuss use two specific examples from two different architects, while analyzing the introduction of the term function in architecture during the 20th century.

Discussion and Analysis

Functionalism as a trend in architecture first appeared in Germany and the Netherlands. Head and ideologue of functionalism was Walter Gropius, a classic example of his work in this direction can be considered as the Bauhaus building in Dessau. The second industrial revolution in the nineteenth century gave way to innovation, introducing factory buildings in the iron, steel, concrete and glass on a large scale and drawing attention to the need to build quality housing workers. Therefore to the new conceptualization of residential buildings and ultimately the entire city steps were taken important: in 1919, Walter Gropius founded the Bauhaus in Germany. It was a school that proposed fusion of architecture, sculpture, painting, and applied arts and crafts. There is exhaustively studied the relationship between form and function in the production of various objects and architectural buildings. Reflection on the form and function comes to modern architecture, under the functionalist paradigm. The French architect Le Corbusier advocated Functionalism (or rationalism) based on the following principles:

Practicality of spaces

Simple volume of the house

Removal of purely decorative elements

Window torn large due to the use of reinforced concrete

Penthouses in terrace

Columns which appear to sustain the building

Flexibility in the use of interior spaces.

Designing and building of structures based on the notion of functionalism can be found in the history to Vitruvian triad, where the term venustas (beauty), firmitas (fairness) were used along with utilitas (utility or convenience), as architecture's classic goals. The viewpoints of functionalist were characteristic of some gothic revival architects. The discussion in relation to aesthetics and functionalism are often considered as reciprocally exclusive selection, whereas the fact remain that there are architects who have been found combining all three goals of Vitruvian in their architecture (Pallasmaa, 1984).

Louis Sullivan in the early of 20th century has been traced popularizing the phrase 'form ever follows function', which was the clear reflection of his belief that every aspect or part of a structure shall be driven on the basis of the functionality of the structure like its size, spatial grammar, massing and others. The significance of this belief is narrated simply that if the functional factors of a building are complied than for sure architectural attractiveness will necessarily and naturally follow it (Sullivan, 1918).

However, the philosophy of Sullivan has not been appreciated much by the architecture since his designs and structure conflict ...
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