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  • Ken Haskin, architect

Nowhere is Everywhere-the International Style

The international style. In 1932 Henry-Russel Hitchcock and Phillip Johnson curated an exhibit at the MOMA with that name. It championed a new and unique architectural design that stripped buildings of cultural reference in ornament, structure, and joinery. Within the context of world cities they were clean and unique from the stacked temples dedicated to old world civilizations. The Seagrams building in NYC by Mies Van Der Rohe was the one of the first of these slabs, clothed in bronze, to take the stage. Soon Lever House rose across the street. Eventually as the international style proliferated world cities, mostly American, began to become homogenous and uniformly bland. One could not tell direction from street corner to street corner because everything looked the same. The uniqueness and wonder of the International Style had come from the fact that at first it was NOT international. Each building stood out and was unique as they were introduced into a city fabrick. When they proliferated they made each city begin to be the same---international in that wherever one went it looked and felt like the same place. Differences can be a good thing--especially when navigating the world. Got Architecture?

Mies Van Der Rohe's Seagrams building entry and plaza, NY, NY

Lever House by S.O.M.

Mies' Lake Shore Drive Apartments, Chicago, Illinois.  Lost in a sea of internation style

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