The New Architecture of Europe

The New Architecture of Europe

The New Architecture of Europe

The New Architecture of Europe

Excerpt

The introduction of rolled steel and reinforced concrete (both approximately 100 years ago), then plate glass, new forms of factory processed (i.e., laminated) wood, and most recently, plastics, has revolutionized man's building means. Moreover, when one demands totally fresh building types--skyscrapers, large hospitals, community halls, housing projects, expansive schools, industrial plants, and not forgetting that terror, the automobile, garages and suspension bridges--the result will inescapably and logically produce a new architecture. Furthermore, this has been and is being colored by a newly egalitarian society, one assailed by changes more profound and rapid than ever before in history.

Europe gave the world this new architecture. And Europe, with its manifold geographical, cultural, material, and national variations, has taken it to its most protean and significant heights.

This book has been written for those who, not satisfied with viewing aged masterpieces only, would like to examine personally the provocative postwar architectural achievements of Europe.

While it is unquestionably true that the United States can muster a greater number of significant postwar buildings--the word "postwar" must be underlined--than any single country elsewhere, there are few building types in the U.S. which are not surpassed in excellence by European examples. Indeed, excepting the contributions of our own pioneer genius, the late Frank Lloyd Wright (himself a powerful influence on European building), the present advanced state of U.S. architecture can be traced directly to the influx here of extraordinarily talented architects from the Continent, and to the influence of their pioneering, teaching, and achievement.

Strangely enough it is in large-scale thinking and large- scale construction techniques that the "small" countries of Europe almost invariably surpass us. The United States has, for instance, no housing authority that can touch the scope and quality of work being done in London or Stockholm, while American industrial planning is--in the factory-housing-community sense--embryonic . . .

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