10 architects of the first half of the 20th century that you should not forget

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Adolf Loos

Adolf Loos (December 10, 1870, Brno, Moravia - August 23, 1933, Kalsburg, Austria). His father, a craftsman, had a workshop where Adolf obtained his first lessons that were essential during the course of his career.  After several failures trying to enter the school of architecture, he finally started studying at the Professional School of Reichenberg (Austria), and between 1890 and 1893 at the Dresden Polytechnic without obtaining the title of architect at the end. In 1893 he traveled to the United States to see the Universal Exhibition of Chicago, where he completed his training during his stay as he was in contact with the Anglo-Saxon culture which influenced his aesthetic criteria. After visiting Londo and Paris, in 1896 he settled in Vienna working as an architect.

He worked as a furniture designer at the company F.O.Schmidt with his first order the Kohlmarkt Hall in 1897. In 1899 he revolutionized viennese architecture with the construction of the Café Museum and in 1908 wrote his famous article Ornament and crime, where he expounded his idea of ​​dispensing the ornament. He founded his own construction school in 1912, which had to close because of World War I, and in 1920 he was appointed chief architect of the Viennese City Council, resigning in 1924 because of his social principles, moving to Paris for the next five years.

He was a pioneer within the modern movement because he supported the no use of ornamentation and the break with historicism, being a precursor of the architectural rationalism. From his postulates, where he oppose art and utility and saw the architecture only from the utility field, he positioned against the modernists. These had formed the Viennese Secession and held an antagonistic view of architecture. He came into contact with the European artistic avant-gardes of the moment, such as Schönberg or Kokoschka.

The architecture of Adolf Loos is characterized by being functional and take into account the qualities of new materials. For him, architecture is different from the other applied arts, it is the mother of all; having to be functional and dispose of ornamentation.

One of his greatest concerns was to provide humans with a modern life, a western culture with no differences. In his magazine Das Andere, founded in 1903, he reflected all these problems, introducing the concept of Raumplan, where Loos awarded each space a different importance. According to the importance of the room and its vision within the total volume of the building, it had a different size and height. Thus he discovers the concrete space where human life unfolds.

Among his outstanding works we find the intervention at the Coffee Museum (Vienna, 1899), the Villa Karma (Switzerland, 1903-1906), the Steiner houses (Vienna, 1910), the Goldman Tailors and Salatsch, also known as Loos House, (Vienna, 1910) and the project Chicago Tribune Column (1922). Amongst his last works, some of them built in France, are the Tristan Tzara House (Paris, 1926), the Moller House (Vienna, 1928) and the Müller House (Prague, 1930), becoming an important influential teacher in the architectures of Gropius, Le Corbusier and other postwar architects.


Walter Adolph Georg Gropius was born in Berlin, son and grandson of architects, whose influence led him to study architecture in Munich and Berlin. After completing his studies, he worked in Peter Behrens' practice, to later become independent. Between 1910 and 1915, he worked primarily on the rehabilitation and expansion of Fagus Factory in Alfeld. With its thin metal structures, large glazed surfaces, flat roofs and orthogonal forms, this work was a pioneer of modern architecture.

In addition, Gropius founded the famous Bauhaus School, a design school that taught students to use modern and innovative materials to create buildings, furniture and original and functional objects. He was in charge of it first in Weimar and then in Dessau, from 1919 to 1928.

From 1926, Gropius was intensely devoted to the design of housing blocks, which saw the solution to social and urban problems, inaddition to betting for the racionalization in the construction industry, which would allow to build faster and more economically.

Before the First World War, Gropius was already part of a movement of aesthetic renovation, represented by the Deutscher Werkbund, which aimed to unite art with industrial design.

After the war, Gropius, in his role as director of the Sächsischen Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Arts and Crafts) and Sächsischen Hochschule für bildene Kunst (Superior School of Fine Arts), decides to merge the two schools under the name of "Staatliches Bauhaus "combining their academic goals and adding an architecture section. The building constructed for the school itself is a symbol of the most representative ideas of the Bauhaus: "form follows function".

In 1934 Gropius was forced to leave Germany due to the Nazi agressions suffered by the Bauhaus and his own work. He lived and worked for three years in England moving to America later, where he was professor of architecture at the Harvard Design School. In 1946 The Architects Collaborative, Inc., a group of young architects known as TAC, of which he was responsible of the direction and trainig of the memebers for several years.

Walter Gropius died in Boston in 1969, at the age of 86 years old. His buildings reflect the style of the Bauhaus, with new materials used in their construction and giving them a modern look, unknown at that time. Smooth facades and clear lines, lack of unnecessary decorative elements. This architecture has made of him one of the key leaders of the so-called 'International Style' in architecture.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was born in Aquisgran the 27th of Marz of 1886 and died in Chicago the 17th of August of 1969. He was active in Germany, from 1908 to 1938, when he moved to USA and where he was until his death. He was also considerate a “master” of the Modern Movement, since the 50s, and he was one of the fathers of this movement with Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier and Frank Lloyd Wright.

Mies van der Rohe, who in his childhood was guided by masters as Hendrik Petrus Berlage or Peter Behrens, he always kept tabs of the Villlet-Le-Duc’s rationalism or Karl Friedrich Schinkel eclectic classicism, having a strong connection with the architectural historicism. As he said in his manifesto “Baukunst und Zeiwille” about this: “it is not possible to move on looking back”.

In 1900 he began to work with his father in the stone workshop of the family and shortly afterward he move to Berlin to work with Bruno Paul in 1902, designing furniture. He planned his first house in 1907, the “Riehl House” in Neubabelsbers and worked from 1908 to 1911 in Peter Behrens’s studio. There he was influenced by structural technics and designs based on steel and glass, as the AEG project in Berlin. While he was in Behrens’s studio he designed the Perls House.

In 1912 he openned his own studio and projected a house in The Hague for Kröller-Müller marriage. The studio received few jobs in its first years, but Mies, contrary to architects as Le Corbusier, in his first years he already showed an architectural policy to follow, being an architect that changed little his architectural philosophy. To his epoch belonged the Heertrasse House and Urbig House as his principal projects.

In 1913 se move to the outskirts of Berlin with his wife Ada Bruhn with whom he would have three kids. The family broke up when Mies was posted to Romania during the World War I.

In 1920, Ludwig Mies changed his surname to Mies van der Rohe and in 1922 he joined as member to the “Novembergruppe”. One year later, in 1923, he published the magazine “G” with Doesburg Lisstzky and Rechter. During this period he worked in two houses, the Birck House and the Mosler House. In 1926, Mies van der Rohe held the post of chief commissioner of the German Werkbund exhibition, being his president this year. In this period he projected the Wolf House in Guden and the Hermann Lange House in Krefeld and in 1927, he met the designer Lilly Reich, in the house exhibition of Weissenhof, where he was director, and he planned a steel structure block for her.

In 1929, he received the project the German National Pavilion to the International Exhibition of Barcelona) rebuilt in 1986=, where he included the design of the famous Barcelona Chair.

In 1930, he planned in Brün – present Czech Republic -, the Tugendhat Villa. He managed the Dessau’s Bauhaus until his closure in 1933. The Nazism forced Mies to emigrate to the United States in 1937. He was designated chair of the Architecture department in Armour Institute in 1938, the one that later merged with the Lewis Institute, forming the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) and where he took the responsibility to build a considerable extent of the foundations of the Intitute from 1939 and 1958. One of the buildings of this complex is the Crown Hall, IIT (1950-1956).

In 1940, he met the person who would be his partner until his death, Lora Marx. He became citizen of the USA in 1944 and, one year later, he began with the Farnsworth House’s project (1945-1950). During this stage, in 1948, he designed his first skyscraper: the two towers of the Lake Drive Apartments in Chicago, which were finished in 1951. Shortly after, he planned other building of this typology, the Commonwealth Promenade Apartments, from 1953 to 1956.

In 1958 he projected his most important work: the Segram Building in New York. This building has 37 storeys, covered with glass and bronze, which built and planned with Philip Johnson. He retired from the Illinois Institute of Technology the same year. He also built more towers and complexes as: the Toronto Dominion Centre (1963-1969) and the Westmount Square (1965-1968) and designed the New Square and Office Tower of The City of London (1967).

From 1962 to 1968, he built the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin, which would be his last legacy to the architecture. The building that rose as exhibition hall is made of steel, glass and granite.

He died in Chicago the 17th of August if 1969 leaving behind a large legacy and influence to next generations.

The Mies van der Rohe’s most famous sentences are “Less is more” and “God is in the details”.


Lilly Reich (b. Berlin, Germany, 16 June 1885 - d. Berlin, Germany, 14 December 1947). In 1908 she moved to Vienna, where she worked at the Wiener Werkstätte, an association of artists, architects and designers who prusued the integration of all the arts in a common project, without distinction between major and minor arts, after training to become an industrial embroiderer, Lilly Reich began working briefly at the Viennese studio of architect, Josef Hoffmann. In 1911, she returned to Berlin and met Anna and Hermann Muthesius.

In 1912, she became a member of the Deutscher Werkbund (German Work Federation, an association founded in 1907 formed by industrialists, architects and artists that defined the German industrial design). In 1920, she became the first female member of its board of directors. She was also a member of the Freie Gruppe für Farbkunst (independent group for colour art) in the same organisation.

In 1914, she collaborated on the interior design of the Haus der Frau (woman’s house) at the Deutscher Werkbund exhibition in Cologne. She managed a studio for interior design, decorative art and fashion in Berlin until 1924. In the same year, she travelled to England and Holland with Ferdinand Kramer to view modern housing estates. Until 1926, she managed a studio for exhibition design and fashion in Frankfurt am Main and worked in the Frankfurt trade fair office as an exhibition designer.

Reich met Ludwig Mies van der Rohe in 1926 and collaborated closely with him on the design of a flat and other projects for the Deutscher Werkbund exhibition held in Stuttgart in 1928. In 1927, she moved into her own studio and apartment in Berlin. In mid-1928, Mies van der Rohe and Reich were appointed as artistic directors of the German section of the 1929 World Exhibition in Barcelona, probably owing to their successful collaboration on the Deutscher Werkbund exhibition in Stuttgart. In late 1928, Mies van der Rohe began to work on the design for the Tugendhat House in the Czech town of Brno. This was completed in 1930 and, alongside the Barcelona Pavilion, it is considered to be a masterpiece of modern architecture. The interior design for Tugendhat House was created in collaboration with Lilly Reich.

In 1932, Lilly Reich played an important role at the Bauhaus in Dessau and Berlin. In January 1932, the third Bauhaus director, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, appointed her as the director of the building/finishing department and the weaving workshop at the Bauhaus Dessau. She also continued to serve in this capacity at the Bauhaus Berlin, where she worked until December 1932.

In 1934, Reich collaborated on the design of the exhibition Deutsches Volk – Deutsche Arbeit (German people – German work) in Berlin. In 1937, Reich and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe were commissioned to design the German Reich exhibition of the German textile and clothing industry in Berlin. This was subsequently displayed in the textile industry section of the German Pavilion at the Paris World Exhibition of 1937. In 1939, she travelled to Chicago and visited Mies van der Rohe there. Following her return to Germany, Reich was conscripted to the military engineering group Organisation Todt (OT). After the war (1945/46), she taught interior design and building theory at Berlin University of the Arts. Reich ran a studio for architecture, design, textiles and fashion in Berlin until her death in 1947.

Frank Lloyd WRIGHT

Frank Lloyd Wright was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin in 1869 and died in Phoenix, Arizona in 1959. He is considered as one of the Modern Movement’s father in architecture and one of the most important architects of the XX Century, together with Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius. Wright was placed in Chicago, San Francisco, Spring Green (Wisconsin) and Phoenix (Arizona). His life as an active architect in USA was from 1889 to 1962 and in Japan between 1915 and 1923.

Wright was born in a protestant family. His father was preacher of the unitary church, of which he inherited a romantic view, in continuous searching of the universality and the non-conformism. In 1885 he began to study civil engineering in Wisconsin University and worked as draughtsman for an engineer-constructor. Two years later, in 1887 he placed in Chicago where he worked for Joseph Lyman Silsbee, an architect of picturesque nature. Shorty afterward he became a member of Louis Sullivan’s and Dankmar Adler’s studio, and he was the responsible of it in 1889. In this year he started the construction of his first house, for himself in the Oak Park of Chicago (1889-1890).

With Sullivan he made the Charley’s House in Chicago (1891-1892). But at the same time and independently of his work at Sullivan’s studio, he took part of the construction of the Wainwright Building (1890-1891) and the Schiller Building (1891-1892). In 1893 he broke up with Sullivan and he established on his own account, working as domestic architecture.

In 1901 he began his first great creative phase, the “Prairie Houses” period. In this phase, he made the space a real discipline. His most outstanding works were the Susan Lawrence Dana’s house in Sprinfield ¡1902-1904), Avery Coonley’s house in Riverside (1906-1908) and Frederick C. Robie’s house in Chicago (1906) and the unitary temple of Oak Park (1905-1908). He also built the Larkin Company Administration Building in Buffalo, New York (1902-1906) where he tacked the theme of the work space.

Wirght published in the Architectural Record magazine in 1908, the called 6 organic architecture principles; although he said he had written them in 1894. The principles are: simplicity and elimination of the superfluous; to each client, his life style and his house style; correlation among the nature, topography and architecture; adaptation and integration of the building in his environment and the harmony of the used materials (conventionalization); material expression; and at least, the analogy between the human qualities and the architecture.

In 1909 he decided to travel to Europe and he prepared two synoptic publications with the editor Wasmuth in Berlin. In this phase, Wright has already more than 130 works built. He came back to the United States in 1910. In 1922 he placed in the family lands in Spring Green. Here he planned the called Taliesin House, which would be his house, architecture studio, art gallery and farm. He would extend and modify it during the next years because of two fires in 1914 and in 1925.

Since 1913 he changed his ornamental language due to the European influence and his architecture became more geometric as a consequence, inclusively cubist. This change can be appreciated in the Midway Garden in Chicago (1913-1914) or in the Imperial Hotel of Tokio (1913-1923).

He planned after the Mrs. George Madison Millard’s house “The Miniature” in Pasadena (1923), the John Storer’s house in Hollywood (1923-1924) and the Samuel Freeman’s and Charles Ennis’s houses in Los Ángeles (1923-1924); houses built with reinforced rubblework and walls made of moulding concrete ashlars. But Wright moved to the Arizona desert in 1927, where he found other nature conditions to adapt to. Here he projected a hotel complex in San Marcos, near Chandler, Arizona (1928-1929), which is a growth model that Wright compared with the landscape.

In the 30s, the financial scandals and the consequences of the great depression prevented him to carry out many of his designs and he only projected the Kaufmann Family’s Vacation House: “Fallingwater”, in Bear Run, Pennsylvania; where Wright achieved to unify the nature, the technology and the social organization. In this phase, Wright used the term “Usonians” that referred to the union of the terms USA, utopia and “organic social order”. One example of that is the Herbert Jacops’s House in Madison, Wisconsin (1936-1937). Simultaneously, he built the de Johnson & Company’s headquarters in Racine Wisconsin (1936-1939) and his adjoining tower, where are the investigation laboratories (1943-1950). In 1943, his most important project came: the Art Museum “non objective”, put in charge by Solomon Guggenheim in the 5th Avenue in New York, finished in 1959.

In the 50s, Wright exaggerated increasingly the formal aspect of his buildings. His last projects were: the unitary church of Madison (1945-1951), the synagogue of Beth Sholom in Alkins Park, Pennsylvania (1953-1959), the Annunciation Church in Wautatosa, Wisconsin (1955-1961) and the Martin County’s civic centre in San Rafael, California (1957-1962).

Charles Édouard Jeanneret. LE CORBUSIER

Charles Édouard Jeanneret-Gris was born in La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland on October 6th, 1887. He is best known as Le Corbusier, one of the most important architects of the XX Century that together with Walter Gropius, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, and Frank Lloyd Wright rise up as the fathers of Modern Architecture. In his long career, he worked in France, Germany, Switzerland, the United States, Argentina, India and Japan.

Jeanneret was admitted to the Art School of La Chaux-de-Fonds in 1902. He knew Charles l’Éplattenier, his first teacher, and he became interested in architecture. He built his first house, Villa Fallet, in 1906, and one year later he set out on his first great journey to Italy. From 1908-1909 he worked in Perret Bother’s Studio, where he focussed on the employment of the concrete, and from 1910-1911 he coincided with Mies van der Rohe in this studio in Berlin.

In 1917, Charles Édouard Jeanneret set up finally in Paris. The next year he met the painter Amedée Ozenfant and he displayed his first paintings and wrote his first book, Après le Cubismo. In 1919 he founded the magazine l´Esprit nouveau, where he published unnumbered articles, signing with the pseudonym Le Corbusier for the first time.

He opened his own Studio in 1922, in the number 35 of the rue de Sèvres. In this decade when his laboratory epoch started he carried out a great number of activities as a painter, essayist, and writer. But also as an architect, he planned some of the most recognizable icons of modern architecture and developed the principles of the free plan. Some of these works are the Villa Roche-Jeanneret, the Villa Savoye in Poissy, and the Siedlungweissenhof’s houses built in Stuttgart in 1927. It should be pointed out that at the same time; he set out the “five points” of the architecture.

Le Corbusier projected “The contemporary three million population city” in 1922 and in 1925 put forward the Voisin plan of Paris, which is one of his most important urban proposals. Three years later, in 1928, through his initiative, the CIAM was created and in 1929 he published his first edition of the Oeuvre Complète.

In the 30s, he collaborated with the magazine Plans and Prélude, where he became enthusiastic about urbanism and he started, in 1930, to elaborate the drawings of the “Radiant City” as a result of the “Green City” planned for Moscu, his project would be summarized in the “Radiant Villa”, which was enclosed with the projects for Amberes, Stockholm, and Paris. By 1931 he presented Argel, a proposal that composed the Obus Plan. And in 1933 the 4th CIAM passed and there he edited the Athens Document.

Le Corbusier, in 1943, developed the “Three Human Establishments Doctrine” and founded the Constructors Assembly for Architectural Renovation (ASCORAL). He made the project the Unite d´habitation of Marsella in 1952, which was the first one of a series of similar buildings. At the same time, the works of Chandigarh in India began, where he planned the main governmental buildings. Nevertheless, in the same decade, he worked in France too, in the Notre-Dame-du-Haut chapel in Ronchamp, in the convent of La Tourette in Éveux, Jaoul’s houses in Neuilly and the Unites d´habitation of Rézé-lès-Nantes, Briey-en-Forêt and Firminy.

He wrote and published his worldwide known study of the Modulor in 1948 followed by a second part in 1953. Meanwhile the next Le Corbusier’s books had a more autobiographic nature, among them the Le poème de l'angle droit (1955), l'Atelier de la recherche patiente (1960) and Mise aupoint (1966) stand out.

Le Corbusier, at the end of his life, created many projects that would not be built, for example, a calculus center for Olivetti in Rho, Milan; a congress in Strasbourg, the France embassy in Brasilia and a new hospital in Venice.

He died drowned on the 27th of August of 1965 in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin.

Josep Lluís Sert

Josep Lluís Sert (Barcelona, ​​July 1st, 1902 - March 15th, 1983) was a son of aristocrats and a republican who dedicated himself to introducing modern architecture in Spain. During his life he became interested in the work of Antoni Gaudí and Josep Maria Sert, his uncle.

He was a student at the School of Architecture of Barcelona. He traveled to Paris in 1926, where he studied the work of Le Corbusier, whom he met there. After a year, he joined the studio of Le Corbusier, with whom he collaborated for several years. In the year 1930 he began to project his first buildings. Of this period we can highlight the Antituberculosis Dispensary and the Housing Building on Muntaner Street, located in Barcelona.

Sert was one of the founders of GATEPAC, Grupo de Artistas y Técnicos Españoles para el Progreso de la Arquitectura Contemporánea. The purpose was to be the Spanish branch of the International Congress of Modern Architecture (CIAM). This was constituted by the initiative of Fernando García Mercadal in 1930 to extend the rationalist style that was taking place in Spanish architecture. In Catalonia the name became GATCPAC, Grup d'Arquitectes i Técnics Catalans del Progrés de l'Arquitectura Contemporánea. In addition, Josep was present at the initial CIAM meetings since 1929. Josep, after Le Corbusier, would end up being the president. The most relevant members were José Manuel Aizpurúa, Antoni Bonet i Castellana, Fernando García Mercadal, Josep Lluís Sert and Josep Torres Clavé.

After the Civil War was persecuted by the government of the dictatorship. He was disqualified from exercising his office, so in 1941 he left for the United States. There he created the Town Planning Associates study of architecture and urbanism that worked on numerous urban planning plans for cities in South America, such as the pilot plan for Havana.

He worked as an architecture professor at Yale University. Later he became dean of the School of Design at Harvard University from 1953 to 1969. With his current influence, he set up programs of architecture, landscape and urban design that would enlighten many of the leading architects of our time. He also participated in the Advisory Council of the Grham Foundation in Chicago, Illinois. During that period of time he founded a new architectural firm in Massachusetts, which ended up associating with Ronald Gourley and Huson Jackson. Joshep Zalewski was the Associate and continued to be in the firm Sert, Jackson and Associate founded in 1963. The firm was responsible for a large number of projects known as the Maeght Foundation, the Miró Foundation and a series of buildings for Harvard University as the Science Center, Peabody Terrace or the Holyoke Center. Sert collaborated with Le Corbusier in 1961 in the United States to design the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard.

Rosselló housing building (1929).
Duclós House (1930).
Josefa López House Building (1931).
Bloc House (1932-1937).
J. Roca Jewelry (actualmente, Tous) (1934).
Antituberculous Dispensary (1934-1938).
Project City of Rest and Vacation(1934).
Project City of Rest and Vacation (1935).
Pavilion of the Spanish Republic (1937).
Republic Pavilion (Posthumous Reproduction of 1992).
(Old) United States Embassy in Iraq (1955-1960).
Joan Miró's Studio (1956), Sert House(1957-1958).
Holyoke Center (1958-1965).
Maeght Foundation (1959-1964).
Center for the Study of the World's Religions (1960).
Peabody Terrace (Harvard Student Apartments) (1962-1964).
Campus of the University of Boston (1960-1967).
Joan Miró Foundation (1972-1975).
Les Escales Park (1973).
Science Center (1973).
Residence of MIT students (New House) (1973).
Caixa Catalunya headquarters project (1976).
La Porta Catalana (1977).

Gold Medal of Architecture of Spain in 1981.
Gold Medal of the Generalitat in 1981.
AIA Gold Medal of America 1981.
Gold Medal of Merit in the Belllas Artes of Spain in 1982.


Oscar Niemeyer was born in 1907 in the hillside district of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and studied at the Academy of Fine Arts there. Niemeyer’s architecture, conceived as lyrical sculpture, expands on the principles and innovations of Le Corbusier to become a kind of free-form sculpture.

In 1938-39 he designed the Brazilian Pavilion for the New York World’s Fair in collaboration with Lucio Costa. His celebrated career began to blossom with his involvement with the Ministry of Education and Health (1945) in Rio de Janeiro. Niemeyer’s mentor, Lucio Costa, architect, urban planner, and renowned pioneer of Modern architecture in Brazil, led a group of young architects who collaborated with Le Corbusier to design the building which became a landmark of modern Brazilian architecture. It was while Niemeyer was working on this project that he met the mayor of Brazil's wealthiest state, Juscelino Kubitschek, who would later become President of Brazil. As President, he appointed Niemeyer in 1956 to be the chief architect of Brasilia, the new capital of Brazil, his designs complementing Lucio Costa’s overall plans. The designs for many buildings in Brasilia would occupy much of his time for many years.

"As an architect," he states, "my concern in Brasilia was to find a structural solution that would characterize the city's architecture. So I did my very best in the structures, trying to make them different with their columns narrow, so narrow that the palaces would seem to barely touch the ground. And I set them apart from the facades, creating an empty space through which, as I bent over my work table, I could see myself walking, imagining their forms and the different resulting points of view they would provoke.

Internationally, he collaborated with Le Corbusier again on the design for the United Nations Headquarters (1947-53) in New York, contributing significantly to the siting and final design of the buildings. His own residence (1953) in Rio de Janeiro has become a landmark. In the 1950s, he designed an Aeronautical Research Center near Sao Paulo. In Europe, he undertook an office building for Renault and the Communist Party Headquarters (1965) both in Paris, a cultural centre for Le Havre (1972), and in Italy, the Mondadori Editorial Office (1968) in Milan and the FATA Office Building (1979) in Turin. In Algiers, he designed the Zoological Gardens, the University of Constantine, and the Foreign Office.

Charlotte Perriand

Charlotte Perriand (Paris, 24 October 1903 - Paris, 27 October 1999, Paris, France) has been known through her collaborations with Le Corbusier and Fernand Léger. However, at a time when it was rare for a woman to be an architect, designer and artist, Perriand's career spanned three quarters of a century and spanned places as diverse as Brazil, Congo, England, France, Japan, French New Guinea, Switzerland, and Vietnam.

Between 1920 and 1925 she attended the Ecole de l'Union Centrale des Arts Décoratifs, where she studied furniture design. She also attended classes at the Grande Chaumière Academy from 1924 to 1926. Frustrated by the approach based on craftsmanship and the Beaux-Arts style defended by the school, Perriand moved away from anything of a traditional nature.

She became known at the age of 24 with her Bar sous le Toit made of chromed steel and anodized aluminum which was presented at the Salon d'Automne in 1927. Shortly thereafter she began her journey of more than ten years together with Pierre Jeanneret and Le Corbusier. In 1927 she established her first studio of her own.

She collaborated with Le Corbusier on numerous architectural projects, designing the equipment for different dwellings such as the villas La Roche-Jeanneret, Church en Ville-d'Avray, Stein-de Monzie and the Villa Savoye, as well as the interiors of the Swiss Pavilion in the University City and the Shelter City of the Armée du Salut, both in Paris. She also worked with him on the definition of the minimum cellule (1929).

In 1937 Charlotte Perriand left Le Corbusier's studio and turned her attention to more traditional materials and more organic forms. She devoted herself to research in terms of prefabrication of modulated dwellings in which she collaborated with Jean Prouvé. Perriand's collaborations multiply throughout her career, working with architects such as Lucio Costa, Niemeyer, Candilis, Josic & Woods.

Her relationship with Le Corbusier did not end there, as she would collaborate with him again after the war, developing the first prototype of the integrated kitchen for the Marseille Room Unit.

The project where all her previous explorations on prefabrication architecture, standardisation, minimum cell, industrialisation and materials come together was the winter complex of Les Arcs in the French Savoy. Between 1967 and 1982, Perriand designed and built the three ski resorts of Les Arcs, located at an altitude of 1600, 1800 and 2000 metres, where 18,000 people had to be accommodated. The initial idea was to work with the grouping of minimum cells.


Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) qualified as an architect from Helsinki Institute of Technology (later Helsinki University of Technology and now part of the Aalto University) in 1921. He set up his first architectural practice in Jyväskylä. His early works followed the tenets of Nordic Classicism, the predominant style at that time. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, he made a number of journeys to Europe on which he and his wife Aino Marsio, also an architect, became familiar with the latest trends in Modernism, the International Style.

The pure Functionalist phase in Aalto’s work lasted for several years. It enabled him to make an international breakthrough, largely because of Paimio Sanatorium (1929-1933), an important Functionalist milestone. Aalto had adopted the principals of user-friendly, functional design in his architecture. From the late 1930s onwards, the architectural expression of Aalto’s buildings became enriched by the use of organic forms, natural materials and increasing freedom in the handling of space.

From the 1950s onwards, Aalto’s architectural practice was employed principally on the design of public buildings, such as Säynätsalo Town Hall (1948-1952), the Jyväskylä Institute of Pedagogics, now the University of Jyväskylä (1951-1957), and the House of Culture in Helsinki (1952-1956). His urban design master plans represent larger projects than the buildings mentioned above, the most notable schemes that were built being Seinäjoki city centre (1956-1965/87), Rovaniemi city centre (1963-1976/88) and the partly built Jyväskylä administrative and cultural centre (1970-1982).

From the early 1950s onwards, Alvar Aalto’s work focused more and more on countries outside Finland, so that a number of buildings both private and public were built to his designs abroad. Some of his best-known works include Villa Mairea, Noormarkku, Finland (1937–1939), the Finnish Pavilion at the 1939 New York World's Fair, Baker House, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA (1947–1948), Helsinki University of Technology, Espoo, Finland (1949–1966), The Experimental House, Muuratsalo, Finland (1953) or Essen opera house, Essen, Germany (1959–1988).

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