Understanding Modernism in Architecture with Joe Cianciotto

Minimalism, a new approach to architecture is what primarily characterizes Modernism. Leaving out the bulky and settling for a sleek and chic look has become the current trend in building construction. Joe Cianciotto, the San Francisco-based architect has been fascinated by the artistry of spaces and has thus included them in his works of architecture. The influences he mainly uses in his work include modernism, neo-futurism, and postmodernism.

Modernism in architecture took prominence in the 20th century. The basis of this facet of architecture comprises some logically thought-out aspects. The criteria modernism considers important and therefore includes in its functioning are: to use materials rationally, to consider the functionality of the building, to eliminate the ornamentation, and to innovate the structure.

Some of the main features that architects such as Joe Cianciotto follow in their work include:

  1. The function is always followed by form – In this approach more attention is given to the functionality of the space than its form. Emphasis is given on horizontal lines while including asymmetry in the composition of the structure. A lot of geometric forms can be seen.
  2.  Materials are modernist – The materials used in these designs retained their naturalness as far as possible. It is believed that the natural appearance should not be hidden but pronounced and celebrated. Thus, reinforced concrete, curtain walls, ribbon windows, and steel frames, are some of the modernist materials used. 
  3.  Interiors based on an open plan – The common trend followed in building the interior based on modernism, is to have a lot of open space. The helps incorporate a lot of natural lighting into the space and gives the feeling of spaciousness.
  4.  Minimalistic – This kind of architecture has an inclination towards including only as much is required. The unnecessary ornamentation is excluded and a lot of the neutral or white palette is seen.
  5.  90-degree concept – The components used within this form of architecture follow the concept of being placed at a 90-degree angle to each other. 

Apart from the above-mentioned, one could find large windows on horizontal bands as a part of this architectural form. Joe Cianciotto hails from San Francisco, modernism here is different from the modernism in the architecture of other places. In fact, there are several variations to the approach to this kind of architecture. The American version is known as the ‘new brutalism’; this form emphasizes on harsh concrete forms and rigid lines.

The Dutch architects used modernism under the name of De Stijl and had an abundance of geometric lines, pronounced functionality, and bold primary colors. The Italians resorted to the use of more streamlined forms and long horizontal lines of modernism, the focus of which was speed, urgency, and dynamism. In the Nordic countries, modernism inspired the indulgence of construction of spaces into the principle that the buildings would be built primarily on the purpose that they were to serve. These buildings mostly had flat roofs, straight angles, and concrete forms.

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