Modern Architecture, 20th Century European Buildings, Design Style

Modernist Buildings in Europe

20th Century Architectural Article – Modern Architecture born in Belgium under the name of Art Nouveau

31 May 2017

Modern Buildings in Europe

4 Stunning Modernist Buildings in Europe

Although it’s mostly a decorative trend, Modernism was very important in painting, architecture, the minor arts and even sculpture. The Modernist architecture is an expensive and very ornate style, and the elements of a building try to include all possible arts. Characterized by its soft forms, curves, geometric and vegetative motifs, modern architecture was born in Belgium under the name of Art Nouveau.

It received other names depending on the country, for example Sezession in Austria, Modern Style in english speaking countries, Jugendstil in Germany and Scandinavia, Nieuwe Kunst in Netherlands or Liberty and Floreale in Italy.

The Hotel Tassel is a work of the Belgian architect Victor Horta. This building wanted to break up with the previous trend, and it changed the classic distribution of the rooms in the residences of Brussels. It was one of the first works of the architect and it uses new materials like iron, glass, ceramics or wood. Its staircase is well-known, with curved elements that look like undulating plants.

An important building within this style is the exhibition hall of the Vienna Sezession, also known as Sezession. This work of the architect Joseph Maria Olbrich has got a large golden dome that imitates laurel leaves and tree branches. An interesting feature is that under the dome you can read the slogan of the Sezession: “Der Zeit ihre Kunst, der Kunst ihre Freiheit” which means “To every age its art. To every art its freedom.”

Anyone can’t speak of modern architecture without mentioning Riga, in Latvia, considered the capital of this style because of the large number of modernist buildings it preserves. Alberta iela is one of the most representative streets of Riga’s Art Nouveau thanks to its striking apartment buildings built between 1901 and 1908. Very close to this street is Elizabetes iela, and it contains places designed by the Russian architect Mikhail Eisenstein, and buildings of Konstantīns Pēkšēns.

Casa Batlló, Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain:
Casa Batllo Casa Batllo Casa Batllo Casa Batllo
photos © Adrian Welch

The last striking building of this list is in Catalonia, Spain, and it was designed by the best known Spanish architect in the world: Antoni Gaudí. It’s the Casa Batlló, a complete reconstruction of a previous building, but Gaudí rebuilt it following his own personal style.

With a façade that reminds the sea waves and the figure of a dragon at the top of the building, this work is full of organic elements. The curved line, the undulations and the trencadís, made with pieces of ceramics, are things that characterize all the work of the architect.

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Casa Milà – La Pedrera, Passeig de Gracia, Eixample
Date: 1910
Design: Antoni Gaudí Architect
Casa Mila
photo © Adrian Welch

Casa Calvet, Eixample
Design: Antoni Gaudí Architect
Calvet House
photo © Adrian Welch

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Modernist Architecture by François Lévy

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