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Definition: International Style or Modernism from Collins English Dictionary


1 a 20th-century architectural style characterized by undecorated rectilinear forms and the use of glass, steel, and reinforced concrete

Summary Article: international style
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Architectural style, an early and influential phase of the Modern Movement, originating in Western Europe in the 1920s but finding its fullest expression in the 1930s, notably in the USA. It is characterized by a dominance of geometric, especially rectilinear, forms; emphasis on asymmetrical composition; large expanses of glazing; and white rendered walls. Examples are Walter Gropius's Bauhaus building, Dessau, Germany, (1925–26); Le Corbusier's Villa Savoye, Poissy, France, (1927–31); Alvar Aalto's Viipuri Library, Finland (now in Russia), (1927–35); and Mies van der Rohe's Barcelona Pavilion (1929).

Philip Johnson and Alfred Barr coined the term ‘international style’ in 1932 to describe the work of Le Corbusier, Gropius, and Mies van der Rohe (among others) during the preceding decade. It is sometimes used as another name for the Modern Movement as a whole.

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