Avant-garde architecture

Avant-garde architecture is architecture which is innovative and radical. There have been a variety of architects and movements whose work has been characterised in this way, especially Modernism. Other examples include Constructivism, Neoplasticism (De Stijl), Neo-futurism, Deconstructivism, Parametricism and Expressionism.[1]

"Collectivist House" – a 1921 sketch by Nikolai Ladovsky, leader of the Rationalist movement


Avant-garde architecture has been described as progressive in terms of aesthetics. However, it is noted for covering a broad range of aesthetic and political spectrum. It is associated with the liberal left but also cited as apolitical, right-wing, and conservative in its politics and aesthetics.[2] It is also considered a stream within modernism that is anti-elitist and open to the contamination of mass culture.[3]

The concept draws from the idea of integration of life and art. In the De Stijl Manifesto V, it was stated that art and life are not separate domains, hence, the argument that art is not an illusion or disconnected from reality.[4] This view pushed for the construction of an environment that is according to the creative laws derived from a fixed principle.[4]

A conceptualization by Le Corbusier described avant-garde architecture as constructed for the pleasure of the eye and comes with "inner cleanness, for the course adopted leads to a refusal to allow anything at all which is not correct, authorised, intended, desired, thought-out."[5]


Critics note that avant-garde architecture contradicts the very definition of architecture because its position is contrary to its most specific characteristics.[3] There are critics who state that it stands in opposition to the architecture of the classical antiquity.[6] Its importance is said to be exaggerated since it is always marginal to any decisive change.[7] It has been described as part of modern architecture that is the most rarefied and the least social in terms of orientation.[8] It is also noted that many avant-garde architectural projects do not fare well once evaluated according to suitability principles.[9] According to Eileen Gray, it is obsessed with the external at the expense of the interior.[5]

Another argument states that avant-garde architecture is an experiment or that a project is a vehicle for research so that it leads to a built manifesto.[10] For this reason, the avant-garde architect exploits the resources of his clients to achieve his purposes, which go beyond his client's narrow and private interests.[10]


Schools and movementsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Heynen, Hilde (2004), "Avant Garde", Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Architecture, Vol. 1, Taylor & Francis, pp. 97–99, ISBN 978-1579584337 |volume= has extra text (help)
  2. ^ Berke, Deborah; Harris, Steven (2012). Architecture of the Everyday. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. p. 146. ISBN 1568981147.
  3. ^ a b Baird, George (2003). The Space of Appearance. MIT Press. p. 354. ISBN 978-0-262-52343-1.
  4. ^ a b Lahiji, Nadir (2019). An Architecture Manifesto: Critical Reason and Theories of a Failed Practice. Oxon: Routledge. ISBN 978-0-429-88506-8.
  5. ^ a b Rault, Jasmine (2016). Eileen Gray and the Design of Sapphic Modernity: Staying In. Oxon: Routledge. p. 19. ISBN 9780754669616.
  6. ^ Tournikiotis, Panayotis (2002). Adolf Loos. Princeton Architectural Press. ISBN 978-1-56898-342-4.
  7. ^ Hays, K. Michael (1998). Oppositions Reader: Selected Essays 1973-1984. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. p. 391. ISBN 1-56898-152-X.
  8. ^ Baird, George (2003). The Space of Appearance. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. p. 354. ISBN 0-262-02378-4.
  9. ^ Young, James O. (2003). Art and Knowledge. London: Routledge. p. 143. ISBN 0415256461.
  10. ^ a b Schumacher, Patrik (2011). The Autopoiesis of Architecture, Volume I: A New Framework for Architecture. Chichester, West Sussex: John Wiley & Sons. p. 134. ISBN 978-0-470-77299-7.