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Form & Function

Presentation on how form and function are one in modern architecture.

Michelle Poirier

on 27 March 2014

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Transcript of Form & Function

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History of Form vs. Function
Louis Sullivan was a Chicago-based architect in the 1900's known for building skyscrapers. He famously said, "Form follows function," which became the motto for architects for many decades. The designs of his buildings were based on suiting the needs of the people.
Architecture in Art
In America in the 1920's, a group of painters emerged called The Precisionists. Precisionist painters were exploring the idea that form enhances the function of architecture.
Your job for this project is to combine the ideals of the Precisionist painters, modern architects, and contemporary artists into one painting, meaning...
And the study of Architecture
Architecture is both the process and the product of planning, designing, and constructing buildings and other physical structures
Architecture is based primarily on the relationship between form and function.
FORM is how the structure is shaped
FUNCTION is the purpose it serves
According to Wright's design, visitors of the Museum would enter the building, take an elevator to the top, and enjoy a continuous art-viewing experience while descending along the spiral ramp.
Sullivan's apprentice, world famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, changed this common phrase to "Form and Function are One." This principle is thoroughly visible in the plan for the Guggenheim Museum in New York City.
They created paintings of American skyscrapers, suspension bridges, steel mills, and factory complexes.
Precisionists reduced the compositions of their paintings to simple shapes and underlying geometry to emphasize the form of the structures.
They used unexpected viewpoints and cropping to emphasize the abstract nature of the architecture as well.
"Control Tower" Jeffrey Smart"
Sometimes the FORM of a building
is strictly determined by the
FUNCTION of the building.
But sometimes FORM and FUNCTION are one.
What do you think the function of this building is?
How does the function of the current Abington High School influence its form?
What forms do you see in this building?
What do you think the function is?
What is clearly different in the form of this building than Sullivan's skyscrapers?
Wright's plan for the Museum was to "make the building and the painting a beautiful symphony such as never existed in the world of Art before." He created a building where function was the starting point (to continuously view art) but the form of the building enhanced the function.
"Brooklyn Bridge" Joseph Stella

How does this painting show that form enhances function?
"Brooklyn Bridge"
Joseph Stella
"Control Tower"
Jeffrey Smart
Charles Sheeler
"Stairs Provincetown"
Charles Demuth
What shapes are emphasized?
Charles Sheeler
What shapes are emphasized?
"New England Irrelevancies"
Charles Sheeler
Charles Sheeler
What does the cropping of this painting say about skyscrapers?
The Precisionists were influenced by the Futurists' celebration of technology and expression of speed through dynamic compositions.
They were influenced by Cubism's geometric simplifications and faceted, overlapping planes.
They were also influenced by contemporary photography which was utilizing sharp focus and dramatic lighting.
The Precisionists "big idea" was that technology would bring order to the modern world by enhancing the speed, efficiency, and cleanliness of our everyday life.
"By-Products Plant"
Joseph Stella
What elements of Futurism can you identify?
"After Sir Christopher Wren"
Charles Demuth
"Abstractions, Twin Lakes, Connecticut"
Paul Strand
"Wire Wheel"
Paul Strand
We will research modern architectural structures that enhance the speed, efficiency, or cleanliness of our everyday lives.
Using a high resolution photo of the structure, we will create acrylic paintings on paper that emphasize the form of the building by simplifying it into its underlying geometric structure.
For the critique, you will present your painting to the class and describe the function of the building and how the form and function are one.
What are some modern structures that enhance the speed, efficiency, or cleanliness of our everyday lives?
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