• During the 20th century some avant-garde
movements had their expression in architecture.
• In general, these styles are influenced by the
Bauhaus, and they are contemporary of it.
• These avant-garde architectonical experienced are
– De Stijl or Neoplasticism (Netherlands)
– Russian Constructivism.
• Associated with three important figures:
– the painters Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg, and
– the architect and furniture-maker Gerrit Rietveld
• De Stijl (or “the style”) was perhaps first developed
in Mondrian’s post-Cubist paintings, which consist
largely of broken horizontal and vertical lines.
• These works evolved into more spare geometric
compositions of orthogonal elements, which are
rendered in primary colors set against a white field.
• In 1917, Rietveld created the canonical “Red/Blue
Chair” and projected the Neo-Plastic aesthetic into
• Van Doesburg taught, for a time, at the Bauhaus,
enabling him to widen the De Stijl circle to artists as
the Russian El Lissitzky under whose influence, Van
Doesberg began “to project, as axonometric
drawings, a series of hypothetical architectural
• These buildings comprise an asymmetrical cluster of
articulated planar elements suspended in space
about a volumetric center.”
De Stijl architecture:
• The characteristics of this architecture were
established by van Doesburg:
– the form does not imitate any other style;
– especial attention is given to plastic elements, in addition
to function, mass, surface, time, space, light, colour and
– it is an economic and functional architecture;
– it does not have any form following fixed styles and the
building is not monumental, but a form open to the space
– the ground-plan is essential but in this the walls are not
closed even if they support punctually the building;
De Stijl architecture:
– it is an open architecture in which space and time are
– it is anti-cubic and surfaces follow a centrifugal trend at
the same time that symmetry and repetition are
– there is not a clear front in the building and colour is
included as a plastic value but, in general, it is a non
decorate architecture that aims to be a synthesis of the
– It uses the same primary colours that appear in
• The universalizing tendency of the De Stijl soon gave
way to the broader, more objective concerns of the
• The project of De Stijl became, through necessity
and evolution, a broader trajectory dedicated to
social concerns and conditions.
• The desire to create architecture for the people
through means of production, rather than an
architecture simply guided by aesthetic concerns,
became a rallying cry of a broader European
• Russian Constructivism was a movement that was
active from 1913 to the 1940s.
• It was created by the Russian avant-garde, but
quickly spread to the rest of the continent.
• Constructivist art is committed to complete
abstraction with a devotion to modernity, where
themes are often geometric, experimental and
• Objective forms carrying universal meaning were
far more suitable to the movement than subjective
or individualistic forms.
• Constructivist themes are also quite minimal, where
the artwork is broken down to its most basic
• New media was often used in the creation of works,
which helped to create a style of art that was
• An art of order was desirable at the time because it
was just after WWI that the movement arose, which
suggested a need for understanding, unity and
• Famous artists of the Constructivist movement
include Vladimir Tatlin, Kasimir Malevich, Alexandra
Exter, Robert Adams, and El Lissitzky.
• Tatlin's most famous piece remains his "Monument
to the Third International" (1919-20, Moscow), a 22-
ft-high (6.7-m) iron frame on which rested a
revolving cylinder, cube, and cone, all made of glass
which was originally designed for massive scale.
• After the 1917 Revolution, Tatlin (considered the
father of Russian Constructivism) worked for the
new Soviet Education Commissariate which used
artists and art to educate the public.
• During this period, he developed an officially
authorized art form which utilized 'real materials in
• His project for a Monument of the Third
International marked his first foray into architecture
and became a symbol for Russian avant-garde
architecture and International Modernism.