The architects of the country seem to be divided in their opinion of the lasting influence of modernism in architecture. However, Thomas E. Tallmadge, in his article "Will This Modernism Last?"1 states:
This modern art, already established in our skyscrapers, will in my opinion soon affect the design of our homes. Pretty soon some distinguished architect will build in the modern manner a distinguished house for a distinguished client.....It will give courage, with its cachet of authority, to many a timid client and impatient architect, and a flood of houses in the same manner will follow. Thus will this modernism become fashionable and so established in the well-fortified realm of domestic architecture.
.... In the first place, the thirty-year duration of an architectural fashion is spent, if we agree that our present period of eclecticism began with the World's Fair in 1893, and in the second place the great half-millennial cycle of the Renaissance era has also reached its close.
There are other more practical and sensible reasons. Architects and designers are sick and tired of the Renaissance and the other historic styles. Bertram Goodhue, the idol of the drafting-room, shortly before his death abandoned the Gothic and embraced the new faith. Hood, Corbett, Holabird, Walker, brilliant young luminaries in the architectural galaxy and all of them Beaux Arts men, seem to be converts. The development of new materials, particularly steel and reenforced concrete, demands new forms of expression. The automobile, the aeroplane, the radio, the cinema, have changed the tenor of our lives, and have brought in their train demands for new and strange buildings.
Ralph Adams Cram in an article by the same title2 believes that the modernism will not last in itself but that it will leave an influence for good.
1 In House Beautiful, January, 1929.
2 In ibid. Reprinted by permission from House Beautiful magazine.
A number of architects have shown unrestricted expression in house design and although these most unique developments have not become common to any locality they undoubtedly show new possibilities in both planning and equipment.
The "Dymaxion House" model, planned by R. Buckminster Fuller, has been designed to show the possibilities of mechanics. This project represents three years of study. It is a large octagonal affair built on a mast.
Fig. 19. - An example of modern architecture in Berlin, Germany. The triangular window space provides for ample sun and light. (Photograph by courtesy of Copper & Brass Research Association.)
The outside walls are hollow, triangular panes of casein. The doors are inflated and roll up when a button is pressed. The air is filtered of dust and odors and always properly heated and humidified. The floors are also inflated. Mechanical devices reduce housework to a few minutes a day. The various decks are connected with an elevator running through the mast. The first story is a combination garage and hangar. The second story provides for the living quarters and the top deck for recreation and play. The idea of the project is to develop a factory-made house, which will cost only three or four thousand dollars and which may be installed within a few hours.1
1 For further information on the "Dymaxion House" see Housing, March, 1930.
Houses which move on axes to allow sunshine to enter all rooms have been erected in some parts of the country. In Germany a spherical sunlight house set up on concrete posts twenty or more feet above the ground has been erected. The designer believes that in addition to a maximum amount of sunlight and unobstructed view such houses will allow for much wider streets.