“International Style” Architecture of the Modern Movement

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe: Esplanade Apartments and Lake Shore Drive Apartments
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe: Esplanade Apartments and Lake Shore Drive Apartments

International Style was associated with the architecture of the Modern Movement.

Alfred H. Barr Jr. coined the term in 1931 in conjunction with Philip Johnson and Henry-Russell Hitchcock’s 1932 “Modern Architecture: International Exhibition” (along with the accompanying book International Style: Architecture Since 1922) at the New York Museum of Modern Art, where Barr was director.

Barr recognised the first new paradigm of Western architecture since the 13th century in the works of Le Corbusier, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, J.J.P. Oud, Walter Gropius, and others. The name comes from a 15th-century European international painting style.

The exhibition introduced Mies van der Rohe’s work to Americans and toured the country for seven years, stopping at venues including the Sears, Roebuck store in Chicago and Bullock’s Wilshire department store in Los Angeles. Barr penned the catalogue’s foreword and encouraged publicist Edward Bernays to publicise the event, which received front-page publicity in The New York Times.

‘International Style’ Architects

American architects included Frank Lloyd Wright, Claus and Daub, Raymond and Fouhilhoux, Howe and Lescasze, and Tucker and Howell. Other architects included Alvar Aalto, Josef Albers, Gunnar Asplund, Hans Borkowsky, Marcel Breuer, Brinkman and Van Der Vlugt, Erik Bryggman, Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret, Eixenlohr and Pfennig, Otto Eisler, Joseph Emberton, Figini and Pollini, Brohuslav Fuchs, Walter Gropius, Haefeli, Haesler and Volker, Kellermiller and Hofmann, A. Lawrence Kocher and Albert Frey, H.L. de Koninck, Josef Kranz, Ludvik Kysela, Labayen and Aizpurua, J.W. Lehr, Andrรฉ Lurcat, Markelius and Ahren, Erich Mendelsohn and R.W. Reichel, Theodor Merrill, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Richard Neutra, J.J.P. Oud, Lilly Reich, Jan Ruhtenberg, Hans Scharoun, Hans Schmidt, Karl Schneider, Stam and Moser, Steger and Egender, Eskil Sun- dahl, Lois Welzenbacher, Mamoru Yamada, Nicolaiev and Fisenko, and various government architecture agencies.


Byars, M., & Riley, T. (2004). The design encyclopedia. Laurence King Publishing. https://amzn.to/3ElmSlL

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