DESST 2521 History Theory

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Create an essay or research on the topic.

Moderne or Modern? Compare four South Australian pre-1950 examples. For discussion, we will choose two civic or commercial buildings and two domestic buildings.

What similarities and differences are there?


Architecture is not just an art, but also a science. It deals with all aspects of building organization and maintenance.

The evolution of technology and advances in the study and application of architecture have influenced the history of architecture.

When studying the history of architecture, one can observe trends, styles and designs.

There are many types of architecture, among them modern and traditional.

Moderne is also known by the terms Streamline Modern Architecture or Art Moderne.

The Moderne style developed in the 1930s, after the great Depression. It is also a type art Deco Architecture.

The distinctive characteristics of this type of architecture include a flattened roof (or no roof at all), lines in the wall or horizontal grooves, smooth walls surfaces, smooth edges, smooth wall surface, subdued colours, glass brick walls and windows at the corners.

This style of architecture has a polished and smooth surface that highlights the buildings’ horizontal lines.

These buildings are typically taller than they need to be and more symmetrical.

This design was adopted by industries that make other appliances and equipment, as well as industrial and domestic.

It is important to note that buildings in this style are often devoid of ornaments or decorations.

Modern architecture buildings share some similarities with naval elements like ships.

They both have rounded windows.

This type of architecture was adopted by most commercial buildings built in the 1930s.

This style was used by most of the buildings that were constructed. They were used as entertainment venues, terminals at airports, and stations for public transport buses.

This type of architecture was also used by movie theatres.

Some of the most well-known buildings built in this style are the Coca-cola bottling facility in Los Angeles and the Normandie Hotel San Juan, as well as the Ford building San Diego.

This style of architecture had its advantages.

People who have low tolerance for multiple colors or are generally color-phobic found single colors to be appealing.

Many people and architects find subdued color schemes to be elegant. This allows the focus to be on the geometrical design.

People who disliked ornamentation in buildings and preferred simple structures preferred the use of less or none.

Construction of buildings with this type of architecture cost less than modern architecture.

It did not use expensive new construction technology.

It was easy to construct large public spaces.

This is why the majority of theatres and entertainment centers were built using the streamline moderne design.

Modern style required less expertise than the streamline moderne style.

This was a benefit because it made it easy to find human resources, such as engineers.

Since the style didn’t require many details, architects and engineers did not require any specialized expertise.

The use of advanced technology, however, was not a requirement. This in turn meant that the architects and engineers did not need to have advanced technical knowledge.

While the style has many advantages, it also has its drawbacks.

First, the style’s horizontally long design meant that construction required a lot of space.

Because they occupied larger spaces, this could lead to congestion in cities.

The developers, who wanted the style but had very limited space, were hit hard.

This design was not appropriate for small-sized landowners.

The style didn’t suit those who preferred ornamented buildings as it contained fewer or none ornaments.

Modern Architecture is also known by the name modernist architecture.

This style evolved from technological advancements and new construction methods.

These innovations were mainly in steel, concrete reinforced with glass and the use of glass.

The 20th-century style saw its emergence and survived through World War II and the 1980s.

New inventions in engineering and construction made it possible to create taller buildings that were more durable. This style became very popular.

The improved technology of glass, in this case cast plate glass in its glass manufacturing, has allowed windows to be made that are larger than those that were before.

Some modernist buildings made use this style include the Eiffel Tower, Flatiron and Prudential buildings in New York City, and the Woolworth Building with its neo-Gothic crown.

These types of architecture offer many benefits, such as the ability to build tall buildings that are lighter and stronger.

The new developments in engineering and construction made this possible.

Constructing skyscrapers was possible because they were not only iconic but also attracted tourists like the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

The design also allowed for efficient utilization of land resources.

Even small areas of land could be used to build many-story buildings. This allowed architects to meet their desired building capacity.

People found the ornamented buildings appealing because they were beautiful.

They used mixed colors, which also added to their beauty.

This design allowed developers to express their preferences and color tastes in the buildings they built.

Strong materials were used to build the buildings.

This was economically profitable as it would reduce the cost of reconstructions.

It was possible to create buildings tailored to the purpose using this style.

These buildings were easy to use as multiple offices and facilities could be accommodated in the same building.

Because the design utilized storey buildings, cities and towns were less congested than modern designs that occupy larger spaces, causing congestions (Treib 2002).

It was possible to fit more buildings into smaller spaces.

Developers favored the buildings because they were versatile and had good lighting.

Modern architectural designs encouraged creativity and imagination and allowed for flexibility.

They could accommodate many ideas and were very flexible. This made them extremely popular with many people because of their uniqueness.

The faster and more efficient technology made them easy to erect.

Due to their lighter construction, they were easier to erect. This property allowed them to build multiple-story buildings while still ensuring durability.

Reinforced concrete and steel were used to improve the building’s stability, which led to buildings that are safer and less likely to collapse.

Modern architecture cannot be identified with any sociolinguistic group, culture or society. This was an advantage because the style can be adopted across cultures without cultural victimization or influence.

Modern architecture was not without its flaws.

First, modern architecture required more funding than streamline modern.

The new technologies that the designer used were costly to acquire, so anyone who was interested in the design but couldn’t afford it had to pay more.

Building tall buildings such skyscrapers required skilled labor and knowledge of the latest building technology.

This made it difficult for well-established and highly skilled architects and engineers.

Access to high-quality materials like steel and glass was a problem at times, as only a few industries had them when technology was invented.

The cost of modern architecture was typically higher than that of other styles.

This was a significant barrier as only the most wealthy could afford high-tech materials.

Modern architecture also has the disadvantage of destroying traditional designs that were culturally significant.

Many buildings with cultural significance were destroyed or rebuilt into modern designs as a result of the adoption modern architecture.

Modernization has meant that only a few traditional designs remain.

This is a problem for the younger generation, who can’t identify with or refer to traditional designs.

Due to the variety of building designs used in urban areas, it is difficult to identify urban areas with certain designs.

In ancient cities, for example, many buildings were designed in a specific way that the city could identify with.

With the advent of modern architecture, however, this was no longer possible as every building would be built in its own way.

Australia has both modern and minimalist architecture. Many buildings have been built in these styles.

Australian architecture has developed from Aboriginal and Indigenous styles to adopt international ones from Europe, the West, and the Middle East over the years (Sharp (2002)).

Popular architects were able to construct structures in these architectural styles, some of them being Australians and others from Europe and America.

They imported designs from their home countries that had been used in other architectural styles.

South Australia has notable examples for streamline architecture, such as the Minerva Theater in South Wales and the Minerva Building.

This building was built in 1937. It reflects a lot of European and American architectural styles.

It was intended to be an entertainment centre for the public. The ultimate goal was comfort.

It is a smooth-curving structure with flat roof and polished edges.

The windows are curved at the corners and evenly distributed.

The building is plain in appearance and has only one color: white.

The building is significantly longer horizontally than it is tall. This is a characteristic of streamline modern architecture (Jackson, Johnson, 2002).

In design, the Parliament House in Adelaide houses South Australia’s parliament seats.

The architecture is modernist (Cosgrove (2009).

The structure has clean, open spaces that are more streamlined.

The building has many windows to let light in.

It uses steel and reinforced metal because of its improved construction technology.

It was constructed using modern glass.

Multiple stories make the building more versatile, as it houses different parliament offices in one building. It is therefore more useful for many purposes and operations (Morgenthaler. n.d.).

They are distinguished by the stark contrasts in architecture between Minerva Theatre’s Minerva Theatre, and Parliament House.

Because every architectural design has its own unique features, this is why they are so different.

There was also a difference in their functionality.

Both these historic buildings are architecturally famous.

They can be used as historical markers and to display South Australia’s changing cultural trends.

They serve as reference points and landmarks for Australia.

They were both designed and built by well-known architects.

The buildings have seen many renovations and remodeling over time but have maintained their original architectural designs.

They represent Australia’s diversity and openness.

The Beaumont House and Wyldefel Gardens, two examples of domestic architecture that are modern and sleek moderne, are both examples.

Wyldefel Gardens is a collection of residential apartments in Sydney that was built in 1934.

John Brogan, an architect inspired by Art Moderne architecture was the one who designed these apartments.

They are painted in one color (white), and have noticeable curves and smooth edges.

The apartments’ windows are made of curved glass and are found right at the edge of the buildings.

Claremont House, also known by Claremont, was built initially for an Anglican bishop. It was later transferred to National Trust of South Australia as a result of his return to Australia.

Modernist architecture was used for the construction.

The design of the building was focused on light, space, and versatility.

All modern streamline buildings shared the same features, both for domestic and commercial buildings.

The Wyldefel Gardens, and the Metro Theatre have the same features as streamline moderne.

They have smooth curves and rounded edges, a longer horizontal alignment that the vertical, flat roofs, monochrome colours, and curved windows.

Their main difference lies in their functionality and capacity.

Wyldefel Gardens have added additional details, such as manicured lawns, which enhance the overall beauty and appeal of the apartments.

The Beaumont House, Parliament House, and Parliament House all share the same situation.

Because they were built using the same style of architecture, they share many of the modern architectural features such as proper lighting and versatility.

But they do have different capacities and functionality.

The Parliament House, unlike the Beaumont House, has many floors.

You can see that architecture has evolved throughout history.

These are crucial in helping us understand the evolution and appreciation of architecture.

Sennott, 2004. We can also gain a better understanding of the cultural preferences of certain regions by studying the dominance of certain architectural designs (Sennott).

Pre-historic sites can be dated by architectural designs that were created during specific historical periods.

Important is the ability to accommodate different needs with different architectural designs (Dickson 2010).

Some people may prefer certain colors or architectural decorations, for example.

There are many styles that would suit every taste and preference.

Modern architecture is now post-modern.

In engineering and the construction industry, there are new discoveries and inventions.

The importance of environmental sustainability is increasing. It is important to use environmentally friendly construction materials that don’t cause any environmental damage (Osborne & Lewis, 2012).

Prehistoric architects laid the foundations for architecture.

Modern architects continue to improve on their designs, and have made use of the latest technology available to them.

Australia is home of many famous architectural landmarks, including the Sydney Opera House, Shrine of Remembrance (Melbourne), the Academy of Science –Australian National University and the Phoenix Tower, both in Melbourne. There are also the Council House in Western Australia, which was built by McCartney in 2007.

Australia is known for its diverse architectural styles.

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Edgecliff: Jane Curry Publishing.

Addict to architecture.

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Jackson, D., and Johnson, C.

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Greenwood Press. Westport, Conn.

The most famous Australian houses.

Gunyah, Goondie & Wurley.

St Lucia, Qld.

University of Queensland Press.

The Meaning of Modern Architecture.

Lewis, A. and Osborne C.

Carina (Qld): Chris Osborne Publishing.

Landscape Architecture in Australia.

Sydney: University of New South Wales Press.

Encyclopedia of 20th century architecture.

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Images Publishing Group.

Thalis P. and Cantrill P. (2013).

Public Sydney.

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The Architecture of landscape, 1940-1960.

Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

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