Architecture and Furniture Research

Neoclassical Architecture and Art Deco Architecture


Neoclassical Architecture

Popular in the mid 1800’s, this style was influenced by classic architecture styles from antiquity, like Greek and Roman. Common features of neoclassical architecture include columns or decorative pillars, decorative pediments above columns, and carved marble statues or reliefs. Neoclassical buildings were often very large, and its elements were usually very massive and grand, such as huge lion statues, or extremely wide and tall pillars.

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Art Deco Architecture

Popular in the 1930’s and 1930’s, this style was influenced by Egyptian architecture from ancient times, as king tut’s tomb was uncovered around this time, and travel to exotic lands, like Egypt, was readily available. It was in response to the very flowery motifs and curvy lines of the Art Nouveau movement that preceded it, in that Art Deco involved straight, precise lines and geometric shapes. Art deco combined fine craftsmanship with luxury materials, such as gold and stainless steel.

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Neoclassical Architecture

The revival of Greek and Roman influences in architecture during the mid 1800’s in america, can be attributed to the american renaissance, which took place in the later half of the century. During this time, America was a fairly new country, and had implemented many radically new ideas in its government, inspired by the democracy of the roman empire from antiquity. Influenced by the enlightenment that preceded it, classical works were revived in an effort to champion rationality, thus classical architecture was also revised. The Brooklyn Bridge is a prime example of neoclassical style with reference to a a bridge.

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Art Deco Architecture

During the time in which Art Deco was most popular, was during the tumultuous time between the two world wars that rocked the world in the early 1900’s. Art deco saw its beginnings after WWI had ended during the roaring twenties. As a response to the organic and flowing shapes of Art Nouveau, Art Deco exuded luxury and extravagance in its style, which reflected the state of America’s prosperity before the Great Depression. When the Great Depression hit, many architectural projects were commissioned to give people work, known as the New Deal. These projects, such as bridges, were often built in an art deco style. The Golden Gate Bridge is also a good example of the art deco style in the 1930’s.

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Historical Influences

Neoclassical Architecture

As said before, neoclassical architecture was historically influenced by the architecture of the Greek and Romans in ancient times. Many neoclassical buildings have columns and a pediment in the front, similar to the ancient Greek temple pictured below. Arches and pilasters seen on the coliseum found in Rome, the capital of the Ancient Roman Empire, are also commonly seen on neoclassical buildings and bridges, like arches of the Brooklyn Bridge.

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Art Deco Architecture

On the other hand, Art Deco, about a century later than Neoclassical, was also influenced by ancient architecture and design. Taking influence from ancient Egyptians this time, Art Deco had very prominent designs inspired by sunbursts, papyrus plants, and winged shapes, along with geometric patterns and shapes. Along with begin influence by the ancient Egyptians, Art Deco was influenced by Art Nouveau, which came before it, but was more geometric and sharp.

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Technological Influences

Neoclassical Architecture

Following the rebirth if classical style and thought, the industrial revolution had taken place. Such developments of mass production in factories, use of steam, and the invention of new machines and tools, along with the streamlined factory system, made recreating the once tedious task of hand carving every column, as done in antiquity, much easier during the mid 1800’s. The expansion of the iron industry during this time allowed for the use of iron in neoclassical structures, as seen in this drawing.

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Art Deco Architecture

During when Art Deco was a popular architecture style, stainless was a new invention. Many art deco skyscrapers, like the Chrysler building and the empire state building, were made out of the recently invented stainless steel. This material was used as the internal structure of the skyscrapers as it was very strong, and it was used to cover the outside of the buildings since it resisted corrosion. on the Chrysler building especially, stainless steel was used to create its famous crown and the art deco gargoyles on it.


Elements and Principles of Design

Neoclassical Architecture

Neoclassical architecture focuses mainly on vertical lines and figures, as tall columns are commonplace in neoclassical designs. These columns often had vertical stripes carved into the sides, which drew the eyes up and made the buildings look taller, and overall larger. pediments above the columns were often used, and the right angle of the top would create the rhythm of opposition, along with the right angle of the vertical columns meeting the horizontal support.

Art Deco Architecture

Art deco featured many geometric shapes, which were made up of straight and diagonal lines, which often gave the feeling of motion and excitement. Radiation was also a rhythm that was created by many of the shapes and designs that art deco displayed. Sunbursts, rays, and fans were used frequently in art deco architecture, and the widening shapes created the rhythm of radiation.





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Art Deco

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