Where Did Cubist Architecture Go Wrong?

Where Did Cubist Architecture Go Wrong?

Cubism is one of the most important and influential periods in the History of Art. It was truly revolutionary and it shook many aspects of the way in which humankind perceived beauty, space and shapes. Its influence reached several aspects, including architecture. However, nowadays it’s quite rare to find Cubist buildings. Which are the reasons behind this? Where did this movement go wrong?

One of the theoretical bases of Cubism is its need for dynamism, which translates to every expression of this movement. Even though this preconception is interesting for paintings, when it is applied to buildings there are several aspects that turn out to be way less practical and adaptable.

The idea of pyramids, cubes, prisms and other geometric shapes set Cubist architecture to a spectacular launch in 1912, when the first model of a cubist house was showcased in Paris. Several expressions of this movement appeared throughout Europe -specially in Prague-, however, the movement came to a halt with the start of World War I. 

Cubist architecture, which was clearly experimentalist, brought up several fascinating ideas that have been rescued and enhanced by further architecture. The use of transparencies, geometrization, fragmentation and illusion are some of these key aspects. Cubist buildings had sharp angles and clear lines throughout their whole structures. All of this, as a whole, gave the movement a radical and revolutionary appearance. 

The problem with Cubist architecture was its difficulty to see beyond exterior forms. The buildings built during this period were impressive and visually attractive, but lacked practicality and were thus very uncomfortable for the quotidian use. There are several interesting intersections between this movement and others like Gothic, Modernism and Art Deco.

Even though strict Cubism did not prevail, many aesthetic values were passed onto future currents. And its ephemeral presence left one valuable lesson: buildings must consider the human factor as an inherent part of its development. A beautiful building that does not consider this might as well be a sculpture instead. YOU MUST READ Misunderstood Geniuses We Love Today

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