Analytical Essay on the Great Depression and the Modernism Movement

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. A Brief Description of The Great Depression
  3. A Brief Description of the Empire State Building
  4. Theoretical Background
  5. A Brief Description of the One World Trade Centre
  6. Empire State compared to the One World Trade Centre
  7. Conclusion
  8. References

Introduction

The Modernism movement started within the Twentieth Century. It is seen as being a more logical approach to the purpose of the building as well as utilizing new materials (History.com, 2019). Architect Louis Sullivan view was that “form follows function”, which means designing a building that has the essentials needs (Wiki, 2019)

This essay aims to investigate what Skyscrapers resembled during the ’20s-’30s compared to now and seeing if the Modernist style has advanced throughout the years. As well as understanding how such large skyscrapers such as the Empire State and Chrysler Building were able to be built within the Great Depression.

A Brief Description of The Great Depression

The Great Depression occurred between 1929-1939 when the stock market crashed. This was the worst economic downfall in America causing 15 million individuals jobless by 1933. Contrasted with the beginning of the twenties when everyone from the rich to the average citizen were buying stocks and making the stock market rapidly grow. large number of redundancies in 1929, not as many people had the spare money to buy stocks creating inflation in stock prices is worth more than they actually were (History.com, 2019).

Even in the midsts of The Great Depression the Empire State Building and The Chrysler building started development. This was a race between the proprietors of both buildings to have the tallest structure in the world. The pride of the owners and the fact that the labor work was so cheap enabled the construction to continue; both buildings were able to be constructed in record time at a rate of four stories/week (Quora.com, 2019).

A Brief Description of the Empire State Building

The Empire State Building Located in the focal point of Midtown Manhattan, New York was completed in 1931. It was designed by Shreve, Lamb, and Harmon. It was named the “Empire State” after the nickname for New York. It was the world's tallest building until the World Trade Center's North Tower in Lower Manhattan was built around 40 years later in 1970 (En.m.wikipedia.org, 2019). “ The building has a roof height of 1,250 feet (380 m) and stands a total of 1,454 feet (443.2 m) tall, including its antenna” (En.m.wikipedia.or, 2019).

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Theoretical Background

The architect's inspiration for the Empire State building was an Art Decor Skyscraper inspired by the shape of a pencil as well as being told “Make it as tall as possible without falling” (Momin, 2019) by John Jacob Raskob.

Raskob was a self-made man who wanted to build the best executive office building and “achieve maximum efficiency, but with artistry and a tastefully modern style” (Encyclopedia.com, 2019). The Empire State building was definitely not the most aesthetically pleasing buildings however it featured top-notch engineering. This was down to the Architect Lamb who “preferred functional architecture and designed the Empire State Building with simplicity in mind. He planned the structure with the practical aspects of the budget, time, and zoning regulations in mind” (Encyclopedia.com, 2019). The building helped lift the spirits of American citizens, despite only renting out only 25% of office space.

A Brief Description of the One World Trade Centre

The One World Trade Center is the largest building in the Western Hemisphere. including its spire, the building reaches a total height of 1,776 feet (541 m). It was designed by David Childs who has additionally designed buildings such as the Burj Khalifa and the Willis Tower. Located in Lower Manhattan New York. This is the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center after terrorist attacks on September 11, Which the name also came from. This skyscraper is now the sixth-tallest in the world (En.m.wikipedia.org, 2019). “The tower’s observation deck was specifically constructed with the memory of the Twin Towers in mind” (Nast, 2019).

Empire State compared to the One World Trade Centre

Both the Empire State and the One World Trade Centre are skyscrapers however there is an immense difference in the influences of the designs. During the Great Depression when building skyscrapers such as The Empire State, The proprietor just wanted to fabricate the tallest structure in the world. Fundamentally amid the ’20s Skyscrapers were designed in an Art Deco Style 'aesthetic of simple, sculptural mass' (En.m.wikipedia.org, 2019). The use of this style on Skyscrapers compared to earlier styles such as the Home Insurance Building which was just built for office space. Historian Larry Ford describes the style as 'short buildings made taller with additional stories' (En.m.wikipedia.org, 2019). The Empire state has windows that have been de-emphasized to make the building look a lot ‘stronger’. “Skyscrapers of this period typically lost their ornamental horizontal divisions, being broken up by physical changes in their shape as one looked up the building, the whole forming a striking silhouette” (En.m.wikipedia.org, 2019). While the One World Trade Centre is roused by stylishly satisfying Contemporary Architecture supplanting what was the twin towers. Rather than simply attempting to make a structure the tallest edifices now take into account environmental issues when building skyscrapers. So the One World Trade Centre has many sustainable architecture aspects. For example, the building has used recycled materials for the structure as well as the interior and a “ rainwater collection and recycling scheme for its cooling systems” (En.m.wikipedia.org, 2019).

The one World Trade Centre is one of the most environmentally sustainable skyscrapers with generating its own electricity from its waste to making offsite hydroelectric and wind power. “The windows are made of an ultra-clear glass, which allows maximum sunlight to pass through; the interior lighting is equipped with dimmers that automatically dim the lights on sunny days, reducing energy costs” (En.m.wikipedia.org, 2019).

Conclusion

To Conclude, skyscrapers and the Modernist style have definitely advanced throughout the years from no aesthetic appeal and building skyscraper simply out of demand to thinking about the function to aesthetically pleasing buildings that takes environment into consideration. Throughout the years as the technology has improved this has enabled architects to design taller and progressively amazing (technically and aesthetically) skyscrapers (Encyclopedia.com, 2019)

References

  1. History.com.(2019).Great Depression History.[online]Available at: https://www.history.com/topics/great-depression/great-depression-history [Accessed 22 May 2019].
  2. UKEssays. November 2018. Great Depression Impact on US. [online]. Available from: https://www.ukessays.com/essays/history/how-the-great-depression-affected-us-history-essay.php?vref=1 [Accessed 23 May 2019].
  3. Cmhpf.org. (2019). cmhpf.org. [online] Available at: http://www.cmhpf.org/CharlotteArchInGreatDepression.htm#_edn1 [Accessed 24 May 2019].
  4. Amazon.com. (2019). [online] Available at: https://www.amazon.com/American-People-World-War-II/dp/0195168933 [Accessed 24 May 2019].
  5. David M. Kennedy, Freedom From Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945 (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), p. 69
  6. Robert McElvaine The Great Depression: America, 1929-1941 (New York: Three Rivers Press, 1993), p. 303.
  7. Kennedy, p. 253.
  8. Quora.com. (2019). How did NYC manage to build things like the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building in the midst of the Great Depression? - Quora. [online] Available at: https://www.quora.com/How-did-NYC-manage-to-build-things-like-the-Empire-State-Building-and-Chrysler-Building-in-the-midst-of-the-Great-Depression [Accessed 24 May 2019].
  9. Termpaperwarehouse.com. (2019). The Reasons of the Great Depression During 1930s - Term Paper. [online] Available at: https://www.termpaperwarehouse.com/essay-on/The-Reasons-of-the-Great-Depression-During-1930s/437297 [Accessed 24 May 2019].
  10. En.m.wikipedia.org. (2019). Empire State Building. [online] Available at: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empire_State_Building [Accessed 25 May 2019].
  11. En.m.wikipedia.org. (2019). Early skyscrapers. [online] Available at: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_skyscrapers [Accessed 25 May 2019].
  12. Momin (2019). Architectural theory- The Empire State Building. [online] Slideshare.net. Available at: https://www.slideshare.net/AnikaMomin/architectural-theory-the-empire-state-building [Accessed 25 May 2019].
  13. Encyclopedia.com. (2019). The Empire State Building: Skyscraper Symbol of America's Power | Encyclopedia.com. [online] Available at: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/empire-state-building-skyscraper-symbol-americas-power [Accessed 25 May 2019].
  14. En.wikipedia.org. (2019). One World Trade Center. [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_World_Trade_Center [Accessed 25 May 2019].
  15. Nast, C. (2019). A Look at the New One World Trade Center. [online] Architectural Digest. Available at: https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/one-world-trade-center-new-york-david-childs-article [Accessed 25 May 2019].
  16. Modernist architecture - Designing Buildings Wiki (2019). Available at: https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Modernist_architecture (Accessed: 10 April 2019).
  17. Encyclopedia.com. (2019). The Empire State Building: Skyscraper Symbol of America's Power | Encyclopedia.com. [online] Available at: https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/empire-state-building-skyscraper-symbol-americas-power [Accessed 25 May 2019].
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