The Evolution Of Buildings Cultural Studies Essay

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However, in the last century it may have been the two have been changing in parallel. The development of the building went through an accelerated development ever since the advent of the industrial revolution.

There were various technological advancements brought in during this time. Some of them were adopted by the field of architecture from automotive industry.

The automobile industry has become like a gigantic umbrella that covers a wide range of technologies and aspects of society. It requires the education, talents and efforts of numerous professionals such as mechanical engineers, technologists, artists, economists, advertisers and salespeople. They have all come to centre on the object of the automobile. The process behind this emergence may be interesting and beneficial for the architecture to examine.

Therefore the question comes up to be:



The study shall cover the design aspects relating to architecture and the automobile only. However, it will mainly stress on the facets that are common to both. The second industrial revolution would be a prominent era in development of both fields. It shall look at the various advancements and innovations made in the respective fields. The impacts shall be considered and analyzed.


The field study does not have a wide range as architects who deal with automobile design.

The research shall focus on the implications of automobile design on architecture and not vice versa.

The aesthetical attributes shall be the main consideration.


The initial effort shall concentrate on the beginnings of the industrial revolution - Why and when did it come into place?

The industrial revolution brought along with it the advent of the machine age. The introduction has a massive impact on the human society and its functions. It was at this time when architecture began to draw inspiration from machines.

Ultimately, the automobile came along and it immediately created a significant impact on the built environment. It is important to understand this facet in order to identify its reaches and implications. This will establish a between the two.


The dissertation focuses on the identification of affects of automobile industry on the evolution of architecture in the past century.

There has been a drastic development in the forms and typology of architecture due to advancements during the industrial revolution.

The production of assembled parts and evolution of science and technology brought the change in architecture looking over the technologies ideated from the automobile industry.

The production of vehicle and its development in architecture has to be traced.



Origins of automobile in the Second Industrial Revolution

The industrial revolution involved all the facets of society. Although, it is the most often referred to as the era of the machine development, it involved many phases beyond simple machines. It required the efforts of production process, economic principles, political structures, family life and public support, value systems, aesthetic ideas and the organization of all of the above.

The industrial revolution was a phenomenon which occurred while not being a consciously pursued objective. Neither was it a phenomenon of individual growth coming from particular sectors of the society. It was a simultaneous process including all relevant sectors of society at about the same time. Jacque Ellul, The French sociologist, suggests that the industrial revolution was only one aspect of an all encompassing technical revolution. It systemized and unified societyat all levels including fiscal organization and judicial procedures, and even the design and planning of infrastructures.

Many thinkers were active participants in the eighteenth century efforts to rationalize and lay a conceptual foundation for industrialization. This paved the way for progressive theories and description of what was occurring, and for the possibilities of the automobile as we now knows it.

The power of rationality emerged as a principle tool for their discovery of the worlds around them. There was a philosophical basis in the eighteenth century that provided for intellectual development favouring practical applications of science, where application meat not only to know but also to exploit nature.

Eighteenth century philosophy also allowed for and may have been nurtured the concept of change. This concept was based on a sense of history as something which moves forward through different epochs, each with a spiritual coe manifesting itself directly in the facts of the culture.

Out of this came an expectation of a new and original impulse, this in time would become the cultural mainstream of the twentieth century. Confidence in the renaissance tradition was being gradually lost through growth of an empiricist attitude. Study of archaeology and history reinforced the erosion of the power of Renaissance attitudes.

(Canneta & Vardarajan, 1992)

Industrialization brought to architecture a new program with new materials and processes. Alternative methods of construction were possible. As the diversity of life and living styles increased, demand was created for new types of buildings. Factories, railway stations, museums and exhibition pavilions were built with few historical precedents. Iron and glass structures opened up new frontiers in building size and form. New materials and new forms of traditional were becoming available at an increasing pace. Changes began to occur in the profession itself. New patrons were found emerging in the middle class for whom architecture became a means of self expression of new wealth. New ideas were being experimented with to weave together these new structures, materials and client needs.

This technical progress and mechanization changed the world of crafts and caused the collapse of vernacular architecture. A new, more brutal world seemed to be emerging. This, in turn, raised serious questions about the direction of architectural form and style.

Leading theorists of 19th century felt that architecture must find its own direction through forms more appropriate to the new social and economic possibilities and conditions. But, there was not agreement as to which forms were most appropriate.

Some believed imitation, while others tried alternative logical framework. A suggestion was made to collect the best of all styles. The counter suggestion was to return architecture to its beginning, to the primitive roots of all.

The emergence of rationalism in the early nineteenth century led by J.N.L Durand, a French architect, to propose that "problems should be analyzed not by the precedent but on their own merits" because beautiful and appropriate forms would necessarily follow from this rationality.

The automobile manifestation in the 20th century

The automobile has transformed cities. Indeed, the transformation of the cities by motorized vehicles was a 20th century phenomenon, building upon the impact of transportation technology before it - especially the railroad and the streetcar - and leaving its own unique physical imprint. Some regarded this phenomenon as positive: the emergence of a private mass-transit technology effectively replacing public mass transit, and in doing so permitting settlement over a wide area offering a car owner the flexibility to work, shop, and enjoy recreation almost anywhere and at any point of time.

Optimists and pessimists would agree, however, that the automobile was a hardly a neutral force in urban physical development. To say that there had been congestion in the centre of the cities from the confluence of horses, carriages, bicycles, and streetcars for years prior to the introduction of the automobile does not mean the automobile's impact on cities was not unique and profound; simply reconfirms the transportation technology has always been a powerful force in making and remaking cities. But, since the end of the World War II especially, the car has shaped cities and their suburbs so deeply that we can sometimes take its impact for granted. (Melosi, 2004)

As the need of the transport increased with the fast pace of development all other sectors, the need of producing more automobiles increased. People were becoming wealthier day by day so, was the population increasing therefore, Mass-production of vehicles had begun.

The lure of mass production

An architecture that tries to imitate the methods and products of manufacturing industry encounters some special problems. Chief among these is the problem of mass-production. Cars are made in millions; are usually one-off. It take many years and very large sums of money to design and develop a car. Many prototypes must be made and tested. If a building is to make use of the same technology, and achieve the same level of sophistication, then there must be a similar level of investment in its design and development.

But, it is economically out of question unless identical buildings are to be produced in thousands. There have, of course, been many attempts to industrialize the production of buildings, but no one has yet succeeded in marketing the successful building equivalent of the Model T Ford. Meanwhile, the mass production of a certain building components has increased steadily. Windows, doors, curtain wall systems, raised floors and suspended ceiling are mass-produced to standard patterns in factories and it is now commonplace for buildings to incorporate whole systems of components.

The building has been quietly industrialized with synthetic components and materials, such as glass fibre insulation, steel joist hangers and plastic windows. Architects want to bring buildings back into line, not by returning to traditional building technology, but by creating an architecture that looks mass-produced and machine-like. There are two obvious answers then, to the mass-production problem.

(Davies, 1988)

The first is to design, develop, manufacture, and then, market a standard building.

This is what Michael Hopkins has tried to do with his Patera buildings. These are simple but, extremely refined, small factory/office buildings. Their details have been developed in collaboration with the manufacturer just as if they were vehicles or consumer products.

And, they have approved, machine-like appearance. They are, however, not cheap and they have failed to find a mass market among the small, go- ahead, image-conscious businesses for which they were designed. It seems that bricks and mortar, or their equivalent, have triumphed over the Model T building.

The second answer is to make buildings entirely out of catalogues components. The most famous example of this approach, and one which has had an enormous influence on High Tech, is the Eames house of 1949 in Pacific-Pasilades.

The tradition is carried out in California, mainly by the German Architect Helmut Schulitz.

Emergence of machine aesthetic

It was to these American factories and mass-produced machines coming out of them that European architects of the interwar period looked at creation of a new architecture, a modern architecture for the modern age.

1923, a Swiss-born architect- Charles E. Jeanneret, known as Pseudo Le Cob., embraced mass-production of housing declaring the house as 'Machine for Living'. That should be designed and manufactured like the Ford Model-T. he illustrated his agreement by printing photographs of automobiles and American factories.


Architects are sometimes seen as designers who can operate under various spectrums of design. However, their influence seldom touches upon automobiles design.

New construction methods were invented that employed unskilled workers to quickly assemble standardized, factory made materials into the new spaces by commerce. Not surprisingly then, these buildings often shared the instrumental loo of mass-produced goods the most famous exemplar, the Model-T. This was especially true of the factories of mass-production such as Ford's Highland Park in Detroit - designed by industrial architect Albert Kahn 1908, opened in 1910.

He provided bare bones, efficient building-machine for the manufacture of the bare-bones, efficient automobile machine, like the Model-T built in I, the plant was a rectilinear and largely undecorated repetition of standardized industrial parts.


One of the first and most significant architects who designed automobiles was Le Corbusier. Corbusier came up with a proposal in 1928. He considered his design to be different from the accepted ideas for car design prevalent then. His main idea was to provide maximum comfort for passengers whilst reserving mechanical and structural concerns as secondary. Passengers are shown in a roomy open setting not unlike a bay window at the front of the car. The engine was to be at the rear, to provide for less noise and odour. Coachwork as simple, consisting of a segment of a circle cut sharply in the front.


Matharoo has always had a coloured association with automobile design. One of his most recent and probably most prolific products was the Cattiva TFAO Mobile Blood Donation Bank. Designed on a TATA bus platform, the vehicle has undergone a visibly thorough development. However, most of the developments are coachwork in nature.

The vehicle is equipped with four automatic donor chair, a medical examination cubicle, a chemical toilet, a pantry and a refreshment area cum lounge.

Foster's + Partner's London Route master bus

Le Corbusier came up with the design proposal of his 'Vouitre Minimum' commonly known as Maximum Car in 1928.A:\4th year\DISSERTATION\le_corbusier_car-546x408.jpgA:\4th year\DISSERTATION\98_voiture_jp210211_a.jpg

The Voglreiter Auto Residence is not your average 'mobile home'. The quirky car-home happens to belong to designer Markus Voglreiter, and is located near Salzburg, Austria. The architect came up with this kooky design after noticing Le Corbusier maximum car designed in 1930 and the potential in a 70s-style house he had his eye on. Though it may appear small, this compact house can provide all the comforts of any regular home. Moreover, the project features sustainable technologies and energy saving systems



Similarities between voision and villa stein:

House's absolute absence of decorative detail- flat, smooth, unadorned surfaces.

Monochrome like the Model-T which was black, but, the Villa was white because it symbolised PRISTINE PURITY, architects were seeking and also made their forms stand out in the sunlight.

Lines of the house are rigidly rectilinear - even the roof is flat, the defiance of traditionally peaked form.

Finally, mass-produced sedan and factories in which they were manufactured, the windows or villa stein - arranged in continuous strips of glazed opening that wrap around the structure interrupted only by supporting posts and mullions.

This house is thus, the epitome of a machine for living in, modelled on the most advanced production process in the world.



3.1 Classical, Traditional, Question of Ornament

The idea of classical design doesn't have the same meaning for automobiles as it does for architecture. After all, the automobile is only a century old. Automobile historians defined four stylistic periods in the history of the motor car:

Veteran (until 1904)

Edwardian (1905-1917)

Vintage (1918-1930)

Post War (1945 onwards)

The categories are peculiar to automobiles but the overall taste and the preferences o the society in the fields of craft, art and architecture during those periods obviously had an influence on the development of the automobile.

The influence is most obvious with regard to interior decoration and ornamentation on both the exterior and interior. Style was never strictly obeyed, instead a mixture of styles emerged, neo-classical, neo-baroque and various mixtures of these and other styles.

Most of the exterior parts such as the headlights and the turn signals were stacked onto a projected front end. Buckminster Fuller used to ridicule the Rolls Royce by saying that no one could respect a car which attempted to gain prestige by using a chrome miniature on its bonnet ridiculous or not, the Rolls Royce still has its temple-front grill. Sophisticated materials that were used in home decoration have also been used in the construction of automobiles. Fine wood, cashmere, silk, leather, brass and chrome were inevitably part of the image and they remain a symbol of luxury to the present day.

It is difficult to pinpoint the use of ornamentation in automobile design, because there is a wide range of treatments to consider, from eclectic to clean modernist. Taste and style changed over the years and many ornaments developed into more abstract version of their original form. Different design philosophies employed ornaments differently.

The European style is clean and elegant, with less chrome. Americans love to pile on chrome anywhere they can find a place for it. Plastic leathers often cover the solid metal body, faking a convertible and posing for luxury. The Japanese are flexible and follow closely the taste of consumers around the globe.

3.2 Question of Ideology

Automobile Design has had few if any problem with ideology since it was never consciously defined as part of any traditional ideological system. Automobile became an ideology in and or itself. This seems to be different in architecture. The ideology of modernist architecture has been reiterated in the post modern era. The argument that there is no such thing as an ideological architecture is too often lost in heated and not very thoughtful discussion based on ideologies. Perhaps a close look at automobiles and comparison with the ideas behind them could help in clarifying this.


List and introduction of the products

Industrialised Steel


Vulcanised Rubber

Use of glass




The machine aesthetic


Technology - Physical and symbolic representation


The case studies would refer to a comparison between the design of automobile and the building by the same architect.

Another point of view would be, the transformation due to automobile on the buildings and cities.

Villa Stein

The Prathma Blood Centre