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The origins of the spectacular geometric forms and sparkling surfaces of
modern architecture from 1918 to 1939.
In the first half of the twentieth century, a new kind of architecture
appeared across Europe and North America, characterized by plain, often pure
white walls; wide windows; flat roofs; and prominent balconies, terraces, and
roof gardens. From houses to hospitals, the new architecture featured large
expanses of glass and was constructed from steel and reinforced concreteor
designed to look that wayand inspired by a desire to be functional, hygienic,
universal, democratic, and economical.
Paul Overy explores the contemporary preoccupations with fresh air and
sunshine, space, health, and hygiene, and how these concerns became fundamental
to the development of new architectural and design practices. Individual
buildingsincluding both little-known and more familiar examples in Europe and
the United States by architects such as Adolf Loos, Walter Gropius, and Le
Corbusierare examined within the context of class and social control, luxury
and austerity, race and colonialism. Many of them are considered classics,
legally protected from demolition or alteration and, in recent years, restored
Illustrated with many unusual photographs that capture the buildings in their
early pristine state, Light, Air and Openness is an innovative reinterpretation
of the modern movement in architecture and design. 66 illustrations.