Form Versus Function

“Form follows function.” A principle of design coined in the late 19th century by Louis Sullivan, this simple sentence has had a massive effect on artistic culture. It heavily implies that novelty and character should be prioritized after efficiency, if at all. The notion seems to have followed modern architecture through the decades since its first mention.  Although these ideals have been integrated into production since the ending of the second world war, it is only recently that its effects have come to people’s attention. Specifically how intense and generalized these massive reevaluations of architecture have become. Composed of geometric shapes, steel, glass, and concrete, the principles of most postmodern buildings operate in the maximization of space. While it may seem like just an irrelevant stylistic decision, the movement’s increasingly widespread nature makes it imperative to begin a discussion of art versus productivity.


After World War II, the radical movement of postmodernism struck most territories like lightning. Increased infrastructure and stabilizing economies spurred new work cultures. A public backlash or reflection of modernist art arose, after its presumed failure. Through these things, the new style of postmodernism was able to quickly and effectively infiltrate all of the countries involved. This is why in places like America and Britain, the evolution of the style’s effects is both in plain view and constantly increasing. In addition, the economic impacts of the war caused the main goal of many architects to shift from aesthetic beauty to maximizing space and productivity. This was furthered by architects that found ways to either profit immensely or push agendas off of this style. A huge catalyst and example of this is Le corbusier. A Swiss-French architect, he heavily pushed the narrative that gigantism outweighs elegance and intricacy, as well as promoted brutalism, as a means of pushing political and personal agendas

Methods In Action

The presence of efficient city planning is prevalent in the UK. Many architecturally beautiful and historic towns (i.e. Glasgow, Bath) have almost been set for demolition. All for the UK’s further implementation of tower blocks: geometric, gray buildings, void of character. These designs are so abhorrent in fact, that no companies, nor people would like to purchase them. This is simply because there is no appeal to them. Structurally they are intimidating and unwelcoming,meaning that these spaces would all eventually become empty or wasted. Furthermore, businesses, particularly small ones, must be welcoming. Their outward appearances could offset passer-bys, customers, or even possible workers,making it an unwise decision for any store owner to reside in one of these areas. While this may seem like an insignificant analysis, it is important to note that this causes the abandoning and avoidance of out-of-use tower blocks, which could mean economic or spatial crisis,therefore mitigating any benefits. 

Relation to Art

Places like the island of Santorini, the Trulli houses of Alberobello, or even Rome, all come from far previous decades and styles. Yet, we still appreciate them today. This is all due to their beautiful and unique architecture. The areas provide a certain sense of place or emotion for the people exploring them. Possibly the largest criticism of the postmodernist movement is that the artworks created under it have no soul. Art is largely celebrated for its humanity, soul and emotion. However, postmodernist art directly contradicts this. With its barren, robotic looks, it does not convey the purpose that art serves in our daily lives. No, it is not expected for things like corporate buildings to be marvels of beauty. Still, the absolute generalized and compact nature of most buildings today is extremely evident, especially when compared to their older counterparts. Whilst it worked in the past, construction has become far too reliant on the concept of productivity. Seeing an establishment with complex or interesting design is extremely rare nowadays, as most are simply placenessless. This is causing the world to deplete itself of the beauty of daily life. 


It may seem like only artists or people heavily involved in the fine arts world would care at all about the architectural styles of buildings and towers. However, it must be noted that these are the things that are being seen in everyday life. Studies from sources such as BBC and DesignBlends 22’ have shown that the architecture which individuals see in their everyday lives have unimaginable effects on mental health and well-being. Especially in terms of housing and neighborhoods, as the architecture of the neighborhood represents its identity. And if its identity is wrongly misrepresented this could be taken as degradation or sensory deprivation in the minds of the people who live there, overall affecting the mental health as well as well beings of citizens.