The 20th and 21st centuries have seen dramatic changes and astonishing diversity. Modernist styles have come and gone—and continue to evolve. Modern-day trends include Art Moderne and the Bauhaus school coined by Walter Gropius, Deconstructivism, Formalism, Brutalism, and Structuralism.

Modernism is not just another style—it presents a new way of thinking. Modernist architecture emphasizes function. It attempts to provide for specific needs rather than imitate nature. The roots of Modernism may be found in the work of Berthold Luberkin (1901–1990), a Russian architect who settled in London and founded a group called Tecton. The Tecton architects believed in applying scientific, analytical methods to design. Their stark buildings ran counter to expectations and often seemed to defy gravity.

The expressionistic work of the Polish-born German architect Erich Mendelsohn (1887–1953) also furthered the modernist movement. Mendelsohn and Russian-born English architect Serge Chermayeff (1900–1996) won the competition to design the De La Warr Pavilion in Britain. The 1935 seaside public hall has been called Streamline Moderne and International, but it most certainly is one of the first modernist buildings to be constructed and restored, maintaining its original beauty over the years.

Modernist architecture can express a number of stylistic ideas, including Expressionism and Structuralism. In the later decades of the 20th century, designers rebelled against the rational Modernism and a variety of Postmodern styles evolved.

Modernist architecture generally has little or no ornamentation and is prefabricated or has factory-made parts. The design emphasizes function and the man-made construction materials are usually glass, metal, and concrete. Philosophically, modern architects rebel against traditional styles. For examples of Modernism in architecture, see works by Rem Koolhaas, I.M. Pei, Le Corbusier, Philip Johnson, and Mies van der Rohe.

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