Functionalism

Functionalism by definition is the idea that architects must design a building or structure based on what the purpose of that building will be, nothing more, no grand ornate detail, just clean lines. The three classic goals of architecture are utilitas, venustas, and firmitas, or utility, beauty, and firmness. The Functionalists believed that if the functional aspects of a building were fulfilled, then the natural architectural beauty would shine through. The phrase, form ever follows function, made famous by Louis Sullivan, emphasized that the function of a building, not the ornaments, was where the true beauty would be found (strange then, that the designs of Louis Sullivan were filled with intricate ornamentation). Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe further contemplated functionalism and Modern architecture; it was Le Corbusier who said a house is a machine for living in. Certain Functionalist projects flourished in the Czech Republic thanks to Czech Adolf Loos, architect of the Muller Villa, as well as Mies van der Rohe, architect of the famous Tugendhat Villa in Brno.

  • Muller Villa | Prague | Functionalism Muller Villa

    Adolf Loos was one of the most influential architects of European Modern architecture and his Muller Villa is pure evidence of his genius. The famous Muller Villa, located in the leafy area of Stresovice known as Beverly Hills of Prague, was designed for Mr. Frantisek Muller and his wife Milada Muller. The couple lived in the house for 18 peaceful years until the Communists took over in 1948. In 1968 the villa housed the headquarters for the Czechoslovak Republic. After...

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  • Veletrzni Palace | Prague Functionalism Veletrzni Palace

    In Prague 7 sits a huge functionalist gem of a building, Veletrzni Palace; constructed from the design of Oldrich Tyl and Josef Fuchs in the years 1925-1929, this massive building was used for trade fairs until 1951, after which it was home to several international companies. A heartbreaking fire destroyed it in 1974. Since a meticulous restoration in 1995, it has been the seat of National Gallery for the center of Modern and Contemporary art. Four vast floors, resembling a...

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  • Manes | Prague Functionalism Manes

    The Manes building with its exhibition hall, opened in 1930, well known as a functionalist dream, as it is considered one of the top Functionalist buildings in Europe today, is not only famous for the design of the building, which paired with the old 15th century water tower brings an interesting blend of old and modern, but also for the avant-garde work it housed and continues to house within its walls. Vaclav Havel has said that the Manes building is...

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  • St. Wenceslas Church | Praha Saint Wenceslas Church

    Located in Vršovice, a lovely residential area close to Vinohrady is the interesting Saint Wenceslas Church. A Functionalist masterpiece, Saint Wenceslas Church was designed by famous Czech designer Josef Gočár and built in 1929-1930. Josef Gočár, famous for his architectural career, which includes the intriguing House at the Black Madonna, which features the only Cubist interiors in the world, was one of the founders of modern architecture in Czechoslovakia. Saint Wenceslas Church sits perched above a block of neighborhood flats,...

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  • Barrandov Terrace | Prague Barrandov Terrace

    Barrandov Terrace is one of the best examples of Functionalist architecture, not only in Prague but also in the whole Czech Republic. And that is why it is so unbelievably sad that the building sits perched above the flowing Vltava River in a total state of decay. The building opened in 1929 as a restaurant, cafe and lounge, complete with a swimming pool and seductively curving white balconies for the nearby stars of Barrandov Studios. Barrandov Studios was the European answer to...

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