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Formalism

Picture Dictionary of Modern Architecture: Formalism

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Architect I.M. Pei has been praised for the "elegant formalism" of his Bank of China Tower in Hong Kong.
The Bank of China Tower by Ieoh Ming Pei

The Bank of China Tower, 1990, by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Ieoh Ming Pei

Photo courtesy the Pritzker Prize Committee
As the name suggests, Formalism emphasizes form. The architect is interested in visual relationships between the building parts and the work as a whole. Shape, often on a monumental scale, is the focus of attention. Lines and rigid geometric shapes predominate in Formalist architecture.

You will find Formalism in many Modernist buildings, especially in Bauhaus and International Style architecture. Architect I.M. Pei has often been praised for the "elegant formalism" of his works.

Learn more about the Bank of China Tower >>

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