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Expressionism and Neo-expressionism

Picture Dictionary of Modern Architecture: Expressionism and Neo-expressionism

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Built in 1920, the Einstein Tower (Einsteinturm) in Potsdam is an Expressionist work by architect Erich Mendelsohn.
The Einstein Tower, Potsdam, by Erich Mendelsohn, 1920

The Einstein Tower (Einsteinturm) in Potsdam is an Expressionist work by architect Erich Mendelsohn, 1920

Photo: Creative Commons by Doris Antony
Expressionism evolved from the work of avant garde artists and designers in Germany and other European countries during the first decades of the twentieth century. Key features of Expressionism are:
  • distorted shapes
  • fragmented lines
  • organic or biomorphic forms
  • massive sculpted shapes
  • extensive use of concrete and brick
  • lack of symmetry
  • many fanciful works rendered on paper but never built
Neo-expressionism built upon expressionist ideas. Architects in the 1950s and 1960s designed buildings that expressed their feelings about the surrounding landscape. Sculptural forms suggested rocks and mountains. Organic and Brutalist architecture can often be described as Neo-expressionist.

Expressionist and Neo-expressionist Architects

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