Social Factors


Social factors were the original cause of Modernism, the New Objectivity. Beginning in 1919, after the First World War, architects and the German government introduced minimalism to address the substandard living conditions of working people.

It was a leftist-leaning, socialist, communist endeavor to answer the minimal needs of the ordinary worker, to provide light, air, sanitation, and electricity––a promise of social responsibility from the German government to its people that architects and artists jumped at the chance to deliver.

You get the picture. Six years later, it was reframed as functionalism in response to critics that minimalism was too lavish for the ordinary person. Buildings will be severe and cater exclusively to purpose and function. But when the utopian dream of the New Objectivity movement began to fall apart in Germany under the Nazis and then in Russia under the Soviets, the Great Depression in 1929 added the final blow. With the loss of Soviet support, the development of Modernism took an unexpected turn.