Introduction and translation by Stanford Anderson
Style-Architecture and Building-Art (1902) is Hermann Muthesius's trenchant manifesto on early European Modernism. Now published for the first time in English, this classic study followed in the wake of Otto Wagner's Modern Architecture (1896) and reinforced the latter's exhortations with its vigorous plea for realism and simplicity in design.
Although Muthesius (1861–1927) was an architect by training, he is best known for his stay in London as a cultural attaché to the German Embassy and for his subsequent advocacy of the English house. Muthesius wrote prolifically on architectural themes throughout his career, but in the few years surrounding the publication of Style-Architecture and Building-Art, he advanced upon the critical scene as a courageous and astute fighter for architectural reform, inspiring the formation of the German Werkbund.
Many other beliefs of Modernist historiography are foreshadowed in Muthesius's text—from his vivid denunciation of the contemporary Art Nouveau and Jugendstil movements to his championing of scientific technology and machine-inspired design. The introduction skillfully places Muthesius's program for a "sachliche Kunst," or realist art, within its polemical context.
Stanford Anderson is head of the Department of Architecture at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has published essays on the German Werkbund, Louis Kahn and public institutions, and architecture and memory, as well as a study contrasting the International Style with modern architecture in America and Scandinavia.
The hardcover edition of this book is out of print.
"Your production of the Muthesius book was indeed timely. I, too, believe that the craft, the hands on, and the 'making' of forms and space, gives the human feeling, touch and emotion to a building. It was gratifying to read that somebody else had thought about that a long time ago. I thank you for this book series. Each one is more relevant than the last."
—Frank Gehry, architect
7 1/2 x 10 1/4 inches
7 b/w illustrations
Imprint: Getty Research Institute
Series: Texts & Documents