Article Index

International Style

International Style dates to 1932 when the Museum of Modern Art exhibited the works of modern architects from 15 different countries, all showing similar design elements in their work. The critics dubbed the style "Internationalism" because its features seemed to cross national boundaries. This style was based upon straight planes. While the style is often used in skyscrapers, horizontal space is as important as vertical. Functionalism, simplicity, balance, regularity, and flexibility in planning were also components of this style.

5. Engineering-Science Building

Architects: Bellman, Gillett, and Richards

Date Completed: 1960

Cost: $2 million  
Designed by the same firm and only one year apart, the Student Union and the Engineering-Science Building differ greatly in style. The Engineering -Science Building is the first UT academic building to completely abandon the Gothic tradition in favor of the International Style. It seems natural that a building dedicated to teaching the newest technology would have a structure of modern design. The Engineering-Science Building reflects America's desire for education to move ahead in the post-Sputnik era, severing ties to history and the Gothic World.


Features to note:

  • Flat roofs have entirely replaced peaked ones.

  • Glass and steel are prominently used on the facade.

  • There is no unnecessary ornamentation.

  • The building is symmetrical in layout.

  • The four front columns are devoid of ornamentation.

  • The Dana Auditorium addition is circular, showing mechanical and geometric influence.

  • Later additions to the building continue the International Style, with flat, sleek surfaces.




6. Snyder Memorial

Architects: Richards, Bauer, and Moorhead

Date Completed: 1964

Cost: $1.69 million

With the post-Sputnik emphasis on education, it was necessary to educate more teachers. Snyder Memorial, built with an endowment from Walter and Grace Snyder, is home for the College of Education and Allied Professions. It is an excellent example of the 1960s brand of Internationalism.

 Features to note:

  • Sleek black glass and steel are the prominent building materials.

  • The top portion of the building is larger than the base. This is another common element of Internationalism, showing that modern structural design could allow a heavy top to be supported by a smaller base.

  • Flat roofs.

  • The vertical planes are emphasized over the horizontal, following the skyscraper model.


Other Buildings of the International Style

Dowd-Nash-White Quadrangle

Bowman-Oddy Laboratories

Health Education Center

Architects: Britsch, Macelwane, Poseler and Lubeck

Date Completed: 1969

Cost: $1.6 million

Parks Tower

Architects: Schauder and Martin

Date Completed: 1971

Cost: $7.1 million










Student Union (1972 addition)

Architects: Richards, Bauer, and Moorhead

Date Completed: 1972

Cost: $3.6 million


John F. Savage Hall

Transitional Style

The buildings of the late 1960s and 1970s exhibit features associated with several styles. They are transitional between the extremes of the International Style and the new look of the Post-Modern Style. They include elements of the New Formalism, a style promoted by Minoru Yamasaki, who designed the buildings on the Medical College of Ohio campus. Other influential figures of this transitional period include Charles-Edouard Le Corbusier and Philip Johnson. All were reacting against the severities and the programmed look of the International Style as seen in structures such as the Engineering-Science Building and Snyder Memorial. These transitional buildings are typified by the combination of geometrical shapes to form structures. There is less interest in flat surfaces and more on round. Another common feature of this period is the use of a series of tall rounded colonnade archways. Absolute symmetry is replaced with varied shapes balanced against one another.






7. Ritter Astrophysical Research Center

Architects: Richards, Bauer, and Moorhead

Date Completed: 1967

Cost: $1 million

Of the four academic buildings built in the 1960s three housed the sciences. Ritter Astrophysical Research Center reflects many transitional elements between strict Internationalism and New Formalism.

Features to note:

  • Use of glass and steel less prominent than in the Engineering-Science or Snyder Memorial buildings, although colored panels are used to separate the floors in a way similar to the other buildings.

  • The tower portion housing the telescope is slightly rounded with cog-like protrusions, showing a mechanization and geometrical influence.

  • Strict symmetry is replaced by varied yet balanced elements.

  • The series of tall, rounded archway decorations is common in New Formalism.




8. William S. Carlson Library

Architects: Munger, Munger, and Associates

Date Completed: 1973

Cost: $8 million

Carlson Library begins a trend back to the Gothic tradition in UT architecture. While showing some International Style components, it has obvious elements of Gothicism as well. There was a conscious effort by the architects to incorporate slanted roofs and Gothic towers in the design. The Law Center, constructed at the same time, reflects similar transitional elements. Geometrical shapes are important parts of both buildings.

Features to note:

  • Eight protruding towers, showing the Le Corbusier interest in combining geometrical shapes.

  • Slanted roofs on towers, showing both an interest in geometry and a throwback to Gothicism.

  • Separation of buildings into sections and towers at corners help create vertical feeling to balance the horizontal bands of color.






Other Buildings of the Transitional Period:

Law Center

Center for Performing Arts

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