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Modern Movement

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An aesthetic movement of the C20, having its roots in much of the anti-historicist avant guarde in art, particularly in France with movements such as the Cubists, manifesting in architecture, chiefly through the formation of the BAUHAUS in Germany. Many of its tenets had to do with opportunities in the liberation of space – plan libre (free plan) – through employing the potential of new industrially produced materials of concrete, high tensile steel and float glass. In South Africa masters of the BAUHAUS, namely Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe were influential as was Frank Lloyd Wright from the United States of America. LE CORBUSIER, the acknowledged proponent and propagandist of the Modern Movement, found a following amongst the students and new graduates of the School of Architecture, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, amongst which were David HADDON, Norman HANSON, James WILSON, Monte BRYER, David CLARK, Gordon McINTOSH, Rex MARTIENSSEN, W HOWIE, Angus STEWART, John FASSLER and Eric LUCKE, and manifested locally particularly in the activities of the zerohour group, christened the Transvaal Group by LE CORBUSIER. The Modern Movement has two adjuncts, those of Heroic Modernism which became the International Style, and that of a Modern Vernacular which manifested as Critical Regionalism. Johannesburg, as industrial and financial capital of South Africa was also centre to the expression of the International Style, particularly in the works of MARTIENSSEN, FASSLER and COOKE, (House Stern) while in Pretoria McINTOSH, particularly in his own house, House McIntosh, but especially in the works of Norman EATON, (House Anderson) and Hellmut STAUCH (House Winkley) moved towards a Critical Regionalism.