The Modern movement was a reaction against the excesses and elaboration of late 19th century art. Architects coming of age in the early 20th century believed that the new century heralded the birth of “modern man.” Modern man would require a radically new kind of architecture which would concentrate on providing the best solutions to problems and the best use of space, without being constrained by old patterns of building or ornamentation. Function would govern form.
One of the leading architects at the turn of the century was Peter Behrens who designed a turbine factory for AEG in 1907. The three most influential European architects of the Modern movement all worked in his office: Walter Gropius, Le Corbusier, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.
After the Nazis came to power in 1933, the Modernists fled Germany. Many, including Gropius and Mies van der Rohe, emigrated to America. After the war, this group of Modernists, along with Frank Lloyd Wright, continued to dominate the architectural scene.
But disillusionment set in. Buildings erected on Modern movement principles in historic cities were simply seen as having spoilt a good view. Their buildings hadn’t been what the modern man had wanted after all.
The Post-Modernist era began. We have Post-Modernism to thank for the houses of Docklands.