Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Kohler, Roderick G.||Gilbert, Harold G., 1921-

Degree Name

M.S. (Master of Science)

Legacy Department

School of Industry and Technology


Architectural drawing; Architecture; Modern; Industrial arts--Study and teaching


Purpose of Study It was the purpose of this study to investigate and record the origin and development of contemporary occidental architecture. The study also sought to point out recent trends in methodology and materials used in this form of architecture. The study further sought to establish what educational lag exists, if any, between actual practice in contemporary occidental architecture and that which is being taught in industrial arts education course, in selected high schools. Sources of Data and Method of Study Data utilized in this study were obtained from: a review of literature; personal observations; two questionnaires; trade publications; Sweet’s Architectural Catalog file; La Roi Photography Studios; and scholarly writings pertinent to the subject. The study was a descriptive research in essence, using primary sources of data whenever possible. An objective analyt­ical evaluation was made, based on data from two questionnaires and in part by comparing that which is being taught in contemporary occidental architecture classes and that which is being practiced in the profession. Summary Contemporary occidental architecture was developed by a group of architects who were dissatisfied with the limited and stereotyped styles of the past. Architectural design of the nineteenth century was static, using the same theories of construction and design which had been used centuries before. However, the lack of any significant technological advancement in industry and the limited choice of building materials certainly contributed to the static condition of architectural design. With the advent of the industrial revolution, new and complex cultural and societal problems arose. The population increased rapidly during the 1800s. The nineteenth century saw England’s population rise from nine million to forty-five million, United States’ from five million to one hundred and twenty-three million and Germany’s from twenty-four million to sixty-six million; also the population shifted from being predominately country dwellers to city dwellers. The obvious challenge to architects of the period was the necessity of building designs which would provide functional and adequate space for industry and the populace within the limited framework of a city. To meet the above stated needs would tend to have been quite unrealistic if the limited choice of building materials of the past were used. Although functional during the past, freestone, granite, sandstone, timber and clay limited the architect in building design. The building material industry responded by introducing new materials such as reinforced concrete, structural steel, laminated wood beams and prefabricated curtain walls. Leaders in the development of contemporary occidental architecture, such as Walter Gropius, Frank Lloyd Wright and Le Corbusier, used these new materials to create building design which was here-to-fore unheard of. Each of these architects' building styles were used to form a unique and fresh approach to architectural problems. Gropius redesigned the common structures of his day, factories and public buildings, making them things of beauty by replacing heavy, unattractive exteriors with sheets of glass and thin sheathing materials. Wright is perhaps better known for his designing of homes. He believed the site and building should flow together in continuous bond of harmony; that is, materials natural to the building site should be used whenever possible. His building design conveys the feeling of mobility and lightness while they retain their volume, flexibility and adaptability. Le Corbusier developed a system of related proportions, all based upon the dimensions of an average human figure, which he termed the "modular scale”. The significance of his modular scale was that it freed the designer from a rigid repetition of identical building units and made possible flexibility to solve almost any problem of proportioning. Contemporary occidental architecture was and still is a major style of architectural design. With this in mind, questionnaires were sent to selected high schools which sought to determine if this style of architecture was included in industrial arts drawing classes. The data from the questionnaires revealed a notable void in course content for industrial arts drawing classes. A majority of teachers surveyed reported that they gave little or no attention to contemporary building materials which are used in contemporary architectural designs. Such a void in course content would certainly tend to justify careful evaluation of present course content. It was in part because of new building materials, such as laminated wood beams, reinforced concrete and structural steel, that architects gained the freedom of building design which today is known as contemporary occidental architecture. The questionnaire also revealed that eighty-six per cent of the schools surveyed Included architectural drawing in their Industrial arts curricula. All teachers surveyed believed architectural drawing should be taught. Conclusions Contemporary architecture is a significant and accepted architectural style and should be Included in industrial arts programs. Because of the enormous amount of subject matter, architectural drawing should be taught as a unit course in industrial arts curricula. Existing high school drawing programs should include, in a greater depth and breadth, new materials and processes of contemporary architecture. The educational needs of students in architectural drawing classes will be more realistically served if course content is constantly evaluated to reduce the existing educational lag.


Includes bibliographical references.||Includes illustrations.


vi, 128 pages




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