5 Fathers of Architecture

With Father’s Day just around the corner, we got to thinking about fathers of architecture – the people who pioneered some of the architectural styles that are so iconic throughout the world today. Without further ado, here are five famous architects and the styles they spearheaded.

Charles Bulfinch photo by: Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Massachusetts State House photo by Daderot, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Architect Charles Bulfinch was inspired by two buildings of London when designing the Federal-style Massachusetts State House: William Chambers's Somerset House and James Wyatt's Pantheon.

Federal: Charles Bulfinch

Regarded as one of the first native-born Americans to practice architecture as a profession, Charles Bulfinch was at forefront of the Federal style, popular in early 19th-century America. His Massachusetts State House in Boston, completed in 1798, displays many of the style’s key characteristics, including a columned façade and a classical dome.

Frank Lloyd Wright photo by: MPI/Stringer/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Robie House photo by: Chicago History Museum/Archive Photos/Getty Images
In addition to designing the Prairie-style Frederick C. Robie House in Chicago itself, master architect Frank Lloyd Wright also designed the windows, lighting, rugs, furniture and textiles.

Prairie: Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright was the leader of the Prairie School movement of architecture, known for its strong use of horizontal lines, flat cantilevered roofs and rows of windows. Completed in 1910, the Frederick C. Robie House in Chicago is one of the most famous examples of this distinctly American style.

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe photo by: Frank Scherschel/Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Farnsworth House photo by: marco 2000, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
With its strong, steel forms, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe's modernist Farnsworth House almost appears to float above its surroundings.

Modern: Ludwig Mies van der Rohe

Several people had a hand in shaping the modern style, including German-American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Completed in 1951, Mies’ Farnsworth House in Plano, Ill., is a prime example of this style, with its open living spaces, geometric lines and abundant use of cutting-edge materials like steel and glass.

Le Corbusier photo by: Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Villa Savoye photo by: Valueyou, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0
The most renowned example of the International Style, Le Corbusier’s Villa Savoye follows his “five points” of new architecture.

International: Le Corbusier

A subset of modernism, the International Style was made famous by Swiss-born architect Charles-Édouard Jeanneret-Gris, better known by his pseudonym Le Corbusier. Le Corbusier believed buildings should function as “machines for living,” as seen in his Villa Savoye located in the outskirts of Paris, France. Elevated by columns to keep it off the damp ground, the home features reinforced concrete walls, large horizontal windows for illumination and ventilation, and an open interior layout.

Robert Venturi photos by: David Montgomery/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Vanna Venturi House photo by: Smallbones
Many elements of postmodern architect Robert Venturi’s Vanna Venturi House in Philadelphia were an open challenge to modernist design.

Postmodern: Robert Venturi

American architect Robert Venturi was one of the leaders of the postmodern architectural movement, which embraced the “messy vitality” of great architecture over the simple, functional buildings of the modern era. Completed in 1964, his Vanna Venturi House in Philadelphia features a pitched roof rather than a flat roof, asymmetrical windows and a purely ornamental applique arch.

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