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1922: Church of Notre Dame – Le Raincy, France

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Innovation: Church of Notre Dame
Location: Le Raincy, France
Year: 1922-1923
By: Auguste and Gustave Perret

The Church of Notre Dame, located in Le Raincy, France is a monument of modernism in architecture. The church is made of reinforced concrete, and was built during a period of time when concrete was still an experimental material. The building is catered to economic recovery, and was built to commemorate the French victory in the Battle of Marne of 1914. The concrete replaced masonry, and brought with it “the imitation of ineffable space” [1]. The building has four rows of tall, slim columns rising to a height of 37 feet spaced evenly 33 feet apart, and diminishes from a 17-inch girth at the foot to a 14-inch girth at the summit. The columns provide a more economical approach with use of materials, constant rigidity from every angle, gradations of shadows, consistency of silhouette, and are “best adapted for a member under compression” (Perrot) [1]. The building is freestanding, which also minimizes the use of materials and maximizes economic recovery. The windows are made of stained glass, which have colored coatings on top of the clear glass for economic reasons. The windows are filled with blues near the entry, and the tones of color become warmer near the heart of the building (the sanctuary). The concrete used had excess lime and water, and coverage of the steel reinforcing was proven to be inefficient, which lead to major restorations in the building starting in the 1960s.

Articles: [1] [2]

Written by Michelle Gilhousen

October 8, 1922 at 7:02 am

Posted in Uncategorized

1920: First Commercial Radio Station KDKA

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Innovation: First Commercial Radio Station KDKA, mass communication
Location: Pittsburg, Pennsylvania
Year: 1920
By: Westinghouse Electric Corporation

The first commercial radio station KDKA made its debut on November 2, 1920 when it aired the presidential election that year. Previously, voice radio was “the purview of engineers and hobbyists called hams” [3], and was used purely for amusement since it was more of a telephone mechanism (communication between two people). After technological advancements made in WWI, radio companies could sell and build ready-made machines. Westinghouse wanted to build a broadcast station at their plant to increase sales of receivers and promote good publicity, and brought Frank Conrad (an engineer) onto their project since he was familiar with the equipment. Thus, modern radio broadcasting was born, and the “Golden Age of Radio” began. Conrad built a 100-watt transmitter for air programming from Westinghouse, which involved knowledge of wiring and circuitry. The first advertisement launched on a radio station was in 1922, and it was for a real estate developer in New York City. The radio was now a way to advertise, obtain news quickly (no waiting for newspapers), hear the same songs across the country, and listen to guest speakers/heroes. The entry of mass communication led way to mass culture development [3].

Articles: [1] [2] [3]

Written by Michelle Gilhousen

November 2, 1920 at 5:42 am

Posted in Uncategorized

1919: Bauhaus School

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Innovation: Bauhaus School, Modern Architecture Movement
Location: Weimer, Dessau, Berlin, Germany
Year: 1919-1933
By: Walter Gropius, Hannes Meyer, Mies van der Rohe

The Bauhaus School in Germany was created after World War I, and was funded by the states to merge craft tradition with modern technology. The original founder of the school was Walter Gropius (from 1919-1928), and while he was teaching there was a more aesthetic approach to the arts and architecture. Gropius said he wanted the school to be about “architecture adapted to our world of machines, radios, and fast cars.” [1] The main goal of the school was to maintain functional and cheap architectural spaces and forms that were consistent with mass production. The Weimer Republic lacked the raw materials that other countries like the U.S. had, and therefore needed designers and a new art education focused on industrial work. The school led way to modernist styles in architecture, and experimented with flat roofs. When Hannes Meyer took over the school (from 1928-1930), he shifted focus of the teachings towards functionality of buildings. His taught the students how to meet the needs of clients and scientifically develop design solutions. Mies van der Rohe (headmaster from 1930-1933) adapted his own aesthetics about spatial implementation of intellectual decisions. The machine was viewed as a positive element, and was the inspiration for industrial and product designs. The school created a course called “Vorkurs”, which in modern day is the fundamental “Basic Design” course taught in architecture and design schools. The Bauhaus School changed contemporary German design, and led the world into a more modernistic design and view of architecture. The teachers fled Germany when the school was closed in 1933 by the Nazi regime, and spread their views in different countries. Mies van der Rohe set up a school in Chicago, now called the Institute of Design school at Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT).

Articles: [1] [2] [3]

Written by Michelle Gilhousen

October 8, 1919 at 4:20 am

Posted in Uncategorized

1914: World War I

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Innovation: concrete pill box, machine guns, tanks, armed airplanes, gas mask, submarines
Year: 1914-1918

World War I created a gateway to new technological advancements in the industry. Inventions for warfare include: gas masks, the concrete pill box (understanding of concrete and materials), machine guns (guns would often overheat, and cooling methods were developed).

The first airplane was invented ten years before the WWI.  The 12-cyinder Liberty engine, introduced in WWI, weighed less (total wt. of 710 pounds) and with 410 hp, allowed the planes to go faster. Production lines were set up by multiple automobile manufacturers, workers were assigned to work in the Spruce Division (lumber), and castor beans were being planted for castor oil needed for planes. The need for ships also increased during WWI, so American companies had to cooperate, and share labor to produce transport ships, which were needed to deliver supplies to soldiers overseas.

Submarines were engine-powered by oil-fired engines (either gas or diesel) when surfaced, and had a triangular cross-section with a distinct kneel and bow to help maneuver the submarine above water. Submarines could go deeper (up to 150 feet underwater) than before, and could run underwater for short amounts of time to attack through battery power. Underwater, submarines had to burn air from compressed tanks or run on battery power that required recharging, so they had to surface frequently to recharge the battery.

Web Links to more info: 1 2 3 4 5 6

Written by Michelle Gilhousen

October 5, 1914 at 7:36 pm

Posted in Uncategorized