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  4. Architecture Guide
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  6. Art Nouveau

c. 1890 – 1914
Europe and North America

Influences: Nature; Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau, Celtic Revival, Catalan Modernisme, Chicago School, Prairie Style, Craftsman

The Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th century, which celebrated craftsmanship, influenced various forms of Art Nouveau, which integrated with or were inspired by nature using organic patterns or materials found in nature.

Arts and Crafts, England

Architecture delved into philosophy and its effect on the human psyche through John Ruskin and William Morris. The Arts and Crafts movement recognized the humanizing effects of living among handmade objects and natural materials.

Art Nouveau, Belgium and France

Influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, curving movement of nature, and Japanese art, Art Nouveau was pioneered by Victor Horta in Brussels, Belgium, who shaped iron into vine-like tendrils. Hector Guimard embraced this style in the Métro entrances he created in Paris, France.

Valencian Art Nouveau, Spain

The Valencian Art Nouveau style used in Valencia’s marketplaces, Mercat Colón and Mercat Central, combined Victorian-era forms of Industrial architecture.

Mercado Colón, Valencia
Mercat Central, Valencia

Celtic Revival, Scotland and Ireland

Glasgow School of Art alum, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, combined the influence of Art Nouveau with an interest in traditional Celtic Gothic architecture and the simplicity of Japanese design.

Catalan Modernisme, Spain

Art Nouveau in Catalonia, particularly in Barcelona with Antoni Gaudí, became known as Modernisme characterized by unconventional, whimsical, undulating forms, decorative ornament, and vibrant colors using brick, concrete, mosaics, and stained glass.

Park Güell, Barcelona

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Chicago School, United States

The Chicago School, led most notably by Louis Sullivan who coined the phrase “Form follows function,” embraced the use of new technology by combining the ideas of Art Nouveau with new steel-frame and cast-iron building methods, creating taller structures often clad in terra-cotta masonry with stylized floral patterns.

Prairie Style, United States

Evolving from the Chicago School, the Prairie Style was developed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright who turned to Japan’s low-lying horizontal planes with broad, cantilevered eaves and verandas to promote privacy along with art glass windows. The use of wood and reinforced concrete create light interiors and uninterrupted open spaces.

Craftsman, United States

Heavily influenced by the Arts and Crafts movement, Gustav Stickley developed this American vernacular of architecture with a return to local, natural materials and craftsmanship. Greene and Greene’s Gamble House in Pasadena, California showcases this style on a larger scale. Stemming from Craftsman principles, period-revival forms of this style, based on their environment and traditional materials, include Mission, Spanish Colonial, Pueblo, Log Cabin, Cape Cod, Tudor, and colonial styles.