How Agrarian, Industrial Structures In The US Inspired An Architectural Revolution In Europe – An Exploration By MoMA Through Photography, Architecture, Engineered Objects

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Discover the influences that sparked a modern revolution

Our newest collection exhibition, Architecture in the Age of Industry, explores how agrarian and industrial structures in the United States—from Henry Ford’s assembly line to the sprawling factories and grain silos of the Midwest—sparked an architectural revolution in Europe.

Bringing together objects engineered for mass production, rarely shown photographs of 20th-century American factories, and work by architects such as Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, and others, the exhibition draws on MoMA’s expansive collection to share new insights on influences that shaped the birth of modern architecture.

From MoMA’s description:

The early 1900s saw a boom of industry in the United States, embodied most notably by Henry Ford’s development of assembly line manufacturing. North America’s sprawling factory complexes and monumental grain silos transfixed a rising generation of European architects, sparking a revolution in architecture and design now known as the Modern Movement.


German architect Walter Gropius compared US industrial architecture to the Egyptian pyramids; Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier would later describe these buildings as “the first fruits of a new age.” Alongside others like the German American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, they rejected ornament and created a new architectural language based on the form and function of machines and the industrial buildings that housed them. Modern architects embraced materials like steel, glass, and reinforced concrete, whose widespread use was facilitated by mass production. This same technology also transformed the field of industrial design, shaping the look and style of a new era of everyday, factory-produced objects.


Be the first to explore Architecture in the Age of Industry during UNIQLO NYC Nights tonight, and don’t miss the final days of Signals: How Video Transformed the World.

Banner Image: Exhibit image. Image Credit – MoMA


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