Description

Nearly everything that was said earlier of the International Style is true to some degree of Late Modern architecture. The essential difference is that while an International Style building is rational, or at least has the semblance of rationality, a Late Modern one tends to be rhetorical. That is to say, it will embody one or more of the rhetorical devices of exaggeration, repetition, and paradox - such as, in architectural terms, the exaggeration of structure, the repetition of a single form to the point that it loses its individuality and becomes simply a part of an overall pattern, the paradox of a building with glass walls and no windows. Then, whereas in an International Style building the scale is indicated by the openings, in a Late Modern one it may be highly ambiguous, for the articulation of a glass curtain wall is not controlled by the floors behind it, and the architect therefore has it in his power to increase or reduce the apparent size of the building at will. Curved surfaces, which in the International Style were occasional elements of contrast, may determine the total form of the building, and the arch, avoided absolutely by the architects of the International Style, makes an occasional appearance in glazed barrel vaults whose ancestry may be traced to the London Crystal Palace of 1851. Axial symmetry, rare in the International Style, is common.

Whiffen, Marcus. American architecture since 1780: a guide to the styles. N.p.: The MIT Press, 1969. Print.