Neoclassical style - Table of Contents .............................. Styles of Architecture

Neoclassical Monumental Architecture 
Also called
Classical Monumental Architecture 
1930-1942



Power Over Space and Time: Monumental Architecture

In the 1930s, because of the Great Depression, most European and American architecture was monumental architecture, financed by the government or a wealthy institution, characterized by attempts to express the national spirit, and motivated, in part, by the need to created jobs....

Hitler and Stalin repudiated modern architecture in favor of a pseudo-classicism... Repudiation of modern architecture took longer in Italy and was never as complete.

- Bernice Glatzer Rosenthal, New Myth, New World: From Nietzsche To Stalinism, p. 403


Great Depression Neoclassical Monumental Architecture

Neoclassicism waned with state suppression and the decline of outspoken dissent during and after World War I (1914—1918) but revived in the Great Depression, and throughout Europe as well, particularly under authoritarian regimes in Italy, Germany, and the Soviet Union.

In the United States, it was much simplified from its earlier incarnation by

square columns and capitals
spare ornament
crisp rectilinearity
reduced use of
pediments, porticos, and domes (which, when present, resembled spires).

Examples are the Gallatin County Courthouse (1936) in Bozeman, Montana, theLibrary of Congress Annex (1938) in Washington, D.C., and the Soldiers Memorial (1939) in St. Louis, all erected with Works Progress Administration assistance.

Fascist and National Socialist architecture differed only in scale: grander in Italy, positively grandiose in Germany. In the Soviet Union it was fussily ornate, recalling the turn of the century.

With the absence or reduction of private investment during the 1930s, governments financed an even greater amount of architecture than before, which is to say that during two historical moments of unusually high demand for social justice or social spending, authorities were unusually concerned with maintaining social order. It mattered not whether order was sustained by increased policing or liberal reform, whether the state was dictatorial or democratic, or - in the United States- whether it was the Gilded Age, the Progressive Era, or the New Deal. Regardless of political ideology, governments buttressed legitimacy by appropriating classical architecture, which in times of crisis was the artistic court of last resort.

- U S History Encyclopedia: Architecture: The Architecture of National Power (1880s to 1930s)

Examples from Buffalo architecture:


Photos and their arrangement 2010 Chuck LaChiusa
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