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The Modern Functional Building
The Modern Functional Building

Adolf Behne
Introduction by Rosemarie Haag Bletter
Translation by Michael Robinson

Getty Research Institute
284 pages, 7 1/2 x 10 1/4 inches
115 b/w illustrations
ISBN 978-0-89236-364-3
paper, Out of Print  1996

"A skillful translation ... it belongs in all academic architecture collections."
Library Journal


Few individuals better chart the path of European Modernism in the first decades of this century than Adolf Behne (1885-1948). Before World War I, Behne was active in the German Werkbund. As a critic, he explored differences in high, commercial, and popular culture. In the 1920s Behne became one of the most incisive and eloquent theorists of Modernism and, together with Bruno Taut and Walter Gropius, organized the Arbeitsrat für Kunst (Work council on the arts). Behne also was an early critic of both the Werkbund and the Bauhaus.

Written in 1923, Behne's Modern Functional Building clarifies the concepts of German Modernism at their inception, especially the crucial distinctions between functionalism, rationalism, and utilitarianism. In this text, Behne advocates a functionalism that is not technocentric but is comparable to the social ideas espoused by Max Weber and Georg Simmel.

Rosemarie Haag Bletter is a professor of art history at the Graduate School and University Center of the City University of New York. She is the author of El arquitecto Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas: Sus obras y dibujos and Venturi, Rauch, and Scott Brown: A Generation of Architecture. She is the co-author, with Cervin Robinson, of Skyscraper Style—Art Deco New York.

This title is out of print. Please look for it at your local libraries and/or used bookstores.

Series: Texts & Documents

See: Contents