THE BIRTH OF REALISM

DSC_0813

Plummer (Monodimetric projection). Drawing exercise at the young Institute of Technology in Stockholm

The Shift in Swedish Late 19th Century Architecture Training and its Consequences

In 1877 the Swedish parliament finally decided on establishing a school of architecture at the newly founded Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. My research investigates both previous scholarly receptions of this matter of fact and aims to map the outlines of the new reality of Swedish architecture of the period. A hypothesis to be evaluated is that the consequences of the architectural educational shift were fundamentally two: On the one hand the artistic idealism of the Academy of Fine Arts was abandoned as the basis of architectural understanding. On the other hand, the architects starting to identify with the engineering culture eventually led to scientific methods being applied to architectural problems of mass society in the 20th century. My research brings together and analyses the impacts and the considerations of such complexes of thought as academism, idealism, traditionalism, realism, romanticism, rationalism etc.

At this period in time, the late 19th century, my research identifies an interim period characterized by both departure and curiosity. Alongside Swedish scholar Björn Linn I propose the identification of a period of realistic architecture, resulting from the increased interest in the regional and the vernacular in architectural thought. The period spans from the start of the new education until the breakthrough of pseudo-scientific methods in architectural thinking after the First world war. The period bore two seeds of further development for architecture, resulting from the emerging society of industrialization and mass-fabrication. One was the “scientification” of building activities. The other was the artistic attempts to come to terms with the new relationship between man and object.