The ‘American Dream’ of Mid-Twenty Century: Building the World of Tomorrow
Raffaella Russo Spena

The article begins from the New York World’s Fair of 1939–1940, that was the first exposition based on the future, with an opening slogan of “Dawn of a New Day”, allowing all visitors to take a look at “the world of tomorrow”. From the historical standpoint, the event can be considered as a crucial moment of reflection about the meaning to assign to the term “modern” in American architecture, planning and design, beyond the restricted boundaries of a standardized Style. It happened at the end of a decade marked by the Great Depression, but dense of epochal changes. There are three core themes in the article. First, it claims that modernism in American architecture, urban planning, and city reforms, are ongoing conversations between architecture and society over the possibility of anticipating a better world. Second, that modernism is not the result of a discourse but rather a debate between different architectural practices and formal conceptions articulated against the backdrop of modernity. Third, that the idea of modernism is also drawn from other disciplines: from Emil Durkheim’s sociology where modernism is part of the trilogy modernity-modern-modernism; and from the history of art where modernism is linked to a wide range of categories, including different styles, movements, genres, and means.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jea.v4n2a3