Counter-movements to Modernism
Featurism came as the counter-revolution against the International style. It represented a general drift away from the realities of function to association and symbolism to prettiness or beauty for its own sake. Monotony of the perfection of shadowless glass box of the International style was broken by dressing up the disciplined plans in fancy materials. The new self-contained tight form was a decisive return to classical symmetry and a final assault on the functional articulation of the Bahaus vision. This style was moreover encouraged by great development in chemical industry and technology. A great increase in production of synthetic and composite materials from the chemical laboratories led to variety of choice of surface materials, pigments and textures. False effects as of marble in plastic floor tiles and timber grains in laminated sheets and golden metallic surfaces on cardboards now brought sophisticated richness in surface treatment.
United States Embassy at New Delhi, India by Edward Durrell Stone (1955)
United States Embassy at New Delhi is a post-independence building, described as modern but at the same time thoroughly tuned with Indian tradition. Edward Durrell Stone was one of the pioneers of Featurism and this is one of his earlier contributions to this style. It was classically square and disciplined in plan but was dressed up in frankly Taj Mahal ambience. Edward Stone has used stone pierced walls of South Indian temples, the elevated platform of Mughal tombs and mosques and the rectangular courtyard found throughout India to produce a blending of American and Indian styles. Reflecting a form of modern classical building, the entire exterior had slender gold leaf columns and ornamental cast concrete screen. The landscaped interior courtyard was covered with aluminum mesh which failed to provide a cool shelter for the interior, rather acting as a pocket of hot air.
The use of materials is also to...