Architectural Style Guide

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s observation that “less is more” has come to define the Modernist doctrine in architecture, whereby buildings and their components are reduced to simple forms expressed by geometry, largely devoid of ornamentation.

What to look for in a Modernist building:

  • Asymmetrical and geometric forms, rectangular or cubist shapes
  • Minimal or an absence of ornamentation
  • Steel frames and/or reinforced concrete
  • Flat roofs
  • Large windows
  • Open plan

Explore these galleries from the RIBA Collections illustrating the main features of Modernism to discover more images, drawings and photographs highlighting further examples of Modernist buildings and their distinctive style.

All of the images are available to download, purchase or license.

Features of Modernist Architecture

Design for Hotel Lobby

Open-Plan Interiors

For more images of Modernist architecture, also see Modernism Through the Decades