“International Style: An aspect of Gothic art of the late 14th and early 15th centuries characterized by a lyrical, naturalistic treatment of subject matter, gently flowing lines, and pretty, delicate coloration. Also called international gothic style. In architecture, the clean-surfaced glass-enclosed style formulated by the Bauhaus in the 1920s which has dominated commercial architecture since the 1950s. Mies van der Rohe, Philip Johnson, and Richard Neutra have been leading architects in the International Style. Le Corbusier’s machines a habiter (machines to live in), as he called the private homes commissioned early in his career, was a term meant to emphasize clean, precise, machine-like forms rather than a desire for mechanized living. But it also underlined modern architecture’s obsession with functionalist forms.”
Excerpted from: Diamond, David G. The Bulfinch Pocket Dictionary of Art Terms. Boston: Little Brown, 1992.