Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Creative Arts


Art History

Committee Chair

Kristina Olson.

Committee Co-Chair

Janet Snyder

Committee Member

Robert Bridges


The French Cubist painter and writer Amedee Ozenfant suggested that "Deep in every revolution, discreetly hidden, resides a classicism which is a form of constant." Twentieth-century Modern and Postmodern architecture are no exceptions to this rule. Basic to both movements is the use of classical reference as a foundation for communication with the viewer. This study shows how classical elements and ideas inform the work of Modern and Postmodern architects. Employing classicism as a framework for the holistic reinterpretation of a set of established values (Modernism), or as quotation that is part of a symbolic cultural language (Postmodernism), the architect is well served by the adoption of this time-honored source at the core of his or her work.;Modern architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Postmodernist Michael Graves serve as representative examples of each of these ways of using classical elements and ideas to ground their work. This study looks at the development of each artist in the context of his artistic movement and details classical influences on his work, focusing ultimately on one building designed by each architect: Mies's Richard King Mellon Hall in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (1962-68); and Graves's Erickson Alumni Center in Morgantown, West Virginia (1984-86). While both architects' work is much discussed by historians and critics, this is the first in-depth study of these two buildings through the lens of classicism. Each building is characteristic of its respective architect's use of ancient Greek and Roman ideas.