Collection 1880s–1940s


Architecture in the Age of Industry



Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Concrete Office Building Project, Berlin, Germany (Exterior perspective). 1923. Charcoal and crayon on paper, 54 1/2 x 113 3/4" (138.4 x 288.9 cm). The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Mies van der Rohe Archive, gift of the architect. ©️ 2023 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn
  • MoMA, Floor 5, 511 The David Geffen Wing

The early 1900s saw a boom of industry in the United States, embodied most notably by Henry Ford’s development of assembly line manufacturing. North America’s sprawling factory complexes and monumental grain silos transfixed a rising generation of European architects, sparking a revolution in architecture and design now known as the Modern Movement.

German architect Walter Gropius compared US industrial architecture to the Egyptian pyramids; Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier would later describe these buildings as “the first fruits of a new age.” Alongside others like the German American architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, they rejected ornament and created a new architectural language based on the form and function of machines and the industrial buildings that housed them. Modern architects embraced materials like steel, glass, and reinforced concrete, whose widespread use was facilitated by mass production. This same technology also transformed the field of industrial design, shaping the look and style of a new era of everyday, factory-produced objects.

Organized by Mallory Cohen, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Architecture and Design, and Martino Stierli, Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design.

26 works online

Support for the collection is provided by the Annual Exhibition Fund. Leadership contributions to the Annual Exhibition Fund, in support of the Museum’s collection and collection exhibitions, are generously provided by the Sandra and Tony Tamer Exhibition Fund, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Jerry I. Speyer and Katherine G. Farley, Eva and Glenn Dubin, the Kate W. Cassidy Foundation, Kenneth C. Griffin, Alice and Tom Tisch, the Marella and Giovanni Agnelli Fund for Exhibitions, Mimi Haas, The David Rockefeller Council, The Contemporary Arts Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz, Kathy and Richard S. Fuld, Jr., The International Council of The Museum of Modern Art, Marie-Josée and Henry R. Kravis, Jo Carole and Ronald S. Lauder, and The Junior Associates of The Museum of Modern Art.


Installation images

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].