Neo-expressionism is loosely based on the German Expressionist movement from the early 20th century.  Neo-expressionism is a rejection of the modern ideals embodied in Miesian buildings.  The architecture is meant to evoke an emotional, not an intellectual response.  Neo-expressionism is sculpture-like and theatrical in appearance.  This style of architecture never dominated the American architectural scene, but most commonly found in religious and pubic buildings from the period.  Strict geometric shapes are rejected and sculpted forms emerge.  Innovation of building materials such as concrete, plastics, and laminates are often incorporated in the design to achieve the artistic forms.

Primary Stylistic Features
  • Sculptural forms.
  • Non-traditional structural elements.
  • Distortion of form to evoke emotion
  • Organic design.
  • Experimental materials.
  • Unconventional roof designs.
Secondary Stylistic Features
  • Irregularly shaped windows.
  • Same materials used inside and out.
  • Roofs as continuation of walls.
  • Use of topography as design element.
  • Use of cantilever.
  • Laminated wood.
  • Asymmetrical.

Evaluation Considerations

Neo-expressionist buildings will most often be considered for eligibility as an individual resource. To be eligible, Neo-expressionist buildings should be sculptural, evoke emotions, and have an unconventional roof design. Other primary and secondary features will help evoke emotions and the sculptural nature of the building. The setting and area landscaping are often critical components of this architectural style. It is necessary to document the concepts and ideas that were used in the design.