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Examining Architectural Styles And Their Features

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  • 17-01-2024
Examining Architectural Styles And Their Features

This article examines architectural styles and their features. From timeless classics to cutting-edge designs, explore the rich tapestry of architectural history and innovation.

 Brutalist Architecture

Brutalist architecture, with its unyielding, stark and heavy style, emerged as a leading architectural style during the mid-20th century. This design style, known for its authenticity and austere aesthetic, originated from the French term 'béton brut' which translates to 'raw concrete'. These structures stand out starkly amidst the backdrop of urban cityscapes worldwide, their functional design mirroring the daring aesthetic that is the signature of brutalism. 

Characteristic of Brutalist architecture is the extensive and almost militant display of raw materials, mostly concrete, which is unapologetically on display in both the interior and exterior. In addition, Brutalist structures often showcase structural elements that are integral to the architecture of the building, leaving no room for any frills or decorative embellishments. These buildings don't attempt to soften or beautify their features, bearing an almost raw and aggressive radiance that has become distinctly brutalist.

Most examples of brute architecture can be found in institutional buildings such as government offices, universities and public housing projects. These structures were primarily built during the mid to late 20th century, a time when this architectural style saw its zenith. From imposing towers to geometric shapes and unconventional approaches to the notions of space and form, Brutalist architecture marks an important milestone in the evolution of global design and construction.

 Modern Architecture

Offering a unique departure from the time-tested historical architectural styles, modern architecture boldly embraces the language of simplicity and minimalism.

The central idea of modern architecture is to prioritise function above all else, in stark contrast to the elaborate decorative elements that defined many historical styles. While other architectural genres may highlight intricate ornamentation, modernist structures reduce this detailing to a minimum and take a more utilitarian approach.

This evolution didn't happen in a vacuum but was spurred by the revolutionary changes in technology and society during the Industrial Revolution.

The sweeping changes that this era brought to industry, technology, and society as a whole called for an architectural style that could embody these transformations. With a keen aspiration for innovation and change, modernist architects started to rethink traditional building methods.

Examining Architectural Styles And Their Features

Modernist architects sought to utilise new technologies and materials in their work, resulting in the remarkable creation of buildings that deviated significantly from the past. This novel departure from tradition marked a seismic shift in architectural design norms, leading to the birth of modern architectural concepts. 

One characteristic feature of modern architecture is its strong emphasis on linear elements. Straight horizontal and vertical lines dominate the design, giving the structure a clean, sleek, and crisp appearance. Another distinctive feature is the open floor plan, which offers spacious and uncluttered interior spaces. Modern architecture also makes judicious use of large windows. This is not just for aesthetic appeal but also to maximise natural light, creating a bright, airy, and welcoming atmosphere within the structures.

The use of industrial materials like steel and concrete is also common in modern architecture, reflecting the influence of the Industrial Revolution on this style. Some iconic examples of modern architecture include Fallingwater by Frank Lloyd Wright and the Seagram Building by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. These extraordinary buildings showcase the essence of modernist architecture in their design, paying homage to simplicity, functionality, and innovation. By breaking away from the constraints of the past, they truly capture the spirit of modern architecture.

 Tudor Architecture

Tudor architecture transports us back to a simpler era, drawing its unique characteristics from the period of the House of Tudor in England (1485-1603). This distinctive style is recognised by several features, including the steeply pitched gable roofs, decorative half-timbering, and slender windows adorned with small panes of glass. These aspects combine effortlessly to create a warm and inviting aesthetic.

The typical Tudor homes were ingeniously designed around a central chimney. This feature allowed the residences to remain cosy and warm, in spite of the often harsh weather conditions. Further, they were usually built around an enclosed courtyard, providing an intimate outdoor space for the occupants. Brick, stone or render were the materials preferred for these traditional structures. In some cases, the buildings were embellished with delightful diamond-patterned brickwork, adding another layer of visual interest to the architecture.

Today, the Tudor architectural style continues to enchant many and is a popular choice for private residences. This is particularly the case in the United States, where these homely abodes represent idyllic and romantic interpretations of rustic English homes. They captivate the imagination with their charming combination of simplicity and elegance, invoking images of a serene, pastoral life. Many people are attracted to this nostalgic style for its timeless appeal and unique combination of distinctive architectural elements.

 Contemporary Architecture

Contemporary architecture more than anything represents a broad umbrella term for a range of architectural styles rising to prominence after the mid-20th century. It's often juxtaposed with modernist architecture, even though both terms might seem similar at first glance.

While 'modern' refers to a definitive historical period with specific stylistic conventions, 'contemporary' embodies the ever-changing, dynamic nature of architectural design prevalent in the present moment.

In essence, contemporary architecture doesn't adhere to specific guidelines or patterns. In contrast to its historical counterparts, it does not have a distinctive, immediately recognisable style, feature, or elements. 

What sets contemporary architecture apart is its fluidity. It's characterised by an inventive confluence of styles, borrowing and merging elements from different architectural periods, traditions, and cultures. That's precisely where its brilliance and uniqueness lie. 

Contemporary Architecture

It's not just about embracing the new, but also about redefining and retuning the old, the traditional, and the established. Another defining aspect of contemporary architecture is its keen focus on sustainability and environmental considerations. This design sensibility leverages innovative, green building techniques and materials that minimise environmental impact, promote energy efficiency and enhance livability.

Key designers in the field continuously explore cutting-edge technologies and innovative materials to construct buildings that demonstrate a responsible and respectful attitude towards nature. We can also observe a strong predilection towards simplicity in contemporary architecture. You'll often see clean, sleek lines dominating the aesthetic narrative, along with an open-plan layout favouring the unobstructed flow of space.

This approach commits to avoiding unnecessary complexities, instead, it aims to celebrate the beauty of structural elements and raw materials. Spaces are versatile and congenial, designed to foster a sense of well-being, comfort, and communion with the surroundings. There's an inherent flexibility and adaptability in contemporary architecture that is reflective of broader societal changes and emerging lifestyle trends. As society constantly evolves and grows, so does the realm of contemporary architecture.  

 Victorian Architecture

Victorian architecture, so named after the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), is a term that encapsulates various architectural styles that were incredibly popular during this time period. The term is commonly used to describe a wide variety of styles seen in this era, each of which vary wildly but share common characteristics. These distinctive features potentially comprise of asymmetrical facades, steeply pitched roofs, and intricate window frames. 

These key features are further adorned with colourful decorative woodwork. Bright colour schemes were also a prominent feature, undoubtedly attributed to the cheerful and optimistic mood of the times. This architectural style demonstrates a great passion and appreciation for ornamentation and intricate detail, features that are often associated with the era's newfound prosperity and growth. This period was characterised by a great expansion in wealth for many, which was significantly reflected in the increasingly elaborate architectural designs.

Thanks to the Industrial Revolution, the mass production of building parts became possible. This not only made construction quicker and easier but also allowed architects to add more detail, which was a defining factor of Victorian architecture. In summary, Victorian architecture combines varied styles from the Queen Victoria era, characterised by their asymmetrical designs, elaborate details, and bright colours - a testament to the prosperity and optimism of the time.

At Design Home Plan, we are known for our architecture expertise in regions such as London, Kent and the South East. We specialise in crafting bespoke, eco-friendly home designs. Our team brings a wealth of knowledge, catering to our clients' unique requirements.