As an architect, it’s always a matter of getting the right inspiration in order to create new buildings that will hopefully last a lifetime (or longer). So where do you get inspired? Some designers get inspired by nature, others by science fiction novels or films. Another way to get your architectural inspiration is to look back in time.
Let’s marvel at some great design styles from the last century in an easily comprehensible architectural styles timeline:
Late 19th / early 20th century
If one thinks about the early 20th century, the widespread architectural style of Art Deco is often first to come to mind. This style was wildly popular all over the world and represented luxury, glamour exuberance and faith in social and technical progress.
This style combined craftsmanship with rich materials. No wonder that this style was used for many new architectural pinnacles of the time. In these days, the first skyscrapers were built and some good examples of Art Deco skyscrapers are the Chrysler Building and the Empire State Building.
Expressionism (1910 – present)
Another important style that sprung up during this time of new techniques and building materials is expressionism. This very broad style was fueled by rapid development in materials, such as the mass production of brick, steel and glass and an economically prosperous era (at least until the Wall Street Crash of 1929). Some core characteristics of expressionism in architecture are a distortion of form for an emotional effect and an underlying effort to achieve the new original and visionary.
For our Dutch readers: the so-called Amsterdam School is a great example of expressionism in architecture in our own capital city. Other good examples of this building style are JFK International Airport, the Einstein Tower in Hamburg and the magnificent Sydney Opera House.
Something less well-known perhaps but still a rather impressive architectural style is Brutalism, which gained popularity from the 1950s to the 1970s. This style has some significant characteristics that make it truly one of a kind and very recognizable. Often, brutalist buildings feature bare building materials, such as exposed brick and concrete. This style really lives up to its name, with brutal and often sharp shapes. Some great examples of brutalist architecture that we couldn’t miss in this architectural styles timeline are the Boston City Hall and Western City Gate in Belgrade, Serbia.
High-Tech architecture (1970-present)
High-tech architecture, sometimes referred to as structural modernism emerged around the 1970s, so it’s one of the newest styles in our architectural styles timeline. This style incorporates elements of high-tech industry and technology into building design, the result being that these buildings look often very futuristic and impressive. Some notable high-tech architecture buildings are: the Lloyd’s Building in London and the Internationales Congress Centrum Berlin in Berlin.
What’s your architectural style?
So what’s your favourite 20th century architectural style. This architectural styles timeline is by no means complete: there are many, many more styles and sub-styles that emerged during this amazingly creative period in architectural history. And maybe yours is next! As an architect, your designs are your way to make your mark on the world so get inspired and design what you had in mind.
Getting your designs out to the world
While creating a new architectural design, there are often quite a few people that would like to see it beforehand: clients, stakeholders and investors for example. But don’t worry: this is easier than ever. Xuver has developed a completely online viewing platform that presents your architectural 3D drawing as an in-browser model. You and your clients simply walk through the 3D design with your own avatar (a 3D figure). This creates an unprecedentedly easy way to show your designs to everyone involved.
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