what is modern architecture?

what is modern architecture?

Modern architecture, or modernist architecture, was an architectural style based upon new and innovative technologies of construction, particularly the use of glass, steel, and reinforced concrete; the idea that form should follow function (functionalism); an embrace of minimalism; and a rejection of ornament. It emerged in the first half of the 20th century and became dominant after World War II until the 1980s, when it was gradually replaced as the principal style for institutional and corporate buildings by postmodern architecture.

Modern architecture emerged at the end of the 19th century from revolutions in technology, engineering and building materials, and from a desire to break away from historical architectural styles and to invent something that was purely functional and new.

The revolution in materials came first, with the use of cast iron, plate glass, and reinforced concrete, to build structures that were stronger, lighter and taller. The cast plate glass process was invented in 1848, allowing the manufacture of very large windows. The Crystal Palace by Joseph Paxton at the Great Exhibition of 1851 was an early example of iron and plate glass construction, followed in 1864 by the first glass and metal curtain wall. These developments together led to the first steel-framed skyscraper, the ten-story Home Insurance Building in Chicago, built in 1884 by William Le Baron Jenney. The iron frame construction of the Eiffel Tower, then the tallest structure in the world, captured the imagination of millions of visitors to the 1889 Paris Universal Exposition.

French industrialist François Coignet was the first to use iron-reinforced concrete, that is, concrete strengthened with iron bars, as a technique for constructing buildings.[5] In 1853 Coignet built the first iron reinforced concrete structure, a four-story house in the suburbs of Paris. A further important step forward was the invention of the safety elevator by Elisha Otis, first demonstrated at the New York Crystal Palace exposition in 1854, which made tall office and apartment buildings practical. Another important technology for the new architecture was electric light, which greatly reduced the inherent danger of fires caused by gas in the 19th century.

The debut of new materials and techniques inspired architects to break away from the neoclassical and eclectic models that dominated European and American architecture in the late 19th century, most notably eclecticism, Victorian and Edwardian architecture, and the Beaux-Arts architectural style. This break with the past was particularly urged by the architectural theorist and historian Eugène Viollet-le-Duc. In his 1872 book Entretiens sur L’Architecture, he urged: “use the means and knowledge given to us by our times, without the intervening traditions which are no longer viable today, and in that way we can inaugurate a new architecture. For each function its material; for each material its form and its ornament.” This book influenced a generation of architects, including Louis Sullivan, Victor Horta, Hector Guimard, and Antoni Gaudí.

Determine Your Style in architecture

Determine Your Style in architecture

How do you want a space to feel? Here’s a trick to help you hone in on your style: take a look at your closet. Do you prefer tailored pieces or do you prefer looser and more comfortable items? Do you gravitate toward certain colors or patterns? Another way to help you determine your style is to think of key words that define how you want a space to feel. Traditional, formal, elegant? Playful, humorous, inviting? Monochromatic, streamlined, modern?

Take note of design inspirations in every facet of life. I often use these as a starting point to discuss with clients when I’m hired to help them design the interiors of their homes. Recall a hotel in which you’ve stayed or restaurant in which you’ve dined that particularly struck your fancy. Perhaps it was a minimal interior from your trip to Japan or a clubby bar in New York furnished with worn leather chairs.

It is a lot easier for people to express what they do not like. By putting dislikes into the equation, we can eliminate some things and narrow in on others. For example, a bold large-scale print might remind you of something in your childhood that you do not want to see in your own space. Or a wingback chair might bring back memories of being sent to time-outs for pulling your sister’s hair. Likewise, a certain color might evoke feelings of a past design trend that you aren’t eager to repeat. These memories and reactions are very personal and individual, but also define our tastes.

who is an architect?

who is an architect?

An architect is a person who plans, designs and oversees the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in connection with the design of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the buildings that have human occupancy or use as their principal purpose. Etymologically, the term architect derives from the Latin architectus, which derives from the Greek (arkhi-, chief + tekton, builder), i.e., chief builder.

The Professional requirements for architects vary from place to place. An architect’s decisions affect public safety, and thus the architect must undergo specialized training consisting of advanced education and a practicum (or internship) for practical experience to earn a license to practice architecture. Practical, technical, and academic requirements for becoming an architect vary by jurisdiction, though the formal study of architecture in academic institutions has played a pivotal role in the development of the profession as a whole.


Throughout ancient and medieval history, most of the architectural design and construction was carried out by artisans—such as stone masons and carpenters, rising to the role of master builder. Until modern times, there was no clear distinction between architect and engineer. In Europe, the titles architect and engineer were primarily geographical variations that referred to the same person, often used interchangeably.

Filippo Brunelleschi is revered as one of the most inventive and gifted architects in history.
It is suggested that various developments in technology and mathematics allowed the development of the professional ‘gentleman’ architect, separate from the hands-on craftsman. Paper was not used in Europe for drawing until the 15th century but became increasingly available after 1500. Pencils were used more often for drawing by 1600. The availability of both allowed pre-construction drawings to be made by professionals. Concurrently, the introduction of linear perspective and innovations such as the use of different projections to describe a three-dimensional building in two dimensions, together with an increased understanding of dimensional accuracy, helped building designers communicate their ideas However, the development was gradual. Until the 18th-century, buildings continued to be designed and set out by craftsmen with the exception of high-status projects

The Modern Workstation

The Modern Workstation

It’s entirely possible for professionals to spend more time at their desk than in their own living room during the course of a regular work week. Still, the harsh truth is few modern workstations boast the amenities, tools, and tech that employees need to operate at their best. What’s more, a poor desk setup can have a major negative impact on mood and productivity. To combat some typical workstation woes, check out these four awesome ideas to upgrade your desk situation ASAP:

It doesn’t cost any money to untangle a mess of wires running around your desk or to utilize some free space under your workstation for file storage. Individuals working in small office spaces can maximize their workstation’s capabilities simply by taking the time to get organized and reduce the clutter in or around their desks.

Ergonomic furniture and fixtures are a godsend to modern employees. It’s unhealthy to sit for long periods of time (like eight hours in a row, for example) so innovations like sit-to-stand desks can do wonders for your staff’s mood and efficiency levels. Never underestimate the value of a solid piece of furniture!

Some workstations function as single-person desks. However, more and more professionals share workstations and tackle projects together. As such, it’s often a good idea to invest in some features to help facilitate teamwork like a whiteboard, smart-board, projection screen, or multiple monitors. Plus, purchasing desks that can expand into larger tables is a great way to encourage creative collaboration among your ranks.

As noted above, modern professionals spend a lot of time working at their desk. With that in mind, it’s key for progressive business owners to give their team members the opportunity to personalize their workstations in meaningful ways. We’ve come a long way from the days of uniform rows of cubicles, so let your employees express themselves. You’ll be amazed at how a few little changes can alter an entire office atmosphere for the better.

Principles of Modern Office Design

Principles of Modern Office Design

Innovations are certainly a large aspect of modern office design. Yet, there’s no point in introducing a new office design element that doesn’t boost employee morale, performance, or help your company increase revenue. Below, we’ve listed the six most important principles of modern office design. While there are a myriad of modern office design techniques, these are the ones all business owners should prioritize.

One of the key principles of modern office design is actually quite ancient: letting in some sunlight! There are a few reasons why this is a smart move.

The first is that natural light illuminates a much wider color spectrum than regular light bulbs. This reduces eye-strain and can make your employees more alert, which not only makes them feel better, but boosts productivity and reduces errors.

What’s more, natural light is, of course, free. Considering that utility costs are only going to rise in the future, planning for more natural light can be a shrewd investment. With this being said, it’s important to have suitable wall coverings so that employees can decide when they want to let the sunshine in and when they don’t.

A prevailing trend in modern office design is flexibility. Professionals love workstations that can play multiple roles –– in large part because they themselves cover a wide range responsibilities. If you ask your employees to complete a diverse array of tasks, then it may be a wise play to prioritize versatility in your office design. You can achieve this by investing in tables and chairs that are easily movable, setting up semi-private work areas, and installing a number of tech-friendly outlets throughout your office.

What does an eco-friendly office look like? In truth, there is no set template for green office design. Rather, business owners across industries can incorporate eco-friendly interior elements within their larger theme. Still, making a few eco-friendly decisions could help a business improve its reputation, win points with employees, save money, and of course do some good for the environment at the same time.

At one point, the open office design was the “hot option” for business owners who wanted to boost collaboration within the workspace. However, office design has evolved since that time and has become more nuanced. Now, there are multiple ways to encourage collaboration without knocking down all the walls in a workspace. Setting up conjoined desks, removing assigned seating, and creating spaces for smaller “squads” of employees to gather and work are all effective methods to improve group productivity.

Some offices are truly eye-catching in the sense that they employ a bright, neon-tinted color palette. Obviously, this is one way to draw the eye and influence mood, but managers can often produce the same (or similar) effect by integrating compelling artwork into their workspace. In addition, natural light and plants are both cost-efficient measures to invigorate to a drab office atmosphere.

The last key principle of modern office design is simple to understand, but often takes some planning and investment to implement: getting organized.

Indeed, the days of frenetic, messy offices (think old-school newspaper publishers) are long gone. Today’s most efficient and profitable workplaces are a model of clarity and cleanliness. Yes, things can get chaotic. But it’s the kind of “organized chaos” that one sees in hospital emergency departments or air-traffic control towers.

From a design perspective, getting –– and staying –– organized typically involves optimizing traffic flows and deploying furniture and equipment that maximizes space utilization. Light, modular furniture in particular is often part of the plan, since it can be moved or re-purposed as required.

5 Design Tips to Design like an Architect(2)

5 Design Tips to Design like an Architect(2)

3. Be conscious of scale
Scale can sometimes be easily overlooked, which makes it just as important as other design tips. You have to keep in mind the function of the space when you are designing to use an appropriate scale. For example, this house featured on Architectural Digest includes an over-sized front door, large stairs, and super high ceilings. These features may be neat for a gallery or large event, but they’re not practical for everyday use for one person.

4. Maintain proportions
Possibly the second most important design tips are proportions. It really comes down to the unification of alignment and scale. Similarly to how the scale is relative to the user, the proportion is relative to the other pieces of the building. When looking at a proportional building, one side may be twice as long or the same size as the first side. The Parthenon is a perfect example of proportion. The capital of the column is the same length as the space between each column. The details in the frieze are proportional to each other as well.

5. Don’t forget the details
Details are essentially the culmination of all of the previous design tips. If you keep each one of them in consideration when designing, you can create beautiful details. The façade of this building was clearly well-thought. The geometric pattern is recessed and aligns perfectly with the reveals. Because of the attention to detail, the overall appearance and concept can shine through.

In this ecclesiastical design by Tadao Ando, you can see the alignment of every joint and the opening of the cross. The architect is using contrast between light and darkness and materials to showcase the cross detail.

5 Design Tips to Design like an Architect(1)

5 Design Tips to Design like an Architect(1)

As an aspiring architect, there are a lot of design tips you may have heard. Deciding which ones are the most important can be overwhelming. In this article, we’ll go over the 5 best ones to get you designing like an architect! We’ll break down the elements of concept, alignment, scale, proportions, and finally, details. We’ll show you an example of each one so you can see real-life scenarios of good and bad examples. Let’s get started!

Design Tips

1. Develop a Concept
A concept is likely one of the first things you will learn about in architecture or design school. It serves as the basis for all of your design decisions. It can be literal or abstract. For example, if you use a literal apple as your concept, your building may look like an apple. If you abstract the apple, your design may focus on how an apple is formed or grown. As you can see with the design of the Seattle Public Library, the form is intriguing but also functional. The design was based around arranging core components of the library in the most logical way, and the form was then generated from the interior layout. The most ideal library would be completely linear to easily locate books, but that isn’t very practical. The architects (OMA) of this library decided to make a ramp that travels up all of the floors instead. This is a great example of how a concept informed the entire design of a structure.

2. Focus on Alignment
The second, and possibly the most important of design tips, is alignment. The first image represents an example of poor alignment. You can see by just being off by a small amount, the alignment of the ceiling and walls creates a bit of an eyesore. If each point were to come together at the same point, it would create a symmetrical and intentional alignment.

The next image shows an example of good alignment. The portals line up with the center of each arch, which also lines up with circles in the tile floor. Above the portal, you can also see a pointed arch that lines up with the center. The repetition of elements and precision creates a beautiful and intentional design.

Classical architecture

Classical architecture

Classical architecture usually denotes architecture which is more or less consciously derived from the principles of Greek and Roman architecture of classical antiquity, or sometimes even more specifically, from the works of the Roman architect Vitruvius. Different styles of classical architecture have arguably existed since the Carolingian Renaissance, and prominently since the Italian Renaissance. Although classical styles of architecture can vary greatly, they can in general all be said to draw on a common “vocabulary” of decorative and constructive elements. In much of the Western world, different classical architectural styles have dominated the history of architecture from the Renaissance until the second world war, though it continues to inform many architects to this day.

The term classical architecture also applies to any mode of architecture that has evolved to a highly refined state, such as classical Chinese architecture, or classical Mayan architecture. It can also refer to any architecture that employs classical aesthetic philosophy. The term might be used differently from “traditional” or “vernacular architecture”, although it can share underlying axioms with it.

For contemporary buildings following authentic classical principles, the term New Classical architecture is sometimes used.

Classical architecture is derived from the architecture of ancient Greece and ancient Rome. With a collapse of the western part of the Roman empire, the architectural traditions of the Roman empire ceased to be practised in large parts of western Europe. In the Byzantine Empire, the ancient ways of building lived on but relatively soon developed into a distinct Byzantine style. The first conscious efforts to bring back the disused language of form of classical antiquity into Western architecture can be traced to the Carolingian Renaissance of the late 8th and 9th centuries.

The gatehouse of Lorsch Abbey (c. 800), in present-day Germany thus displays a system of alternating attached columns and arches which could be an almost direct paraphrase of e.g., that of the Colosseum in Rome. Byzantine architecture, just as Romanesque and even to some extent Gothic architecture (with which classical architecture is often posed), can also incorporate classical elements and details but do not to the same degree reflect a conscious effort to draw upon the architectural traditions of antiquity; for example, they do not observe the idea of a systematic order of proportions for columns. In general, therefore, they are not considered classical architectural styles in a strict sense

facade design materials2

facade design materials2


Exterior insulation and finish system (EIFS) is a veneer system that insulates and can achieve a wide variety of looks. Many people recognize this product as stucco. This material has been developed to replicate other materials in appearance. A lay-person may not be able to detect if they are looking at EIFS or stone. There are EIFS systems that even replicate brick and metal panels. The system generically consists of a rigid insulation board adhered to back-up wall construction with a sprayed-on, or troweled-on, finish system. Since the material is applied as a liquid, architectural expression with details is easily achieved by carving the rigid insulation as desired. It is also very lightweight compared to other façade systems and can be used without much need for support. EIFS is the most economical system per square foot with the insulation performance it provides.

The downside of EIFS is its durability. The EIFS shell over rigid insulation is thin and can be damaged easily. A puncture can occur from a flying rock from a lawnmower. Colors can sometimes fade or the surface can stain and get dirty over time. Due to these characteristics, we often use EIFS at higher parts of a building to keep it protected.

4. Cementitious (Fiber-Cement) Siding

We use this system on our residential projects or other projects where it may seem appropriate. Cementitious siding is becoming more and more prevalent in commercial buildings, and there are many manufacturers (James Hardie e.g.) of this type of material. The material is most comparable to wood lap siding, although it is also available as panels and panels made to look like lap siding or shakes. This façade systems hold up well under the elements and doesn’t require much maintenance. It is available pre-finished or can be field-painted. It is relatively lightweight compared to masonry, but detailing this material with continuous insulation can be challenging. Cost wise, it is comparable to EIFS and would provide more durability. However, insulation needs to be considered.

5. Precast concrete

Occasionally, precast panels will be used as a façade system. These panels offer several benefits for a project. They provide an entire wall and structural system, and they can be effective when dealing with tight construction schedules. There are many options with precast concrete panels as far as appearance goes. But to make it competitive to other wall systems, we find it best to maintain consistent sizes and limited detailing. If there are many panels sizes or irregularities between panels, cost is added. The panels are built in a factory, delivered, and installed onsite. They are held in place with braces until the roof structure is in place. Erection time is very quick, but the lead time can be over 6 months to have panels fabricated. This needs to be evaluated closely to determine if it will benefit a project more when compared to other systems.