What exactly is contemporary architecture? According to the most common definition, contemporary architecture is architecture that is practiced in the present time. You will agree that this is confusing. One might think that any building built today belongs to contemporary architecture. But this is not the case. Contemporary architecture is based on a principle shared by all who practice it.
And that is the desire and the will to conceive and build differently from what was done before and from what is usually done today. Contemporary architecture proposes breaking with the ways of thinking and doing that has become the norm. Contemporary architecture is therefore innovative. So, without further ado, let’s dive into this blog and learn some of the things you need to know about contemporary architecture.
1. What contemporary architecture is not
An architectural trend is a particular architectural choice that precisely reflects that society. Contemporary architecture is not an architectural trend. Architectural trends, such as Baroque, Futurism, or Modernism, are always linked to a specific historical period. As contemporary architecture is not an architectural trend, it is not subject to this constraint.
It is not a chapel. Contemporary architecture can then propose multiple architectural choices as long as they are different from what is usually done. On the other hand, this variety does not exclude certain common traits that can be found in contemporary architecture. This is what we will now examine.
2. The form
One only has to look around to quickly realize that the dominant line in architecture is the straight line. Contemporary architecture tends to move away from this habit by proposing more use of the curved line. In some cases, the building will be completely designed from curved lines; in other cases, curved and straight lines will be used in the same building.
The use of the curved line also allows the creation of volumes that are not only cubes, which is the case with the straight line. Thus, we will see buildings with rounded shapes in contemporary architecture. And when contemporary architecture uses the straight line, which makes the cube the unit of volume, it seeks to assemble these cubes in an unusual way so as to create a distinct volumetry.
This distinct volumetry, as well as the curved forms, will also allow a singular arrangement of the interior living spaces. If you don’t mind being different and enjoy living in non-standardized spaces, contemporary architecture is for you.
4. New materials
Another feature of today’s contemporary architecture is the use of new, so-called noble materials, such as glass, wood, brick, and metals inside and out. Plants have also made their place in contemporary architecture, first on the roofs but also more and more on the walls. And if you have a green thumb, you can also take advantage of this vegetation to practice vertical gardening, for example, by climbing tomato plants along a wall.
5. The window
Larger and more abundant windows are also a characteristic of contemporary architecture. Multiplication of openings, unusual location of these, panoramic windows, window walls, skylights, all are there. One of the consequences of this fenestration, in addition to allowing spectacular views, is to take full advantage of the sunshine, first for natural lighting, and then to take advantage of the passive heat of the sun.
If you are a lover of sunlight or if you appreciate spectacular views, contemporary architecture is for you. But beware! If you are thinking of settling in an urban environment, where the neighbors are very close, and you value your privacy, you will have to think intelligently about your windows.
6. The ecological concern
Eco-housing is not just a feature of contemporary architecture. Many conventional buildings today incorporate ecological or at least energy-efficient elements. But in contemporary architecture, these elements are a must. These include the use of photovoltaic cells, geothermal energy, heat pumps, heat exchangers, and heat collectors, all to produce heat in a different way and conserve it.
In residential construction, for example, we will try to integrate the house perfectly with its natural element in order not only not to disrupt it too much but also to make it a clean architectural element that gives a special cachet to the house. If protecting the environment and reducing greenhouse gases are priorities for you, then contemporary architecture will satisfy you because it will allow you to build a residence that will far exceed current environmental standards.
Another characteristic of today’s contemporary architecture is the desire to implement what is called, for lack of a better term, animated architecture. This animated architecture can take several forms, including sophisticated exterior lighting of a building, projections on the facades, and very often interactive with the passers-by or the users of the building. Water reappears, in the form of water jets, colored or not, waterfalls and fountains of all kinds. The aim is to make the building more alive and its surroundings more animated.
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