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Features of Contemporary Architecture

Contemporary architecture is regarded of the architecture of today – the 21st century. It emerged from the modern architecture of the late 20th century from the burning desire to design and construct building styles that defile the norm of the past and present. Such designs and buildings, which have eco-friendly features, are made possible as a result of the innumerable innovations in building materials and techniques in the construction industry. Contemporary architecture deploys the latest technology and modern materials such as Tube structure to design high-tech, stronger, taller, and wonderful buildings.

Contemporary architecture has birthed buildings of varying styles – while some are concrete structures wrapped in glass or aluminum screens, others have asymmetric facades. The world has also seen many skyscrapers which twist or break into crystal-like facets.

Features of Contemporary Architecture

  • Form and design
  • Contemporary architecture brings more sophisticated and innovative ideas, and is also more flexible compared to modern architecture. It came about with the desire to deviate from normal traditional designs and establish very creative designs and buildings. As a result of this, contemporary architecture uses unconventional building materials that will make people understand the aesthetic feeling through the unique design of structures.

    These unique materials made possible by latest technology in the construction industry include concrete, glass, wood, and aluminum screens. Contemporary homes have large plate walls or windows which allow natural air and light to penetrate the room and create large open spaces. The building frames follow symmetry and often have innovative shapes. To know that some of these materials are eco-friendly is a huge bonus for this style.

  • Flat open roofs
  • Contemporary architecture is also characterized by flat and overhanging roofing which is a break from the norm. The roofing provides additional shade. The shade protects the homes from unnecessary elements. The roofs extend into the outdoors, creating a more cohesive design and more enjoyable outer space. This is made possible by the overhang that presents an awning experience.

  • Reinforced concrete
  • The use of reinforced concrete started with modern architects who researched and discovered its value. Reinforced concrete makes contemporary designs possible as it can be moulded into almost any shape imaginable. Contemporary architects create visually-appealing buildings and budget-friendly designs with it. They reinforce concrete with iron rod to erect strong buildings.

    Contemporary architects also take advantage of curved lines and rounded spaces to create visually-appealing structures, instead of straight lines. This explains why clean lines are catchphrases of this form.

  • Sustainability
  • Contemporary architecture incorporates sustainable elements or energy efficiency. It uses photovoltaic cells, geothermal heating, heat pumps, heat exchangers, and thermal collectors to produce heat in new ways and conserve it.

    In residential construction, contemporary architecture aims to integrate the home perfectly into its natural surroundings to protect the surroundings from disturbance, as well as to turn them into one of the architectural elements that give the home its special character.

    It also allows builders to build homes that exceed current environmental standards.

  • Nature-friendly designs
  • Contemporary architecture creates designs that are nature-friendly. Contemporary designs use large glass walls that allow boundaries between indoors and outdoors to blur, while overhanging roofs push the architecture into the outdoor realm.

    Contemporary homes are often designed with landscaping already in mind. By considering decks and balconies from the get-go, contemporary homes further emphasize the enjoyment of stunning natural surroundings.

Some Examples of Contemporary Architecture

Below are some examples of contemporary architecture based on the functions they are designed to serve.

Museums

  • The Quadracci Pavilion of the Milwaukee Art Museum in Milwaukee, Wisconsin by Santiago Calatrava (2001)
  • Meadows Museum in Dallas, Texas, USA by HBRA architects (2001)
  • Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, Texas by Tadao Ando (2002)
  • Imperial War Museum North in Manchester, England by Daniel Libeskind (2002)

Concert halls

  • Auditorio de Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain by Santiago Calatrava (2003)
  • Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles by Frank Gehry (2003)
  • Interior of the Walt Disney Concert Hallwith organ facade designed by Frank Gehry (2003)
  • Copenhagen Opera House in Copenhagen, Denmark by Henning Larsen (2005)

Skyscrapers

  • 30 St Mary Axe (or "The Gherkin") in London, by Norman Foster (2004)
  • The Turning Torsobuilding in Malmö, Sweden by Santiago Calatrava (2005)
  • Eureka Tower in Melbourne, Australia by Fender Katsalidis Architects (2006)
  • Hearst Towerin New York City by Norman Foster (2006)

Residential buildings

  • Celebration, Florida, USA, by Cooper Robertson (2000)
  • Gasometer, Vienna, by Coop Himmelb(l)au(2001)
  • Accordia, Cambridge, England - Alison Brooks (2003 - 2011)
  • Blue Condominiumtower in New York City by Bernard Tschumi (2007)

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