Contemporary Architecture IN THE 21st Century

Contemporary architecture is set in the designs created towards the late part of the 20th Century and the tweaking made since the new millennium. It tries to distinguish itself from conventional architecture through new architectural ideas and simplicity of design…

WORDS: RINKU B

AS the name suggests, contemporary architecture refers to the architecture of today, the 21st Century. There is no single style that best describes this style which is a mix of postmodernism and high-tech to highly conceptual and expressive styles, resembling a giant sculpture on an enormous scale. A key differentiator of contemporary architecture is the use of modern methods of construction, tools and

software resulting in simplicity of forms. Also since modern architecture reflects the needs of the people in the current society and environmental setting, it is mainly minimalistic including elements of visual weightlessness, clean geometric lines and lack of ornamentation making it functional, flexible and flowing.

MAJOR CHARACTERISTICS:

Form – One important characteristic to look out for is to see that the dominant line in this kind of architecture is the straight line. Contemporary architecture tends to distance itself from this habit by opting more often for curved lines, instead.

Windows – Larger and more plentiful windows are also a characteristic of contemporary architecture.

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Those who watched the 2008 Olympic Games will no doubt remember the Beijing National Stadium, nicknamed the Bird’s Nest, which incorporates both straight and curved lines. An achievement of the Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron.

One of the most recent distinguishing features of contemporary building design is the use of repurposed materials, design elements that reduce energy use and waste, and sourcing from local businesses to reduce energy consumption during the building’s construction.

Multiple openings and their uncommon positioning, panoramic windows, window walls, and skylights have all entered the playing field. One of the consequences of this kind of fenestration, beyond creating spectacular views, is that it makes full use of the sunlight: first of all as natural lighting, and secondly, to take advantage of passive solar heating.

Composition of Volumes – The use of curved lines also makes it possible to create spaces that are not simply cubes, as is the case with straight lines. So, in contemporary architecture, one sees building with rounded shapes. Like rounded shapes do, this composition also allows for the creation of interior living spaces with unusual layouts.

KEY ELEMENTS OF CONTEMPORARY ARCHITECTURE:
Natural, sustainable components. Contemporary architects recognize the human need for contact with nature, right down to what our homes are made of. Hence the popularity of bamboo floors, granite countertops and even “living” roofs made of green plants

The Sydney Opera House, whose form is reminiscent of a ship’s sails or a collection of giant stacked seashells. Although it was inaugurated in 1973, this structure remains a reference point of contemporary architecture. It is the work of the Danish architect Jorn Utzon, now deceased.

Recycled and nontoxic materials. Countertops, roofing and flooring made of composite materials are hot, as are lowemission paints and carpeting

Natural light. Today’s houses often feature ample skylights and large windows to let the sun shine in

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