Contemporary architecture is the architecture of the 21st century.
Contemporary architects create designs that embody all the differences in styles, making the buildings of modern times masterpieces. Cutting away from the Modern architectural designs of the late twentieth century, today’s architecture features eco-friendly whimsy and creativity.
Unlike modern architecture, which is defined as the building style during the early to mid-twentieth century, Contemporary architecture refers to present-day building style. Because today’s architecture styles are numerous, it is difficult to come up with a formal or precise definition of contemporary architecture. Contemporary architects take into account the stark, clean lines and utilitarianism of Modern architecture and seek to design more personal buildings. New architecture makes use of oversized windows to invite an abundance of natural light and large open spaces, providing a sense of airiness. The buildings’ frames veer from symmetry, often being given unique shapes. Contemporary architects focus on eco-friendly designs that are energy efficient and incorporate recycled materials. It is becoming common to see plants adorning the roofs of buildings for increased energy efficiency and improved outdoor air quality. Natural materials are being used inside today’s edifices, and blending buildings with the natural surroundings or repurposing existing buildings are also common themes. The use of concrete can no longer be classified as Brutalism. Architects have realized the value of reinforced concrete in Contemporary structural design. Concrete can be shaped in almost any way imaginable to make aesthetically pleasing buildings, and it’s economical. Once it’s reinforced with a material like steel, it can be erected in ways other building materials can’t. Concrete can be mixed with recycled materials, such as broken glass to give it texture and sparkle, and it can be pigmented for subtle or vibrant color. From bridges to skyscrapers, concrete is versatile enough for the job. Computer-aided design sets Contemporary styles of architecture apart from previous styles. It allows architects to test fantastical designs for stability, efficiency, and durability. Computer software was used to create the unusual curves and shapes of the Guggenheim Museum built in Bilbao, Spain, in 1997. The museum is the work of Contemporary architect Frank Gehry, who has also been commissioned to design and build the Guggenheim Museum in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. The exciting building in Bilbao brings together limestone, titanium, and glass to form a structure that almost seems to move. Gehry is using computer-aided design to bring his daring creation to life in Abu Dhabi. He believes the open tracks of landscape combining desert and ocean afford the opportunity to create a building that would not be possible in Europe or the United States, and computers are helping him bring his plans to fruition. Another fine example of today’s architecture is the new Musee du Quai Branly in Paris. Designed by architect Jean Nouvel, the museum rests beside the Eiffel Tower and features mismatched buildings and Asian, African, and Oceanic art. It’s a refreshing sight nestled in a beautiful exotic garden on the Seine River. A glass wall was erected to separate the garden from the traffic on the other side, and one building is wallpapered in plants. Nouvel’s masterpiece almost breaks Parisian rules but instead gets rid of the rules altogether, just as all Contemporary architecture seems to do.