What is Contemporary Architecture?

Contemporary Architecture

If you have paid attention to the world of architecture at all in the last decade or so, you have undoubtedly noticed some of the new trends in the field. Buildings are starting to look different than they used to–more sleek, geometric, and often with unusual shapes. This is what is known as contemporary architecture.

Contemporary Architecture Explained

The defining characteristic of contemporary architecture is the blending and sharing of features between modern styles. It is an eclectic mix of the latest trends in design, materials, and construction methods. This type of architecture can be seen all over the world, but some of the most famous examples are the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, the Hearst Tower in New York City, and The Shard in London. Each of these buildings is unique in its own way, but they all share some similar features that make them contemporary.

Features of Contemporary Architecture

While each building is unique, there are some features that are common to many contemporary structures. Here are just a few hallmarks of contemporary architecture:

Geometric shapes and clean lines

Contemporary architecture often features sleek, geometric shapes and clean lines. This gives buildings an air of modernity and helps them to stand out against traditional architecture. This form of art also takes advantage of curved lines and rounded spaces in order to create a more fluid and aesthetically pleasing appearance.


In order to create a modern look, contemporary architects often use minimalistic design principles. This means that they keep the number of features and decorations on a building to a minimum in order to focus attention on the lines and shapes of the structure.

Natural or LED lighting

Many contemporary buildings make use of natural or LED lighting to create an inviting and open atmosphere. This type of lighting is often used in conjunction with large windows and skylights to allow for plenty of sunlight inside.


Contemporary architecture is often designed with sustainability in mind. Many buildings are made from materials that can be recycled or reused, and they often feature energy-efficient designs that help to reduce the amount of pollution they produce.

Unique building and construction materials

Contemporary architects often make use of unique building and construction materials to create one-of-a-kind structures. Some common examples include metal, glass, wood, and concrete. Furthermore, since there have been so many advancements in reinforced concrete, architects now have more freedom than ever to experiment with new shapes and designs.

Nature-oriented designs

In previous decades, architects tended to separate buildings and nature. A perfect example of this is how windows used to be placed in the middle of rooms in order to create a view of the outside. Now, it is common for large windows to be placed throughout, letting in natural light and passive solar heating in addition to views of the surrounding environment. Additionally, contemporary architects often use nature-inspired designs in their buildings, such as using plants or water features. This is something that takes on many variations in the Pacific Northwest where the abundance of natural resources is appreciated.

So what is contemporary architecture? It can be best described as a mix of the latest movements in configuration, materials, and construction techniques. This type of architecture can be seen all over the world, but it is particularly well-suited to populous areas where land and resources are at a premium. As the world becomes increasingly urbanized, contemporary architecture will continue to play an important role in the design of our built environment.

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