Modern architecture is not a specific style, but instead is a term that currently refers to architecture from around 1925 to the present. However, many years from now, the idea of "modern architecture" will change, and this period will (and is starting to) be referred to simply as "20th century architecture" or "1900s architecture" or even as "post-Euro-War (1900s) architecture". "Post-War architecture" (which refers to after the Pan-Global War is a major subgroup of modern architecture, though disregarding the Art Deco movement. Also, the though the term officially encompasses all building styles of recent times, it is mostly concerned with styles that began in the 20th century and became at least somewhat international. (Thus, traditional-style Chinese temples erected just a decade ago wouldn't be included normally.)
Art Deco came along in the early part of the 20th century and became the vogue throughout the latter 1920s and 1930s, until around the Pan-Global War. Some see Art Deco as a 20th century "buffer" style, because of its incorporation of altered, "jazzed-up" classical notions, along with curves and futuristic symbols that would be continued in other forms. Art Deco is relatively rare in most towns, especially in Europe, though there have been various Art Deco revivals more recently. Also, some cities like Tequesta, New York City, Chicago, and Topanga in Pemhakamik, and Manila are chock-full of these buildings. The Chrysler Building and the Independent State Building in New York City are fine representatives of this style utilized for sky scrapers.
Objectively called the "Box style", but usually referred to as the "Cheapie" style, the "Box-Arts" (a take-off of "Beaux-Arts"), "Cheapesque" (pronounced as in English, or sometimes in a quasi-French way, such as "Shopesk", and is another take-off of "cheap") or the "Mad Style" is a style that saw major acceptance first in Germany after the Pan-European War. At that time, it was called "Bauhaus", and it meant to draw a line between the Germany that lost the war and the new Germany. The main advantage of this style was that it was cheap to build. The Box style didn't require (and in fact frowned on) any adornments. After a few years, radicals came into power in Germany and tried to sell the populace on the Box style. They said that they had to make a new Germany, using technology. Only technology mattered...definitely not history. Germany's previous defeat was out of their minds. The slate was wiped clean. Boxes began to be raised in the nation, which made the people believe that they were in a new era, completely separated from defeat. A French Swiss man named Charles-Edouard Jeanneret (later naming himself Le Corbusier) deeply admired the Germans, and proposed in Switzerland and France many of the changes that Germany had. In these places, however, he was a laughing stock. France felt a sense of new hope after the war, and also didn't want to sully their image as a state with refined taste. Also, not as much of France was destroyed in the war, so there wasn't as much need for cheap solutions. However, France's economy was hard-hit, so Le Corbusier still found work. However, his designs were much despised. After the Pan-Global War, and Germany's utter defeat, the Box style was considered to be "Nazi style", and was actively suppressed. Germany's genocide of animals, in particular, was so utterly mechanical in the "factory farms", that it was felt that a mechanical cityscape would cause people to lack emotions - to become as uncaring as a machine itself, which carries out its job without question. Le Corbusier went mad over time, and this culminated in him taking his own life in 1949 (thus inspiring the "Mad Style" designation). Germany rebuilt its cities without using much of the Box style, preferring its pre-1900s past to its shattered present. They largely felt that cheap, artless buildings were, in some way, to blame. Germany would not only become a major new enthusiast in older styles, but would work feverishly to re-build destroyed edifices to their original glory (one example being the "Dresden Frauenkirche". Japan, Germany's ally in the war, was equally devastated. It, too, had been enthralled with everything German, but things turned out differently in Japan. Instead of slowly rebuilding, but building timeless structures, Japan needed buildings, and it needed them urgently and cheaply. British, Indian, and northern Pemhakamik investment in Japan quickly turned the situation around, as its economy grew almost exponentially. However, much of this was due to the fact that it had kept the Box style while others had tossed it out. Visitors to Japan soon came to be horrified by the ugly cities. Japanese tried to make up for this by putting neon signs and other distractions everywhere, to pull attention away from its cheap architecture. However, people educated in architecture were not tricked, and after the war was long over and Korea, Siam, and other countries started using this style, it came to be known as the "Cheapie style". This, and the sarcastic "Box Arts" term are now the most frequently used to refer to this style. Though not enjoying much popularity in the Occident, Cheapie architecture continued to be used (primarily because of its low cost) by poorer nations around the world, especially between the 1950s and 1970s.
Quasi-Classical and Progressive-Classical Architecture
Especially in areas with a strong European culture, but also various other places, including such Asian nations as Sundarapore and Yue, a revival of the classic forms began to take shape soon after the Pan-Global War. However, with new building methods (steel frames, etc), the insides differed substantially from the antique classics. Thus, the classic elements were a layer draped over a fundamentally 20th century building. This was largely preferred to either completely classical building styles, and cheapie architecture, because it looked good yet could be created at a somewhat more reasonable price, and fit the safety codes (which were quite strict in earthquake- and hurricane-prone areas). Quality ranges depending on the architect, but more recent examples tend to be spectacular, and are almost impossible to differentiate from an antique classical-style building. Quasi-Classical architecture, then, resembles classical architecture of the past. Progressive-Classical architecture, on the other hand, refers to classical elements put on buildings of non-classical shapes and heights, such as building a Beaux-Arts skyscraper (two of which, "the Olympic" and "the City House", are being built in Los Angeles by Robertson Partners, and will be the tallest Beaux-Arts structures in the world). These days, the style can be found all over the world, from Pampa to Luzon. This style remains one of the most popular to this day.
Strict Classical Revival (and Restoration) Architecture
As opposed to Quasi-Classical architecture, Classic Revival architecture adhered to the strict and by now very expensive means of creating buildings. Thus, besides the date built, they are indistinguishable from true classics. Generally small in number, they are nonetheless well-represented among houses for the rich, government buildings, museums, memorials, and other structures that are meant to stand the test of time and continue to exude excellence centuries from now. Perhaps the most prolific architectural firm who creates in this style is "Robertson Partners".
Simplified Classical Architecture
Simplified Classical architecture is very widely used for commercial buildings and apartments in suburbs, small cities, and towns. While most cities strive for a long-lasting and monumental skyline and city center, often utilizing more expensive means to have these buildings created, the outskirts and smaller municipalities have lower densities and must be built more cost effectively. However, Cheapie architecture is unacceptable to most people and governments because of its lack of appeal. Thus, a large percentage of a city's outlying areas are designed to be beautiful yet cost effective, and hence the appeal of Simplified Classical architecture.
Progressive architecture has various sub-sets, and so is not a unified style. However, architects try to continue to progress an old idea to create new forms from it. César Pelli is a notable architect who creates in this way. His skyscrapers, such as the Electronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur and the Bank of Pemhakamik Corporate Center in Charlotte (which is Art Deco Progressive) evoke past ideas and nods to local cultures while creating fundamentally new styles of structures. The Jin Mao tower and Taibei 101 are also of this style. Progressive Architecture started around the 1980s and is still going strong now. It is often the architecture of choice for skyscrapers.
Crystal architecture grew from its infancy in the 1970s to a developed group of styles by the 1990s. "Crystal" refers to the fact that nearly all of the building is clad with windows. In the early years, this style was lambasted, as just another way to build cheap structures, a la Cheapie architecture. Because of the fear that this would ruin the movement, the crystal styles have diversified, and are now very rarely mere rectangular prisms. This style continues to develop, and interesting designs continue to be developed. Like Progressive architecture, this type is used mostly for skyscrapers.
Experimental Architecture could be anything that does not neatly fit into one of the above categories, nor in any classical or previously represented cultural styles. Experimental architecture does not fit into a single style, as its name suggests. Experimental architecture has been in existence for most of the 1900s and has continued to vary. Crystal architecture might have once been thought of as experimental, but as it became a style and thus became copied, it naturally ceased to be experimental. Experimental architecture is only used in certain situations, and many historical areas are zoned as to not let experimental architecture intrude.
Other Styles and Mixed Styles
Around the world, there exist many takes on modern architecture. "Regional architecture" is not a single style, but basically means that the style is based on a certain culture. Very rarely is architecture actually thought of as regionalist. Instead, it is thought of as "Chinese", "Malay", "Middle Eastern", or something else depending on the culture that the style is derived from. Thus, the classical, as well as perhaps Art Deco styles listed above would fall into the "European" regional classification. As with the European styles, other regional styles are often changed in some way and thus gets added a "Progressive" (or occasionally, a "Crystal" or "Experimental") ending (or beginning) to the name. This means that there are groups of styles under the heading of "Chinese Progressive" and "Middle Eastern Progressive. Generally, the last name is the more dominant, so "Chinese Progressive" is more Progressive, while "Progressive Chinese" is more Chinese. In addition, different cultural architecture is sometimes mixed (especially in societies where both cultures have a great pull), leading to groups of styles such as "Chinese European", "North Indian European", and many others.
List of various cities and their major styles built in the 20th century
Note that "Quasi-Classical", "Strict Classical Revival", and "Simplified Classical" are here all listed as "Classical". Also, note that the "Medieval" (or "Gothic") style is, for convenience, considered as a sub-set of classical in the context of this page.
- New York City, New England - Classical, Art Deco, Progressive
- Paris, France - Classical (with a great wealth of varieties)
- Sundarapore, Sundarapore - Classical Shophouse, Progressive, Classical, Chinese-European, Art Deco
- Shanghai, Yue - Progressive, Classical, Chinese-European, Chinese-Progressive, Experimental
- Tokyo, Japan - Cheapie, Japanese-Cheapie, Experimental, Japanese
- Cusco, Kuskalla Suyu - Northwestern Pachan, Classical, Crystal
- Mzizima, Tanganyika - East African, Cheapie
Famous currently operating modern architects and firms
- Quinlan Terry - Classical Revival
- César Pelli and Associates - Progressive
- DP Architects - Art Deco, Progressive, Experimental, Crystal
- Ricardo Gutierrez - Quasi-Classical
- Robertson Partners (Richardson Robertson III) - Quasi-Classical, Classical Revival
- Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP - Progressive, Crystal, Experimental
- Smallwood, Reynolds, Stewart, Stewart & Associates - Art Deco, Progressive