Across the world, architecture serves as an exemplar of culture and history of the place it existed in. Rightly or wrongly, former Soviet states are often remembered by architecture, and the expansive brown bricks of New York City are now highly sought after as memorials to the history of the city.
Today, apartment developments are springing up across the world, often under similar, but unique, designs, that hark back to older generations. From classic but futuristically designed apartments to low-cost prefabs, the designs and architectural philosophies that shape city environments last generations. Technology and taste is helping to shape new housing stock for the 21st century in a way that captures the creativity of days gone by.
Retrofitting technology into classic properties
Older architectural designs have long found longevity in new builds. Across the United Kingdom, houses continue to be built in the mock Tudor style, hailing the classic white washed wattle and daub designs of the 16th century. Technology is helping to expand the range of classic designs that can be utilized. The iconic Hoover building, London, has been revitalized with modern aircon technology to make it liveable, creating modern environs within the confines of a classic building. Examples of this can even be found in the US, where artistry focused apartment complexes have sprung up with the mission of encapsulating avant garde creativity alongside modern building materials and classic designs. Given the powerful culture of the United States’ 1960s-90s art explosion, creativity oriented housing is likely to remain popular.
Embracing small properties
Until the 19th century and the advent of greater personal wealth, the average person in the world did not have a lot of spare room in their home. Farmers and fishermen in Thailand resided in beautiful but simple bamboo riverhomes. Urban populations in America crammed into small spaces, only to expand when discovering ventilation and light became issues. With space at a premium in urban spaces across the globe, the principles of small homes are coming back in force, but with modern twists. Hong Kong recently debuted ‘tube homes’, creative and liveable homes set within concrete drainage tubes. Paired with America’s burgeoning tiny home movement, micro homes are beginning to become in vogue once again, as technology makes them liveable as opposed to a liability.
Turning industrial into irresistible
The conversion of factory premises has continued apace throughout the 21st century. Western countries tend to follow a pattern of industrialization with entrepreneurs moving to online startups and housing requirements swelling with increasing urbanization. Challenges are faced for the old, grand buildings where structural issues arise or planning permission can not be secured. Alternatively, the degraded state of the architecture makes it difficult to retrofit buildings into a liveable space. Architecture has again stepped in here. Using cheap but effective prefab technology, architects Simon Conder have converted an unlikely Victorian warehouse into a futuristic but well blended set of penthouses. Richmond, Virginia, has seen the blossoming of Church Hill Gables which appeals too to the anarchistic, art-loving nature of creatives.
Architecture is rooted in history, with the bricks and mortar of classic buildings forming the literal foundations of the world’s nations. Creativity, technology and good taste have combined to make sure that they’re held on to for years to come.