Styles of architecture has been evolving through varied period of time. From the pre-historic era to date, the styles revolved around the usability and functionality of spaces. Also, it changed as per the needs of people and the economics allowed in certain locations. Styles of architecture can be separated into many categories depending on the time period. In the historic era, with almost no technology, the buildings reflected minimal and simple language along with one hero material. As humans learned ways to adapt using other materials, buildings began to take different shapes and definitions.
Architects incorporated thoughtful mathematics to create precise structures during the time of the pyramids. Similarly, styles of architecture expressed grandeur and glamour in the past which later on turned into simpler, compact designs. The following twenty-five are the most emblematic styles of architecture that made a mark historically and still inspires architects.
Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument located in Wiltshire, England, consisting of a ring of standing stones. The stones are arranged in a circular pattern, with some of the stones weighing up to 25 tons. People say that the monument was built between 3000 BC and 2000 BC, although the exact purpose of the structure remains a mystery.
Stonehenge is considered one of the most significant prehistoric sites in the world and has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The style of architecture of Stonehenge is notable for its use of large, precisely cut stones that were transported from quarries miles away. And, the monument’s construction is a testament to the ingenuity and technical expertise of the people who built it, and it continues to inspire wonder and fascination among visitors and researchers today.
Egyptian architecture refers to the style of buildings, structures, and monuments constructed in ancient Egypt between 3100 BCE and 30 BCE. It is one of the most recognizable and influential architectural styles in history, characterized by grandiose structures, precise geometrical shapes, and elaborate decorations. Egyptian architects were known for their innovative engineering techniques, such as the use of ramps to move heavy stones, and the creation of massive pyramids, temples, and obelisks.
They also developed a distinctive system of decoration, which included hieroglyphics, intricate carvings, and colorful paintings depicting gods, pharaohs, and daily life. Some of the most famous examples of Egyptian architecture include the Great Sphinx, the Great Pyramid of Giza, and the Temple of Karnak. Today, Egyptian architecture continues to inspire modern designers and architects around the world, reflecting the enduring influence of this ancient civilization.
3. Indian Temple
Historical Indian architecture encompasses a wide range of styles and techniques used in the construction of buildings, temples, and monuments across the Indian subcontinent. It spans a period of more than 3,000 years, beginning with the Indus Valley Civilization and continuing through the Maurya, Gupta, and Mughal empires, among others.
Indian architecture is known for its intricate carvings, vibrant colors, and elaborate use of decoration, as well as its innovative use of materials such as marble, sandstone, and wood. Some of the most famous examples of Indian architecture include the Taj Mahal, the Khajuraho Temples, and the Ellora Caves. Indian architecture is also notable for its blend of religious and secular influences, with many structures serving both practical and spiritual purposes.
Classical architecture is a style that originated in ancient Greece and Rome and has been influential throughout the Western world for thousands of years. In addition, the style characterizes its use of symmetry, proportion, and order, and is known for its clean, simple lines and minimal ornamentation. Interestingly, classical architecture is based on a system of mathematical ratios and proportions, which create a sense of harmony and balance in the design. The style typically features columns, pediments, and other decorative elements that emphasize the building’s structural features.
Neoclassical architecture style is a revival of classical style that emerged in the mid-18th century in Europe and America. It was a reaction against the ornate and extravagant style of Baroque and Rococo architecture that had dominated the previous centuries. Also, Neoclassical architects drew inspiration from the forms and motifs of ancient Greek and Roman architecture, such as columns, pediments, and domes, but adapted them to contemporary building practices and materials.
Byzantine architecture refers to the style of architecture developed in the Byzantine Empire, which spanned from the 4th to the 15th century CE. It was heavily influenced by earlier Greek and Roman architectural traditions, as well as by the Christian religion, which played a significant role in the development of Byzantine culture. Byzantine architecture style characterizes by its use of large domes, intricate mosaics, and elaborate decorations, as well as its emphasis on the use of light and space.
Islamic architecture refers to the style of buildings and structures built by Muslim societies, which emerged in the 7th century CE with the birth of Islam. The style is characterized by its use of intricate geometric patterns, decorative calligraphy, and the integration of art and architecture. Also, it reflects the cultural and historical influences of the regions in which it was created, including North Africa, the Middle East, Spain, India, and Central Asia.
One of the most notable features of Islamic architecture is the use of the arch, dome, and vault, which allowed architects to create large, open spaces with minimal materials. Also, Islamic buildings often feature ornate façades, courtyards, and gardens, designed to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Mosques, in particular, are central to this style and built as large, symmetrical structures with domes, minarets, and intricate tile work.
Roman architecture is a style of architecture that emerged in ancient Rome around 509 BCE and continued to develop over the next several centuries. It is known for its monumental public works, including triumphal arches, aqueducts, and amphitheaters, as well as for its innovative use of concrete and brick construction techniques. Roman architecture is characterized by its use of columns, arches, and vaults, which allowed for the construction of large, open spaces and gave buildings a sense of grandeur and majesty.
Baroque architecture is a style of architecture that emerged in Europe in the 17th century. The main characteristics It is its ornate decorations, dramatic forms, and grandeur. Baroque architecture was intended to inspire awe and admiration and often features large, imposing facades, soaring domes, and grand staircases. Also, for its use of elaborate decorations, such as intricate carvings, detailed frescoes, and colorful marble.
Rococo architecture emerged in France in the early 18th century and continued throughout Europe until the mid-18th century. Known for its decorative, playful, and ornate features, Rococo architecture style influenced a wider audience at the time. And it was a reaction against the heavier, more formal Baroque style that preceded it.
11. Art Nouveau
Art Nouveau is an international style of architecture and decorative arts that emerged in the late 19th century and was popular until the outbreak of World War I. It is known for its ornate and organic forms, often inspired by natural shapes and curving lines.
Art Nouveau is an international architecture style from the 19th century. The style is majorly led by Antonio Gaudi and his love for fluidity in the designs. Gaudi began the style and created numerous buildings across Spain. His contribution to the country attracts tourists from all around the world to date.
The style explores curves and completely omits the use of straight lines. Also, Gaudi open-heartedly explored stained glass and mosaics in an elaborate way.
The Gothic style of architecture took place in the medieval period varying from 12th to 16th century. Gothic architecture is also known for its emphasis on light, with large windows and stained glass to create a sense of luminosity and transcendence. Consequently, the style was closely tied to the Christian religion, and many Gothic buildings were designed to express the power and majesty of God.
Renaissance architecture is a revival style of the Roman and Gothic combined. As the name depicts, the style majorly seems to explore roman columns, combined with gothic detailing. Also, they are known for its harmonious proportions, symmetrical facades, and use of classical elements such as columns, pediments, and domes. They often feature ornate details, such as frescoes and sculptures, which were used to express the wealth and power of the patrons who commissioned them.
14. Art Deco
Art Deco is probably the most stylist and beautiful architectural styles that incorporates strong geometric elements. The style showcases sleek geometrical shapes along with certain thoughtful offsets in the structure. Also, it emphasizes on decorative features and details all around the buildings and interiors as well. As above image, The Radiator Tower in NYC showcases brilliant Art Deco design, especially through its black and gold façade.
15. Greek Revival
As the name depicts, the Greek revival style comes from Greek Temple architecture. Where, the style explores Greek architecture elements in a more contemporary way. Most of the buildings reflected long evenly-spaced columns along with long glass windows. Also, they showcase geometric landscape style and low-pitched gable roofs.
Expressionism is all about exploring the unique ideas architects have. The style seems to be more of expressing designers’ feeling behind the concepts. Expressionist buildings often feature unusual shapes, distorted forms, and unconventional materials, and were designed to evoke strong emotions and convey a sense of drama.
17. Bauhaus architecture
Bauhaus was a school of design founded in Germany in 1919 by architect Walter Gropius, and its architectural style is characterized by a functional, minimalistic approach that emphasized form and materials over ornamentation. The Bauhaus style emerged as a reaction to the excesses of the Art Nouveau movement, which emphasized decorative flourishes and elaborate designs.
Bauhaus architecture is known for its clean lines, geometric forms, and use of industrial materials such as concrete, steel, and glass. Buildings designed in the Bauhaus style often feature flat roofs, white facades, and large windows, and were designed to be efficient, practical, and affordable. The style was influential in the development of modernist architecture and had a major impact on the design of buildings, furniture, and household objects.
Some of the most famous examples of Bauhaus architecture include the Bauhaus school building in Dessau, Germany, designed by Walter Gropius, and the Fagus Factory in Alfeld, Germany, designed by Gropius and Adolf Meyer. The style also had a significant impact on the development of the International Style of Architecture, which emphasized simplicity, functionality, and industrial materials in design.
18. De Stijl architecture
De Stijl architecture style, also known as Neoplasticism, was a Dutch artistic movement that emerged in the early 20th century, with a focus on abstraction, simplicity, and geometric forms. The movement was founded by a group of artists and designers, including Piet Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg, who sought to create a new visual language that was free from the excesses of traditional art and design.
De Stijl architectural style emphasized the use of primary colors, black, white, and gray, and the use of horizontal and vertical lines to create a sense of harmony and balance. Buildings designed in the De Stijl style often featured simple, cubic forms, and were designed to be functional, with a focus on the use of industrial materials such as steel and concrete.
The De Stijl style had a significant impact on the development of modernist architecture, and its influence can be seen in the work of architects such as Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe. Some of the most famous examples of De Stijl architecture include the Schroeder House in Utrecht, designed by Gerrit Rietveld, and the Cafe De Unie in Rotterdam, designed by J.J.P. Oud.
19. Modern architecture
Modern architecture is a style that emerged in the early 20th century as a reaction to the traditional styles that dominated architecture at the time. The modern style emphasized the use of new materials and technologies and a rejection of historical forms and ornamentation in favor of simplicity and functionality.
Modern architecture is characterized by a focus on clean lines, geometric forms, and the use of industrial materials such as steel, concrete, and glass. Buildings designed in the modern style often feature large windows, open floor plans, and an emphasis on natural light and space.
20. Brutalism architecture
Brutalism is an architectural style that emerged in the mid-20th century, particularly in the 1950s and 60s. It is characterized by a raw, unpolished aesthetic that emphasizes the use of concrete and other industrial materials.
The term “brutalism” derives from the French word “brut,” meaning “raw,” and it was coined to describe the rough, unfinished appearance of many buildings designed in this style. Brutalist architecture is known for its blocky, angular shapes, and the use of exposed concrete surfaces that are often left unadorned.
Brutalist buildings are designed to be functional, with a focus on creating large, open spaces for public use. Many Brutalist buildings were constructed during a period of post-war reconstruction and social change, and they were often designed for public institutions such as universities, libraries, and government buildings.
Contemporary architecture is a broad term that encompasses a wide range of architectural styles and movements that have emerged in recent decades. Unlike traditional architecture styles, contemporary architecture does not have a strict set of rules or guidelines and is often characterized by experimentation, innovation, and a willingness to push boundaries.
Contemporary architecture is marked by a focus on sustainability, using eco-friendly materials, and incorporating energy-efficient features. It is also known for its use of new technologies, such as 3D printing and digital modeling, to create unique and innovative designs.
Contemporary architecture often emphasizes functionality and minimalism, with clean lines and simple forms prioritizing function over ornamentation. However, it can also incorporate elements of other architectural styles, such as traditional or modern, to create a unique and eclectic design.
22. Post-modernist architecture
Unlike modernism, which emphasized functionality and simplicity, postmodern architecture is characterized by its eclectic and playful approach to design, often incorporating historical references and elements of popular culture.
Postmodern buildings often feature exaggerated forms, bold colors, and decorative details, with an emphasis on whimsy and individual expression. This style is known for its rejection of the “less is more” philosophy of modernism, and its embrace of ornamentation, symbolism, and contextualism.
Deconstructivism is a postmodern architectural style that emerged in the 1980s as a response to the perceived limitations of modern architecture. The style is characterized by its emphasis on fragmentation, chaos, and unpredictability, often featuring distorted forms, irregular angles, and overlapping planes that create a sense of disorientation and dislocation.
Deconstructivist buildings are typically designed to challenge traditional notions of stability, balance, and symmetry, often featuring unusual and unexpected forms that appear to be in a state of flux or transition. The style is known for its use of non-linear geometries, such as warped surfaces and skewed angles, and for its rejection of the strict formalism and functionality of modernism.
Some of the most famous examples of deconstructivist architecture include the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, designed by Frank Gehry, and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, designed by Frank Gehry as well. While deconstructivism is a relatively niche architectural style, it has had a significant influence on contemporary design, particularly in the realm of computer-generated and parametric design.
Fluid architecture is a design approach that takes inspiration from natural systems and processes in order to create buildings and structures that are more sustainable, efficient, and in harmony with their surroundings.
The architecture seeks to emulate the efficiency, resilience, and elegance of natural systems by studying and replicating the ways in which plants, animals, and ecosystems operate. This can include strategies for energy and water efficiency, passive cooling and heating, structural stability, and material efficiency.
For example, fluid architecture might involve designing a building that uses natural ventilation systems to regulate temperature and humidity or incorporating materials and construction techniques that mimic the strength and flexibility of natural materials like wood or bone.
25. Minimalistic architecture
Minimalist architecture is a style of design that prioritizes simplicity, clarity, and minimal ornamentation. It emerged in the 20th century as a reaction against the ornate, decorative styles that had dominated architecture in previous eras.
Minimalist architecture is characterized by a focus on the essential elements of form, space, and light. Buildings and structures designed in this style often feature clean, geometric lines, a limited color palette, and an emphasis on open, uncluttered spaces. Materials are often chosen for their natural textures and tones and are used in a way that highlights their inherent qualities.
Minimalist architecture is often associated with modernism and has been influential in a wide range of design fields, from residential architecture to furniture design and interior design. It is often used in commercial and institutional buildings, as well as in private homes and residences.
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