1. Design Styles - Introduction

Just like music, architecture has many different genres that vary amongst epoch, culture and place. In our analysis and study of many various styles we have tried to identify and classify the differences in genre over architectural history. 4 classifications stand out to us; period, restricted, progressive and fusion. As contemporary residential designers in Newcastle our specialty is in the progressive and we are proficient in the fusion category.


Period styles have a definable moment in history when they were the popular architecture of the time. Before the modernist movement at the turn of the last century, the revival period meant that architects would rarely create anything new. Instead they would reproduce and replicate the architecture of the great past civilisations. Examples are but not limited to; Victorian, neoclassicism, French-provincial and gothic-revival. The Rubix Collective believes that period styles should never be recreated. Whist they have great merit and value they have their place in history. Any reproduction will lack authenticity which borders on disrespect to the original. Therefore, TRC do not do new classical architecture. However, if your project is an addition or alteration to a period home; see fusion style below.


Restricted styles are styles with a very closed set of rules to achieve a very predictable outcome. They become present after the revival-period at the start of last century but are predominately in the post-war era. There are very clear boundaries as to what the style should and should not be. Examples are, but not limited to; coastal, Hamptons, rustic, Industrial, country, glam and Queenslanders. Because of the clear parameters of the style and a generally narrow scope there is not often anything significantly unique between houses of the same style.

Restricted styles will be more vulnerable to becoming dated. This is because the rules that govern the style prohibit the pushing of boundaries and breaking of the rules. Therefore, the look is never significantly developed further and the style becomes a snapshot of a moment in history. The Rubix Collective's desire to contribute to the evolution of design, society and humanity is the reason why we do not work on restricted styles. As a practice we would prefer not to bring something into existence that we are confident will date. If you do like a restricted style, we hope our scope of work has already been explained to you before now, but if not, we are happy to recommend others that specialise in this type of architecture. However, if you do like a restricted style and are open to breaking some rules, we are very proficient with fusion styles.  (See below)


As mordern residential designers in Newcastle we recognise some modernist styles (International Style & Mid-Century Modern) and the contemporary as falling into a progressive category. Despite Modern and Contemporary being synonyms of each other, when described in the design vernacular they have distinct differences as you will read in the coming paragraphs.

Although over 100 years old, the dominant feature of progressive styles is a personality inspired by the future. It rejects the easy and unfulfilling route of imitation and relies on creativity and problem-solving to create the new and unique. Because of its resistance to rules, progressive styles are extremely open, having minimal limitations as the restricted styles do. Boundaries can be pushed easier and more creatively in this realm. We do not intend to conjure up images of spaceships and George Jetson, (although this would certainly fall into the contemporary category) but the open-nature may allow more subtle freedoms such as an unconventional use of material or a design better suited to climate change, your thermal comfort and even your brief.


Whilst designs in the progressive styles are our speciality, we will not disqualify projects that have the potential to be a successful fusion. A fusion style is a hybrid of two different styles, e.g coastal/contemporary. There are a few laws that govern a successful fusion:

LAW 1: A fusion between restricted and progressive genres will always be complimented and never contrasted.

The elements must blend well and feature as an integrated design. This is because the two styles are not different enough to contrast well. If each style is estranged the house will feel segmented and unplanned.

LAW 2: The period portion of the project must be original.

Therefore period/progressive fusions must always be alterations or additions and never a new home (otherwise unauthentic reproduction of period work occurs)

LAW 3: A successful fusion between period and progressive will always be contrasted and never complimented.

As per Law 2 the period portion will be existing. Anything new that attempts to compliment will be too close to imitation. Therefore, the addition must contrast to highlight the opposite and equal beauty in both parts. E.g. Contemporary Victorian Terrace Conversions or the Louvre palace & pyramid.

Back to Resources