5. Design Styles - Contemporary

Contemporary architecture is a broad term that covers many vastly differing styles. They are categorised as such despite their dfifferences because they all share the principles and aims of being architecturally innovative, statement-making and emotion-stirring. It is the contemporary architect’s goal to leave a legacy with their work.

Sub-categories of contemporary styles exist as shown adjacent, but these are more to rationalise and classify, or, occasionally have been borne out of an architect’s hypothesis and associated works. The contemporary category is by no means limited to the sub-categories already theorised. Provided a work of architecture satisfies the contemporary principles as described in the first paragraph, there would be no cause to prevent a new subcategory being born.

The unrestricted and maverick nature of the contemporary results in a broader spectrum of design quality than other styles that conform to more rules.

Lower end of the contemporary spectrum –

On the lower end of the contemporary spectrum are the design and construct project homes or designs in that vein. It could be argued that these homes are not contemporary at all because they do not share the principles of contemporary architecture. Being mass-produced they are not avantgarde or innovative. They do not make a statement or new contribution beyond the first iteration if at all, and being designed to accommodate as broad an audience as possible they do not hold a personal narrative or unique soul that can stir emotion within us. However the majority of people? Recognise these dwellings as being of the contemporary style since they are contemporary in the meaning of the world, i.e. “of today”.

Higher End of the contemporary spectrum –

On the other end of the spectrum is the truly avant-garde. This is typically seen in the commercial and multi-residential projects such as skyscrapers, concert halls, museums and other buildings as part of the public space. In this circumstance the architecture contributes in the same way a sculpture does (e.g. The Walt Disney Concert Hall by Frank Gehry).

Often the ends of the spectrum offend the general public into a distaste for the contemporary. The lower end is poorly done and commonplace and the higher end is polarising and even when perceived positively is hard to visualise as applicable to a smaller residential context.

There is however much space to work in between these two ends. It is here that as new home designers in Newcastle The Rubix Collective designs innovative and exceptional homes for our clients in a way that enhances their briefs. Not every client wants to live in an award winning house, but we find clients are extremely happy with a house perfect in detailing, planning and aesthetic which happens to also win awards...

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