Why Does Architecture Change Over Time

Baroque Architecture

Baroque architecture is primarily based on the principles of symmetry, grandeur and theatricality, making it one of the most ornate and opulent styles of architecture ever developed. This style was popularized in the 17th and 18th centuries, particularly in the churches and grand buildings of Central and Southern Europe, such as the Palace of Versailles, the Louvre and the Hofburg Palace. It was characterized by richly decorated facades, impressive domes and portals, lavishly decorated interiors and expansive, symmetrically-arranged courtyards. According to experts, the Baroque period was one of the most important eras in architecture as it was marked by the emergence of monumental buildings that helped shape the development of cities and towns. These buildings incorporated new styles and techniques of design, such as trompe l’oeil and veduta, that were absent in the traditional style of the period.

Gothic Architecture

Gothic architecture, on the other hand, was developed in the Middle Ages, which is why it is also known as medieval or Gothic style. This style was characterized by structural improvements, such as pointed arches, flying buttresses, ribbed vaults and clustered columns, as well as by its ornate details. Although its main objective was to build larger and more awe-inspiring buildings than its predecessors, the Gothic style was heavily influenced by the ideals of Christianity, particularly by medieval theologians and their concept of Divine Proportion. In addition, its lavish designs, ornate arches and pointed steeples symbolized the aspirations of medieval people to reach the heavens. All of these elements combined to create a unique and powerful style of architecture.

Neo-Classical Architecture

Neo-Classical architecture is one of the most recent forms of architecture, having emerged in the late 18th century and early 19th century. This style was inspired by the classical buildings of Ancient Greece and Rome and was mainly used to build public and government buildings, such as museums and courthouses. Its ethos was to represent the ideals of the Enlightenment, particularly the idea of rationality and logic, through its symmetrical and balanced designs. This style incorporated elements of Classical architecture, such as columns, pediments, colonnades, and ornate details, which were arranged in a simple and proportionate manner. Further, the buildings constructed during this period were designed with harmony and unity in mind, which was an integral part of their design.

Variety of Styles

As evident from the above mentioned styles, architecture has changed significantly over time. This is due to the fact that different eras have different needs and desires, which beget different styles and designs. For instance, the Baroque period was all about extravagance and opulence and the Gothic period, on the other hand, was all about spirituality and symbolism. Similarly, the neo-classical period was all about rationality and logic. Thus, over time, as societies and cultures have evolved, their architectures have also evolved, giving rise to unique and distinct styles and structures that reflect the values and ideals of their respective societies.

Rise of Technology

Apart from historical, cultural and societal changes, technology has played a key role in shaping architecture over time. In the past, architects were limited in the scope of materials and designs available to them, which is why traditional and historic styles were employed widely. However, with the advent of technology, new materials such as steel, glass and concrete have been used to create modern and innovative designs that are significantly different from those of the past. In addition, advanced computing technology has allowed architects to create more detailed models, which has opened up a wealth of creative possibilities. Furthermore, Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology has enabled architects to digitally plan and simulate their designs, thereby allowing them to create even more intricate designs that are in-line with the latest trends.

Sustainable Design

In recent years, the focus of architecture has shifted towards sustainability. The rise in population and the increasing consumption of natural resources have led to a global effort to conserve the environment. As a result, architects have begun to focus on creating designs that conserve energy and materials, while also responding to the changing climate. This has led to the development of green building techniques such as passive house design, sustainable architecture, green roofs and smart homes. These techniques have encouraged the use of renewable resources and energy efficient buildings, thereby ensuring that architecture has a minimal impact on the environment.

Importance of Training

The role of training in architecture cannot be overlooked as it is essential for the proper designing, planning and execution of any building project. Over the years, the scope of architecture has increased significantly, thus necessitating more specialized skills. As such, training has become increasingly important in order to understand the latest building techniques and materials, as well as the latest regulations and standards. Moreover, with the use of BIM, it has become essential for architects to have knowledge of 3D modelling in order to understand the impact of the design on the natural environment and the energy efficiency of the building. Thus, having knowledge and expertise in the latest trends is essential for any architect.

Impact of Architecture on Society

It is important to understand that architecture does not only affect the physical structure of a building, but it also has a direct effect on the people who use it. Through its design, a building can influence the way people interact and move around, as well as the way they perceive the environment. Therefore, it is essential that architects understand not only the structural and technical aspects of architecture, but they should also bear in mind the impact of their designs on the people. Thus, it is important for architects to have a good understanding of psychology, sociology, anthropology and urban planning so that they can design buildings that are not only efficient and sustainable, but also comfortable and safe.

Future of Architecture

Although classic styles of architecture will never go out of fashion, there have been many technological and cultural advancements that have altered the way we design buildings. In particular, advancements in Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality have enabled architects to create virtual models that can be manipulated and tested with ease. Moreover, the focus on sustainability and energy efficiency has changed the way architects think about design, as the emphasis has shifted from aesthetics to function. Thus, it is expected that these new technologies, as well as the focus on sustainability, will continue to influence the way architecture evolves in the future.

Increasing Globalization

Globalization has also had an impact on architecture, as countries all around the world are becoming more interconnected, which has led to an amalgamation of different cultures and styles. This is especially evident in cities, where old and new, traditional and modern architecture can be seen side by side. This integration of different styles has led to the creation of some unique and innovative buildings. Moreover, with the rise of global travel, materials and techniques of design that were once used only in one region, have now been adopted in different parts of the world. Therefore, it is expected that global connectivity and exchange will continue to influence the evolution of architecture in the future.

Urban Planning

Urban planning is also a key factor when it comes to understanding the change in architecture over time. The way cities are designed and developed impact the way people live, as well as their perception of the environment. Therefore, it is essential for architects to bear in mind the effects their designs will have on the urban fabric and the environment in general. Thus, the focus has shifted from creating individual buildings, to creating cohesive and unified neighborhoods that respond to the needs and values of the local population. Furthermore, with the increasing demand for housing, it is expected that architects will be expected to develop innovative and sustainable methods of urban planning that can help address the growing need for housing in cities.


As evident from the above, architecture has changed significantly over time due to a variety of factors, such as the rise in technology, the shift in values and ideals, and the increasing demand for housing. Furthermore, architects have had to respond to these changes by introducing new materials, techniques and methods of design, as well as collaborating with other professionals such as urban planners to ensure that their designs are in line with the changing urban fabric. Therefore, it is expected that architecture will continue to evolve in the coming years and that it will remain responsive to the needs and values of people.

Anita Johnson is an award-winning author and editor with over 15 years of experience in the fields of architecture, design, and urbanism. She has contributed articles and reviews to a variety of print and online publications on topics related to culture, art, architecture, and design from the late 19th century to the present day. Johnson's deep interest in these topics has informed both her writing and curatorial practice as she seeks to connect readers to the built environment around them.

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