Architecture And Design In The 21st Century

By Ana Aguilera

“Every new situation calls for a new architecture” Jean Nouvel

One of the main factors that influenced the modification of architectural models was the Industrial Revolution. These changes helped to solve the housing problems that existed globally, specifically in the flourishing serial production of the different economic sectors of 18th century Europe. In the same way, the 19th century marked another turning point in engineering and architectural design thanks to the production of laminated steel beams that made it possible to solve roofs of greater lengths; however, these advances became more relevant with the arrival of reinforced concrete at the beginning of the 20th century. It was at this point in history that architecture, industrial design and engineering took on new hues and the term “international architecture” was coined. Let’s stop and ask ourselves the following question: in the 21st century, do the architectural proposals of 20th century providing solutions to today’s needs for habitability? Here you find 3 reasons to reflect about this topic.

1.Specific Need. The models of the twentieth century were designed to provide housing for the growing migration of population from rural areas to the cities. Although all the architects of this era developed brilliant architectural solutions and marked key theoretical principles to set a new era in architecture, engineering and design, it must also be recognized that the contemporary era demands new proposals and spatial solutions based on current lifestyles. Architectural design urgently needs to be more sensitive to the dissemination of standard measures that do not adjust to the anthropometric diversity of each problem posed… let’s remember that each need requires an individual study.

2.Minimal Spaces. In the last century, the primary focus of design was justified by covering the basic needs of habitability, that means that the synthesis of design was based on vertical growth, leaving as a secondary need the connection of man with the natural environment. This proposal made it possible to house many people in the “LeCorbuserian buildings” designed with free floor plans, minimum anthropometric measurements, and standardization of lifestyle; a proposal that undoubtedly revolutionized the legacy of the new era of architectural and urban design; but which may no longer be “convenient” for the man of the 21st century. Let us stop being guided by templates or operating schemes that cover minimal needs. “Architecture requires masterful solutions in minimal spaces, not minimal solutions in masterful spaces.” (Ana Aguilera, 2021)

3.Lack Of Identity. The “international architecture” showed us the use of glass, steel, concrete, as well as the design based on cubic volumes. With this proposal, the architectural solution was reduced to glazed volumes that “fit” in any context regardless of the cultural characteristics, lifestyle, history, or aesthetics with which the society for which it is designed feels identified. “There is no true architecture if it lacks sensitivity in the perception of the context it serves.” (Ana Aguilera, 2021)

It is time to vindicate the Architecture that creates living spaces of high sensory quality as opposed to the aesthetic solutions that reduce this art to a volume solved through geometric forms and strident overblown that subject the experience of the architectural object to a journey between monumental forms that disrupt the natural, social, and cultural environment. “The magnificence of the architectural solution is in the wise discourse that emanates from the geometric solution and the adequate aesthetic expression, not in the strident of its forms.” (Ana Aguilera, 2021)

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