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  • Writer's pictureJohn Michael Jalandra

BESPOKE TALK Series: A Look into the Evolution of Architectural Styles

Updated: Apr 7

Throughout history, architects have been influenced by a variety of sources, resulting in a diverse spectrum of architectural styles. We will look at how these styles have changed over time, from ancient times to the present.

As we explore into architectural history, we will find the numerous styles that arose from various sources. Architecture has been used by several civilizations and groups to represent their values and beliefs. For example, the Greeks and Romans preferred simple and appealing forms, but the Baroque Age adored ornate and majestic shapes. We will also witness how technology breakthroughs and new materials have affected architectural design, as architects continue to push the frontiers of what is possible.

So, join me on a tour through the evolution of architectural styles. We will look at the historical background and distinguishing elements of many architectural styles. By doing so, we will obtain a greater knowledge of how different styles have affected society and the subject of architecture. From ancient Egyptian stone buildings to current skyscrapers, we will look at the various architectural styles that have had an effect on the built world.

1. Ancient Egyptian

Ancient Egyptian architecture is renowned for its grandeur, precision, and lasting influence on architectural styles throughout history. Spanning several millennia, from around 3100 BCE to 30 BCE, the architecture of ancient Egypt showcased the mastery of engineering, design, and symbolism.

The use of massive stone blocks, such as limestone and granite, was characteristic of ancient Egyptian architecture. They utilized advanced techniques in quarrying, transportation, and precision cutting to create monumental structures. The longevity of these buildings, despite centuries of exposure to the elements, speaks to the Egyptians' exceptional craftsmanship and construction methods.

2. Greek

Ancient Greek architecture is renowned for its enduring influence and timeless beauty. Greek architecture reflects the ideals of harmony, balance, and mathematical precision.

One of the most recognizable features of Greek architecture is the use of columns. Three types of columns dominate Greek architecture: Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian. The Doric order is the simplest, characterized by sturdy, fluted columns topped with a plain capital. The Ionic order is more ornate, featuring slender, scroll-like capitals. The Corinthian order is the most elaborate, with capitals adorned with intricate acanthus leaves.

3. Roman

Roman architecture were heavily influenced by Greek architecture and adopted many of its features. They embraced the use of columns, including the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian orders, which were prevalent in Greek architecture. These columns served as essential structural and decorative elements in Roman buildings, lending a sense of grandeur and classical elegance to their designs.

However, the Romans also introduced their own architectural innovations, notably the arch and the dome. The arch, which had been employed by the Greeks to a limited extent, was revolutionized by the Romans. They harnessed its structural capabilities to create vaulted spaces, allowing for larger and more open interior areas. The arch became a fundamental element in Roman architecture, enabling the construction of grand structures with impressive spans and heights.

The mastery of the arch led to another distinctive Roman architectural feature—the dome. The Romans understood that by rotating an arch on its axis, they could create a circular or hemispherical form. This realization led to the development of magnificent domed structures, such as the Pantheon, which stands as a remarkable testament to Roman engineering and design. The dome became a defining architectural element, symbolizing the grandeur and sophistication of Roman construction.

4. Gothic

Gothic architecture one of the distinguishing characteristics this architecture is the pointed arch, which took the place of the rounded arches utilized in older Romanesque structures. The constructions may be taller and more expansive thanks to this breakthrough in architecture. Additionally, ribbed vaults, flying buttresses, and enormous stained glass windows are often seen in Gothic structures.

One element that sets Gothic architecture apart is its verticality. Gothic cathedrals and churches were aspirational, with their pointed arches and tall, narrow windows. Flying buttresses, ribbed vaults, and pointed arches were all used in the construction, which gave the structure its amazing verticality. The structural tension was sufficiently divided and relocated outside the walls, allowing the architects to increase the height of the structure without giving it an overly heavy appearance.

5. Renaissance

The resurrection of classical elements from ancient Greece and Rome is one of the distinguishing hallmarks of Renaissance architecture. Architects were inspired by the works of Vitruvius, a Roman architect whose teachings on building and proportion were rediscovered during this time period.

The use of symmetry and mathematical proportion was prevalent in Renaissance architecture. Buildings were often created with a central axis and balanced proportions, reflecting the classical ideals of beauty and harmony. This may be observed in palaces like as the Palazzo Pitti in Florence or the Palazzo Farnese in Rome, where the façades are structured around a central axis and convey a feeling of order and balance.

6. Baroque

Baroque architecture is characterized by grandeur, opulence, and an emphasis on dramatic effects. This architectural style is known for its elaborate ornamentation, dynamic shapes, and intricate detailing.

Baroque architects employed a range of methods to achieve their desired effects. They utilized curved lines, domes, and elaborate decorative elements to create a sense of movement and drama. The use of light was also important, with architects incorporating large windows and ornate fixtures to enhance the interplay of light and shadow within their designs.

7. Beaux-Arts

The Beaux-Arts architectural style is distinguished by strict methodology of design that placed great emphasis on meticulous planning and precision in execution. With its lavish and magnificent appearance, which blends classical features with a contemporary sensibility. The objective of this approach was to generate compositions that are harmonious and balanced, thereby ensuring the seamless integration of the architecture with its environment.

The facades of Beaux-Arts structures are often symmetrical and feature a grand, centered entryway ornamented with columns or a portico. Sculptural features, reliefs, and ornamental motifs were used to increase the building's aesthetic value and communicate its intended use. There was often a significant separation between public and private parts in Beaux-Arts architecture.

8. Art Deco

Art Deco architecture is a distinctive design style that emerged in the early 20th century. It is characterized by its bold geometric forms, symmetrical compositions, and luxurious materials. The movement drew inspiration from various sources, including ancient civilizations, such as Egypt and Mayan, as well as modern technological advancements.

Art Deco architects employed innovative construction methods and materials to create visually striking buildings. They embraced industrial materials like concrete, steel, and glass, allowing for the creation of large, soaring structures. The architecture often featured smooth, sleek surfaces, with decorative elements like geometric patterns, sunbursts, and stylized motifs.

9. Modern

The modern style of architecture is distinguished by its prioritization of practicality, minimalism, and originality in design. The creation of structures that embody the current fashion is achieved through the utilization of diverse techniques and the incorporation of inspiration from multiple sources.

A prominent characteristic of contemporary architecture is its emphasis on precise and plain contours and shapes. Architects seek to attain simplicity and minimalism in their designs, frequently utilizing materials such as glass, steel, and concrete to achieve streamlined and uncluttered aesthetics. Open-concept layouts and expansive windows are prevalent, facilitating ample natural illumination and a smooth amalgamation of interior and exterior areas.

10. International Style

The International Style of architecture surfaced during the initial years of the 1900s, with a focus on prioritizing functionality, simplicity, and the utilization of contemporary materials and construction methodologies. The International Style movement promoted the notion of creating structures that were tailored to their intended function and the requirements of their occupants, with regard to technique.

The main objective was to design spaces that are both versatile and optimized for multiple uses. The utilization of new materials such as steel, concrete, and glass facilitated the creation of large, unobstructed indoor spaces with reduced structural components.

A prominent characteristic of the International Style is its prioritization of unadorned surfaces, geometric forms, and minimalistic design. Architectural structures fashioned in this manner frequently exhibit levelled rooftops, sleek exteriors, and a general impression of simplicity. Open floor plans and expansive windows were prevalent, facilitating a bright and spacious indoor atmosphere.

11. Postmodern

Postmodernism first appeared in architecture in the late 20th century, it places a strong emphasis on diversity, uniqueness, and a whimsical approach to architectural forms.

The rejection of the homogeneity and simplicity of modernism is one of the distinguishing characteristics of postmodern architecture. Instead, strong and eclectic aspects like ornamental embellishments, vivid colors, and a variety of materials are often used in postmodern architecture. These components are put together in novel and unusual ways to produce aesthetically stunning and often comical constructions.

Contextualism is a technique used by postmodern architects as well, and it entails taking the surrounding environment into account and including architectural aspects that react to it. This strategy seeks to produce structures that are both distinctive and in tune with their environment.

12. Brutalism

Brutalism is an architectural style that is characterized by its raw, utilitarian aesthetic and the prominent use of exposed concrete. The name "Brutalism" is derived from the French word "béton brut," which means "raw concrete."

Brutalist architecture uses the method of extensive use of concrete as both a structural material and a visible finish. The buildings often showcase a sense of solidity and heaviness with bold, angular forms and rough textures. The design approach emphasizes functionality and honesty, prioritizing the expression of the building's purpose and structure.

Brutalist architecture features distinct characteristics, such as massive, monolithic forms, repetitive geometries, and a lack of decorative elements. The use of exposed concrete reveals the construction process, giving the buildings an honest and straightforward appearance. These structures often exhibit a sense of monumentality with their strong presence and scale.

13. High-Tech

High-tech architecture, which is also referred to as Structural Expressionism, is an architectural style that is distinguished by its inventive utilization of technology, incorporation of industrial materials, and prioritization of functionality.

The principles of modernism are integrated with advanced construction techniques and state-of-the-art materials in high-tech architecture. The architectural movement is influenced by the industrial and technological progress of the era, emphasizing the representation of a building's structural components and systems.

A prominent characteristic of high-tech architecture is the conspicuous utilization of structural elements, including steel beams, glass partitions, and openly displayed mechanical systems. The aforementioned elements are not obscured, but rather exalted, resulting in an aesthetic that accentuates the edifice's purpose and fabrication.

14. Neoclassical

This particular style of architecture utilized a number of unique characteristics. A notable feature observed in the architecture of the era was the incorporation of classical orders, namely the Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian columns, that were utilized in the design of facades and porticos. Frequently, these columns were organized in a symmetrical fashion to establish a perception of equilibrium and concordance.

Neoclassical architecture was distinguished by its utilization of precise outlines, geometric forms, and a discerning appreciation for balance and symmetry. The practice of adorning facades with decorative elements like pediments, friezes, and cornices was a prevalent tradition that aimed to augment the visual allure and refinement of the architectural design. The prevalence of classical motifs and those derived from ancient mythology served to further augment the classical aesthetic. The aforementioned architectural style surfaced during the 1980s and is frequently linked with edifices of public nature, such as governmental edifices, museums, and libraries.

15. Sustainable Architecture

Sustainable architecture, commonly referred to as green architecture or eco-friendly design, pertains to a collection of techniques and characteristics that prioritize ecological accountability and resource efficacy in the constructed milieu. The objective is to reduce the adverse environmental effects of buildings while simultaneously establishing habitable and pleasant environments for inhabitants.

Minimizing energy usage is a key tenet of sustainable architecture. The attainment of this objective is facilitated by employing diverse tactics, including the integration of passive design methodologies such as appropriate positioning, natural airflow, and illumination from natural sources. Furthermore, energy-conserving technologies such as solar panels, effective insulation, and high-performance windows are incorporated to reduce the reliance on non-renewable energy resources.

16. De-constructivism

De-constructivism is an architectural style that is distinguished by its unorthodox and disjointed approach to design. De-constructivism fundamentally questions conventional concepts of structure, utility, and spatial arrangement. The intention is to deviate from the conventional and symmetrical arrangements of traditional architecture and instead adopt disorder and intricacy.

The manipulation of geometric shapes and forms is a fundamental technique utilized in the de-constructivist movement. Architects frequently employ oblique and distorted features, fragmented planes, and asymmetrical arrangements to generate a perception of fragmentation and instability. Through the process of deconstructing conventional architectural components, such as walls, roofs, and floors, the objective is to generate spaces that are visually stimulating and intellectually stimulating.

17. Vernacular

Vernacular architecture refers to a type of customary building design that arises from indigenous practices, resources, and methodologies. The manifestation of a particular phenomenon is indicative of the cultural, social, and environmental circumstances in which it is situated. The architectural methodology is founded upon the exigencies and predilections of the indigenous populace, frequently cultivated across successive eras.

The techniques employed in vernacular architecture exhibit significant diversity, contingent upon the locality and accessible materials. Indigenous resources, such as timber, rock, sun-dried clay, or plant stalks, are frequently employed in construction. The techniques employed in construction prioritize simplicity, efficiency, and adaptability to the specific climatic and topographical conditions of the locality. The process of construction frequently entails collective involvement, which nurtures a feeling of communalism and mutual identity.

18. Bauhaus

Bauhaus architecture, renowned for its innovative and influential approach, emerged during the early 20th century. It was a German school of design that aimed to integrate art, craftsmanship, and technology. Bauhaus architects embraced functionalism, simplicity, and the fusion of form and function.

In terms of methods, Bauhaus architects emphasized rationality and efficiency. They sought to streamline design processes, employing industrial techniques and materials to create affordable and mass-produced buildings. Experimentation and interdisciplinary collaboration were fundamental aspects of their work, with architects working alongside artists, craftsmen, and engineers.

19. Futurism

The Futurism architectural movement is characterized by its futuristic approach to design, which involves the exploration of innovative techniques and unique features. This style draws inspiration from technology, speed, and dynamism, with a focus on forward-thinking design principles. The emergence of this art form can be attributed to its artistic reaction to the swift progress and industrialization that characterized the onset of the 20th century. Architects who subscribed to the Futurist movement incorporated novel building materials, including steel, glass, and reinforced concrete, in order to fashion smooth and aerodynamic edifices that embodied the ethos of advancement.

Futurism architecture is characterized by the utilization of various techniques such as geometric abstraction, dynamic forms, and the incorporation of movement. Architects endeavored to deviate from conventional symmetrical patterns and instead adopted asymmetry and angular geometries. The designers endeavored to encapsulate the fundamental attributes of velocity and vigor through the integration of fluid and undulating contours and strokes that effectively conveyed a perception of movement.


Deconstructive - Brutalism

Futurism - Baroque

Futurism - Vernacular

Modern - Egyptian

Futurism - Gothic

Modern - Greek

Futurism - Roman

Modern - Vernacular

Modern - Sustainability

To conclude, architecture is a multifaceted and continuously developing discipline that encompasses diverse styles and influences. Various architectural styles throughout history, such as ancient Egyptian architecture and futurism design, possess distinctive features that have influenced both society and the field of architecture during their respective eras. The aforementioned enumeration of architectural styles is not comprehensive, as numerous other styles and their adaptations have emerged and progressed throughout history. Nevertheless, the aforementioned styles are among the most widely acknowledged and scrutinized styles within the realm of architecture. Comprehending the development of architectural styles can foster a more profound recognition of the constructed surroundings and its influence on our quotidian existence.

Disclaimer: All of the photos are artificially intelligent art generated.


Ar. Neil John Bersabe

Lead Architect

John Michael Jalandra

Content Writer


BERSABARC Design Studio 2023



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