How Architecture Has Changed in the Past Two Decades
How Architecture Has Changed in the Past Two Decades

Just like any other art form, architecture is prone to constant change. Many different elements and variations within architecture have undergone drastic change within the past two decades. From building usage and material, traditional architecture is constantly advancing and will continue to do so for the time to come.

While most people associate architecture with lush nature retreats and fabulous buildings, modern architecture is much more about providing solutions to big global issues. These issues range from increasing the use of eco-friendly materials and improving sustainable design to the lack of accessible housing and global warming.

Some trends in architecture don’t leave a big mark on the industry long-term – others can be pretty revolutionary. With the ever-increasing environmental awareness that took the world by storm, modern architecture is now focused on finding eco-friendly, innovative, and sustainable solutions to improve the way we live.

Habitat destruction, power consumption, and pollution are the most concerning issues at hand at the moment. Fortunately, modern architecture could provide the solutions to these problems. Let’s see how architecture has changed in the last 20 years.

Greener designs

One of the biggest changes in architecture is coming up with greener design solutions – the notion also known as going green. That means using alternatives to the materials that have been used during construction in the past.

That means fewer plastics, as well as locally sourcing most materials. While this can do wonders for our beautiful planet, it can also help extend the life and durability of buildings and homes, reduce emissions, and cut costs.

Nowadays, more and more industries are investing in projects designed with water and soil conservation in mind. Green urban planning and landscape urbanism focus on designing entire cities while preserving both water and soil resources.

Then, there’s also permaculture – a modern concept that creates more sustainable ways of living. It relates to the sociopolitical aspects of architecture and has directly led to greener agriculture and urban farming initiatives. Greener design also aims to produce clean energy and lower our energy consumption.

Versatile designs

The shift in the use of materials created the need for more versatile designs that will match the modern needs of eco-friendly construction and design projects. While organic materials are currently popular, many new interior designers and architects are working toward solutions that will show versatility within the construction of the building itself.

You’ve probably noticed that most newer buildings are no longer traditional rectangles simply stacked on top of one another with partitions that include rooms and walls. Modern architecture is now more dedicated to creating a natural flow to the building.

Accessible design is a direct result of this increased versatility. It helps ensure that everyone has quick access to functional and adequate spaces in both private and public contexts.

It has also contributed to the creation of smaller living spaces such as petite prefabs and tiny cabins that practice minimalism as the most effective solution for people trying to live a greener lifestyle.

More importantly, this versatile and accessible design allows contractors to construct eco-friendly and more sustainable buildings using organic and more natural materials. It has also led to more open designs that use lighter and stronger materials to open up living spaces by reducing the number of walls.

Rooftop greenery is becoming popular

With the world becoming more populated with each passing day, fewer locations are suitable for growing vegetation and produce. Since the world needs both to add to the sustainability of traditional architecture, many modern buildings have rooftop greenery – green rooftop terraces that are constructed as gardens.

These terraces aren’t just a small place where you can grow your own garden. They are designed specifically to hold the weight of growing vegetation, water, and soil while using the natural ability to absorb moisture. Rooftop greenery is one of the most prominent trends in modern architecture at the moment that will most likely continue to grow in the future.

Alongside rooftop greenery, we also have vertical gardens that are very helpful in conserving nature. These gardens are like blocks of nature that you can find all around buildings, neighborhoods, and entire towns. Aside from being breathtakingly beautiful to behold, vertical gardens help reduce gas emission and noise pollution, among many other things.

Less empty space

Modern architecture is all about more light and allowing natural light into living spaces. It can be beneficial in many different ways, but most people see it when paying their energy bills. Buildings built to provide lots of natural light help reduce energy costs as tenants don’t have to rely on electricity for lighting as much.

Building materials have become more durable in the last couple of years, opening new possibilities for changing traditional ways. Modern buildings are designed to allow the use of more windows and less empty space. You don’t need plenty of empty space to live comfortably. No matter how much space you have, you can always arrange it to serve you better.

That’s why modern architecture and design both lean more toward multi-functional living spaces and furniture, as well as built-in storage solutions that allow homeowners to make the most out of their living space.

With more and more people expecting their homes to run and work more efficiently now, having empty space or an unused room in your home seems very impractical and expensive.

Realistic project imagery

In modern architecture, the need for more realistic project imagery is constantly growing. Both 3D rendering and architectural visualization are incredibly important to realizing modern architectural projects these days. 3D rendering, computer-generated imagery, and 3D graphics help communicate ideas more effectively.

3D visualization is more accessible and can be used to demonstrate both a prototype of a project idea or the finished product. More importantly, such imagery allows artists to showcase a project in 3D, improve visual communication, and present their ideas in a much more cost-effective way.

Thanks to realistic project imagery, it is possible to track and monitor numerous projects in a real-life environment from beginning to end. Such imagery also allows for virtual reality technology that can help create virtual tours around the most critical aspects of a project in a digital setting.

A virtual tour is nothing more than a simulation of a particular project that can also include narration, text, music, sound effects, etc. It is the closest depiction of a real-life experience. Because of that, virtual tours are mostly used in industries such as real estate and hospitality.

Realistic project imagery is realistic and immersive to allow people who don’t come from an architecture background to better understand every aspect of a project, including its scales, surrounding area, different versions, potential problems, and flaws in the design.

A more customer-centric approach

With realistic project imagery came a more customer-centric approach, meaning that modern architects are now using all sorts of tools and technologies to provide their clients with the ultimate customer experience.

Customer-centric architecture is also human-centered, and it isn’t just a methodology, style, or trend, but a solution-based approach to enhance the relationship between buildings and people to attend to society’s needs and the ever-increasing and changing needs of local communities.

Buildings designed with this approach are built to provide solutions for ongoing problems and opportunities by focusing on the emotions, behaviors, narratives, and needs of people.

Taking a more customer-centric approach is also an excellent way to fix those problems and heal local communities by eliminating unhealthy and dangerous practices, as well as the use of polluting materials.

We’ll need both human-centric and nature-centric approaches to building environment-friendly constructions and finding more effective ways to make the world a more sustainable and greener place.

There is no doubt that the future of architecture is a human-centric one. It has already started on the level of local communities, where you can already find entire green and sustainable cities and neighborhoods. We expect to see much more of this in the future.

Personalized designs

Since more and more architects are taking a customer-centric approach, the demand for personalized designs has never been greater. Ten years ago or so, the focus of architecture was more on renovating as it was one of the best ways to add more value to a property.

Many homeowners and property managers made renovations and other decisions regarding decoration and design with a potential buyer in mind. Nowadays, architecture is much more personalized as there is a whole new wave of individuality where people are more centered on renovating their properties rather than appeasing potential buyers.

Every property is entirely unique, with elements based on individual style and preference. A personalized design isn’t only meant to leave a potential buyer in awe but to address the basic and personal needs of the people who use it. Modern houses are designed to better fit the needs of people who live in them.

Personalized designs use patterns and color – they’re all about trying out different surfaces for worktops, walls, and flooring. They can also be geared toward a smart home, as smart home technology is on the rise.

More room for being creative

Modern architecture is more into exploring the uncharted territories that come with the use of newer technologies, techniques, methodologies, and practices, as well as eco-friendly, organic materials.

Because of that, it leaves more room for being creative to architects, designers, contractors, 3D artists, engineers, etc. – even more so if we take into consideration the trend of smart homes that is still to explode and take the world by storm.

In the past, these smart homes were nothing but living units crammed with internet-enabled and connected devices. They required vast amounts of energy and were extremely costly to upgrade or repair.

However, this is now completely changed thanks to the almost continuous wire-free connection. There are four main things to think about when it comes to the key factors influencing the evolution of architecture:

  • Environment – the surroundings of a building have a significant impact on its shape and size. At the same time, the building also has an impact on the environment around it. That leaves plenty of room to get creative with the design and determine the type and amount of materials used in construction.
  • Creativity – an architect’s imagination and identity play a crucial role in their creativity and the design and structure of a building. They can find inspiration in many directions, including past experiences, events, and common hobbies in the area.
  • Modern architectural styles – while previous architectural styles still serve as the foundation for inspiration, modern architecture is now more determined by the technology used in architectural design today.
  • Criticism – constructive criticism can help modern architects create a better final result and identify potential errors and faults in their designs.


From smaller and simpler living spaces to building energy-efficient homes, modern architecture is now concerned with solving the most urgent global problems and still helps homeowners and property managers save the environment by preserving their natural habitat.

With more efficient buildings comes a greater chance to reduce the amount of energy spent and save money on utility bills.

Modern architecture will help build more sustainable and eco-friendly buildings that will provide people with zero-energy homes and energy-positive living units that are capable of producing more energy than they spend.

Such eco-aware concepts will help raise awareness regarding the ever-increasing need to make the world a greener and healthier place.