The impulse to shape our environment with physical structures is as old as civilization. Even before recorded history, humans constructed stone circles, megaliths and other structures (think of Stonehenge in England).
You are probably familiar with many examples of architecture—the Egyptian pyramids and Sphinx, the temples, amphitheatres and arenas of Greece and Rome, the Mayan ruins in Mexico, intricate cathedrals and palaces of Europe, Middle Eastern mosques, distinctive onion-domed Russian churches, Japanese pagodas, and the Great Wall of China (to name but a small few). You may even have visited some of these architectural wonders. It is amazing to think that ancient people could conceive such colossal, detailed structures and construct them without modern technology, but they did. All thanks to the power of architecture.
Evolution of Architectural Style
The history of architecture is a fascinating evolution of styles and methods. In many ways, changing architectural styles have always reflected the culture, social thinking and practices of the time. But unlike fashions, which come and go, the enduring nature of architecture is seen by the Gothic and Renaissance examples still standing (and in use!) today—some of them right next to modern skyscrapers.
Most styles of architecture have evolved out of previous styles, but all design must follow function. Today’s modern buildings have created challenges unheard of in previous decades or centuries. There were no gas stations, power stations, or skyscrapers back then. Turning these new applications into effective design solutions is the architect’s challenge.
Today, you can stay in a pyramid-shaped hotel with state-of-the-art comforts or shop in a shopping center that’s a restoration of an old train station. Architects may be involved in a number of design opportunities including:
- Revival of a historic style with modern use, and/or
- Completely new designs using the latest materials and technology.
The possibilities are limitless!