Contemporary Building – International Style + Modernism, Current Architecture Designs

Contemporary Buildings : Architectural Zeitgeist

New Architecture – style + meaning : what do this term mean?

post updated 23 Feb 2020

Contemporary Building

This site focuses on contemporary buildings around the world. However, a basic understanding of what ‘contemporary’ often denotes is useful. Certainly within the field of architecture ‘contemporary’ denotes not just new or modern by age (ie by default) but something deliberately of our time. The phrase ‘zeitgeist’ is often used to describe something which – as the German translation suggests – is truly ‘of our time’, that is in the spirit of the time.

Singapore Tower Contemporary Buildings
picture from architects

To take an example, Le Corbusier would consider his main body of buildings (middle period anyway, around the thirties) to reflect the times in the same way the planes and cars did, but other architects’ contemporaneous buildings – in say the Classical style – to not be ‘contemporary’. Thus contemporary building designs should exude the nature of the time in which they are built and not use past styles or typographies.

In fact many current buildings reuse Modern typographies ie stylistic devices from the International Style. Let’s be bold and suggest some: Allan Murray’s A1, A2 and G1 buildings at Edinburgh Park all use simple forms; they all use flat planes of white render; glazing wraps around corners; fenestration is often fabricated from black mouldings akin to Le Corbusier’s fenetre longeur. Thus these buildings from the turn of the 21st century are (loosely) described by some commentators as being contemporary buildings whereas in fact they are more accurately described as current buildings (though this becomes weaker every year that passes) or neo-Modern buildings.

Crystal Island Moscow
picture from architects

‘Contemporary Buildings’ suggests forms and spaces that are anti-vernacular, comfortable with new materials and non-local materials & forms, using architectural language that is not generally steeped in past typographies or traditions.

Contemporary Architects – Definition Summary

Celebrated architect Frank Gehry, based in Los Angeles, Southern California, USA:
Frank Gehry - designer of Contemporary Buildings
image from STV

Contemporary World Architecture – City Guides

Barcelona Architecture

Cambridge Architecture

Copenhagen Architecture

Edinburgh Architecture

Glasgow Architecture

Hong Kong Architecture

New York Architecture

Paris Architecture

Contemporary Buildings : Featured Architects

Santiago Calatrava

David Chipperfield

Terry Farrell

Foster & Partners

Future Systems

Frank Gehry

Zaha Hadid

Toyo Ito

Rem Koolhaas

Henning Larsen

Daniel Libeskind


Richard Meier

Enric Miralles

Jean Nouvel

Renzo Piano

Richard Rogers

Moshe Safdie

Office Buildings

University Buildings

Museum Buildings
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum Building
© Nic Lehoux / Renzo Piano Building Workshop

Contemporary Housing

Contemporary Interiors

Contemporary Japanese Buildings

Contemporary Museum Buildings

Comments / photos for the Contemporary Buildings page welcome