c. late 20th – 21st century
Worldwide — Influences: Early Modern, Computers; Styles: Abstraction, Postmodern, Contemporary, Sustainable

Global issues such as climate change, an over-populated planet, and the ever-present threat to finite resources have forced humanity to work together to create long-term solutions for development.


Early modern architecture continued with abstraction, based on the anti-ornamentation beliefs of Adolf Loos. The style is found in Minimalism that creates drama with negative space and geometric lines and planes; Mid-century Modern adapted the streamlined International style into the desert, particularly in Palm Springs, California; Structuralism is found in Peter Eisenman’s Holocaust Memorial in Berlin, Germany; High-tech appears to turn buildings inside-out with functional elements like ductwork placed on the exterior, such as at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France.

Centre Pompidou, Paris, France


The postmodern style popular in the 1980s, Postmodern architects, like Michael Graves, sought to combine modern innovation with traditional forms.

Portland Building, Portland, Oregon

Contemporary Forms

Cubist and angular forms of Deconstructivism as well as the curvilinear, undulating, or irregular amorphous forms of “Blobitecture” challenge fundamental building constructs. Computer models can create abstract, sculptural forms and rounded shapes: City Hall in London, England; Guggenheim by Frank Gehry in Bilbao, Spain; Heydar Aliyev Centre by Zaha Hadid in Baku, Azerbaijan.

Organic architecture draws from nature in its form and reflects the surrounding culture as in the Sydney Opera House.

Mega-structures use engineering feats and technological advances to allow construction to soar vertically like with the Shard in London, England, and beyond to nearly unconstrained heights found in the Sears Tower, Petronas Towers, and Burj Khalifa.

Glass and steel create light, airy architectural forms that are often juxtaposed with the historic structures surrounding them such as the Louvre pyramid entrance by I.M. Pei in Paris, France.

London, England
Louvre pyramid entrance, Paris, France

Sustainable Design

Sustainable design solutions seek to work in harmony with the natural environment, utilize renewable resources, and integrate with the environment using local, natural materials. A new trend in tiny homes allows people to reduce their carbon footprint, and to live mobile or even off-grid lifestyles in order to deal with the high cost of housing and property values and address individual environmental impact.