The visionary path in architecture refers to an approach that seeks to create innovative designs that challenge traditional approaches and push boundaries. It is an approach that is closely tied to modern design, which priorities function, simplicity, and innovation. The visionary path represents a balance between innovation and tradition, drawing on architecture’s history while pushing boundaries and exploring new possibilities. It is a path that embraces both the past and the present, allowing contemporary architects to create both efficient and beautiful designs while also contributing to the ongoing evolution of architecture as a field.

In the early 20th century, a group of architects known as the modernists began to challenge the traditional approaches to architecture. They sought to create designs that were functional, and efficient and embraced new materials and technologies. This led to the development of modern architecture, characterised by clean lines, simple shapes, and an emphasis on function over ornamentation.

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Modern Designers and Architects_©World Heritage

The modernists were influenced by the work of architects such as Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who advocated for a new approach to architecture that was based on rationalism and a rejection of ornamentation. Large, open spaces, simple geometric shapes, and an emphasis on functionality often characterised their designs. As modern architecture gained popularity, it began to influence other fields of design, such as industrial design and graphic design. The emphasis on simplicity, function, and innovation became a hallmark of modern design, and this approach continues to be influential today. Despite the emphasis on innovation and modernity, architects have also continued to draw inspiration from the history of architecture. Many contemporary architects look to the past for inspiration, borrowing from traditional forms and materials to create innovative and rooted in history designs.

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David Chipperfield_©ArchDaily

One example of this approach is the work of architect David Chipperfield. Chipperfield is known for his minimalist designs that draw inspiration from the classical architecture of Greece and Rome. His designs often feature simple geometric forms, clean lines, and a focus on materials such as stone and marble.

Another example is the work of architect Norman Foster. Foster is known for his innovative designs incorporating new materials and technologies, but he also draws inspiration from traditional forms and materials. For example, his design for the Hearst Tower in New York City features a modern glass and steel tower built on top of a traditional stone base.

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Hearst Tower in New York City_©Rethinking the Future

 Using traditional forms and materials in contemporary architecture can serve several purposes. It can create a sense of continuity with the past, connecting new designs with a rich architectural history. It can also create a sense of place, as buildings that draw on local traditions and materials can anchor a design in its surroundings.

In addition to drawing on the history of architecture, contemporary architects continue to push boundaries and explore new approaches to design. One example of this is the use of parametric design, which allows architects to create complex, organic shapes using algorithms and computer modelling. 

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Heydar Aliyev Center_©Parametric House

This approach has been used to create buildings such as the Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan, which features a sweeping, fluid form meant to evoke the idea of a wave. The building comprises three main sections: the conference centre, the museum, and the exhibition halls. The conference centre is located at the western end of the building and is designed to accommodate large-scale events such as international conferences and summits. The museum is in the centre of the building and is dedicated to the life and work of Heydar Aliyev. The exhibition halls are located at the eastern end of the building and are used for temporary exhibitions and cultural events. One of the Heydar Aliyev Center’s most distinctive features is its parametric design. This approach allows architects to create complex, organic shapes using algorithms and computer modelling. The parametric design allowed Zaha Hadid to create the building’s unique and fluid form, both innovative and striking. The exterior of the building is clad in white panels made of fibre-reinforced plastic, which are curved to match the building’s flowing form. The interior of the building is equally impressive, featuring a series of interconnected spaces that flow seamlessly from one to the next. Another example is using sustainable design principles, prioritising environmental responsibility and energy efficiency. Many contemporary architects are incorporating green roofs, solar panels, and other sustainable features into their designs to create beautiful and responsible buildings.

The difference between designing architecture in history and the modern approach can be seen in several areas. In the past, architecture was often designed with a focus on ornate decoration and grandeur, often reflecting the wealth and power of the people who commissioned the buildings. This resulted in buildings that were often highly decorated and extravagant but not always efficient or practical.

In contrast, the modern approach to architecture emphasizes function, simplicity, and efficiency. Modern architects seek to create buildings that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also serve a purpose and are practical for their intended use. This often involves using new materials and construction techniques, as well as incorporating sustainable and environmentally friendly features. Another difference between historical and modern architecture is the use of technology. Modern architects have access to advanced computer modelling and design software to create more complex and innovative designs than ever before. This has led to the development of new building forms and structures that were not possible in the past. Finally, the role of architecture in society has also changed over time. In the past, architecture was often used to express political and social power. Today, architecture is increasingly seen to create spaces that are inclusive, sustainable, and accessible to everyone.

Overall, the differences between historical and modern approaches to architecture reflect changing values and priorities in society. While the historical approach focused on grandeur and ornamentation, the modern approach emphasises function, efficiency, and sustainability.

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Transition between history and modern design approach_©Rethinking the Future

Conclusively, the visionary path in architecture represents a balance between innovation and tradition. It is an approach that draws on the history of architecture while also pushing boundaries and exploring new possibilities. By embracing both the past and the present, contemporary architects can create designs that are both efficient and beautiful, while also contributing to the ongoing evolution of architecture as a field.


Raivati grew up in Ahmedabad, India and have always been fascinated by people, places and stories. She has completed three-year diploma course in Architecture, Bachelors of Design (Major : Space Design) from Anant National University, and currently pursuing my Master’s in Architecture and Urbanism which is focused on Computational Design, Robotic Digital Fabrication and Urban Design from University of East London. She always looks forward to expand through experiencing and learning different things while working, travelling and capturing the essence in every possible place she can. She is skilled in AutoCAD, Maya, Sketch-up, hotoshop, Architectural Writing, Design Research, Architectural and Interior Design. She has worked with various Architectural and Interior Design firms in Ahmedabad, India and in London, United Kingdom like Sachin Gandhi and Associates, Accanto Interiors, etc. She has a keen interest in Urbanization, and about how cities get evolved due to people and identities. Being in this process, she has learned to manage time and challenges and always plans to engage herself with work which gives happiness and learnings.