It’s 1958. You’re in Midtown Manhattan, New York, standing in front of a 515 feet tall miracle of never-before-seen glass and bronze that opens into a pink granite plaza. The Seagram Building stands out from every other building in the borough. Sleek, minimal, and efficient, it’s setting the tone for a new aesthetic that would be popular for at least another century. It is the beginning of the era of modernist architecture. 

But wait, there’s a “Seagram Building” popping up once every two centuries.

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Change in Range

For thousands of years, buildings were built as a symbol of an era. Architecture was a confluence of luxury and extravagance, a medium to lay down your mark in the world. But over the past hundred years or so, perspectives have changed, ideas have unfolded and functionality has taken precedence. 

Buildings were suddenly built to achieve a client’s purpose. Design elements were branded as ‘redundant’ if they posed no structural value and the grandeur of the previous century became a ‘waste of space’. Architecture evolved. This phenomenon isn’t unique to the transition of the 20th century. In fact, the fundamental concept of “change is the only constant” is the basis for the flourishing art movements that have defined and shaped our world.

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PSFS Building_©Bruce Sauerwine

Going Back in Time

While innovation and developments fueled by the rising breakthroughs in several supplementary domains like engineering and the arts have introduced new pathways for architecture to pursue, it is quite evident that society tends to go back to the past for inspiration.

Trends and techniques from yesteryear have always made a comeback. We see the likes of the Renaissance or Neoclassicism which brought back the stability and innate tradition of the Greeks and Romans. Though the perfection of the period could never be replicated, the essence of successful, past styles has proved to be a gateway to visit, several times. 

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St.Peter’s Basilica_©Joe Daniel Price

Architecture from a Galaxy Far Far Away

Pop culture and media have had a fair share in predicting the course of the future of the field. The sci-fi world has acquainted us with the possibility of architecture that transcends dimensional barriers. Structures that supersede the problems of today, assisted by mind-blowing scientific revelations or even space travel! 

Inception, Tomorrowland, Blade Runner, Interstellar, Star Wars, extra-terrestrial settlements of the Marvel Universe are a few examples of movies and TV shows that have painted a fastidious picture of tomorrow. 

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Still from Dr.Strange_©

Following Star Trails

The emergence of star architects has played a pivotal role in the industry. Holding individuals as role models or following a set of principles laid out by a successful personality can be regarded as our generation’s apprenticeship. 

Pioneers of different styles have revolutionized cities and skylines throughout the world. Oscar Niemeyer’s reimagination of Brazil and Chandigarh’s reshaping by Le Corbusier are popular examples of this culture. Bauhaus by Gropius, Mies van der Rohe’s Modernism, and Zaha Hadid’s Futuristic styles have and will inspire thousands of students every day. Herein lies the possibility for a star architect’s perspective to reshape the future of global architecture.

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Al Wakrah Stadium_©

Pandemic and Architecture 

In the past two years, there has been a significant rise in spatial problems created by the pandemic. Buildings have been repurposed and there has been an increase in demand for temporary hospital shelters. Apart from the need for make-shift architecture, there has been a boom in creating spaces that facilitate pandemic-induced regulations. People have approached architects for creative solutions to problems like integrating spaces and connecting occupants under a single roof while also following social distancing guidelines. 

Alternatively, it has been found that periods that follow devastating wars or natural disasters tend to change people. The pandemic surviving society of the near future could trace the path of the roaring 1920s. People are more adventurous, more willing to take risks, and be free. Architecture could reflect the energy and playfulness of the public. Buildings could be daring and bold. They could take on challenges and bring people together under a new hope.

The Roaring 20s_©

Multiple Pathways

Architects and planners are widely visualized as optimistic, efficient individuals. With a knack for problem-solving and fusing aesthetic appeal with every project, the whole community is abuzz with creative juices. Though every facet of the industry faces the same road, each practice is ingrained with variation.

Every practice has a unique agenda. A firm could be an ardent follower of sustainability or could want to promote social stability. From environment integration, experimenting with technology to vernacular traditions, the fraternity is an umbrella to millions of ideologies that could shape the future. 

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”

-Peter Drucker

Whether architecture styles move backwards or forwards, the principal power to design the future lies with the architect. With a touch of environmental concern and a dash of social psychology study, the future is open to multitudes of opportunities. 


© Marshall Gerometta,Seagram Building.[Photograph]

© Bruce Sauerwine, PSFS Building.[Photograph]

© Joe Daniel Price,St.Peter’s Basilica.[Photograph]

©, Still from Dr.Strange.[Photograph]

©, Al Wakrah Stadium. [Photograph]

©, The Roaring 20s. [Photograph]


A third year undergrad, Srilalitha believes that the literary universe is a gateway to exploring art and architecture. She has a strong affinity towards music, athletics and photography and enjoys unraveling the similarities between her worlds over a cup of tea.