Every single thing ranging from site selection to the planning of the space ending with the material finishes used can contribute towards users’ health, mood, and productivity. Throughout my lifetime, architecture has represented this society. As the culture of society evolved, the architecture of that particular community took an upscale.
“Modern architecture is not a style, it’s an attitude.” – Marcel Breuer
- This evolution of architecture eliminates all kinds of ornamentation; it gives clean aesthetic lines the materials meet in simple well-executed joints.
- The materials used are in well-defined planes and vertical forms complementing the horizontal element.
- The built structure hugs the site and becomes a part of it rather than standing out or being in contrast.
- Use of steel, concrete blocks, trusses, glass, exposed flooring, etc., allows column-free and user-friendly spaces.
- Wood, brick and stone often represent modern aesthetics when used simplistically.
- Emphasis is laid on showcasing the honesty of the material.
- Use of large glass surfaces to merge exteriors in interiors and bring the natural light in is the new trend used here.
- Spaces are designed such that they flow together as part of one continuous interior space.
- Best modern homes are efficient and aim towards enhancing human comfort.
Modern architecture does not call to use the building materials allegedly. However, the main thing here is to refine the materials in a more human direction. Modern architecture involves concrete as the principal material. Extreme usage of this material leads us towards the architectural movement of brutalism. It is often perceived that the great brutalist buildings have the soul in such a way that the antiseptic glass buildings can never have.
These buildings have undeniable power as well which cannot be achieved with any other material but concrete. Brutalism was considered as the architecture of the forgotten underclass. It often represented a category of buildings that exhibited windswept plazas, crumbling concrete, ugly, dystopian, soullessness. This movement came along with high levels of gentrification.
Materials such as steel and glass went high up suddenly in between a low-rise community. It was a strong belief at that time that concrete architecture is unforgiving. No one or no designer bothered to consult the people whose lives were ostensibly being improved. However, raw concrete often signifies down-to-earth nature, honest behaviour, unpretentious, egalitarianism, and creates a building that seems to be rooted in the place.
A concrete building defines simplicity functionality and signifies directness. Concrete’s very nature is local instead of being blandly international.
Evolving times in the field of design added a new slang to our vocabulary, “The Concrete Jungle”. The concrete jungle is defined as a peri-urban city or a region with a high density of similar-looking high-rise concrete masses. This develops not only an unpleasant living environment but also suffocates the users residing here.
If observed from a different lens then concrete jungle can also be defined as—tropical foliage over a concrete mass. For instance, a condition where the exterior of a monolithic concrete apartment is softened by a spectacular flourish of giant bamboo plants.
Lifting above the poetic explanations, if we observe the technical aspect of the modern architectural movement, to name a few major modern architecture techniques used in present time is as follows:
- A precast flat panel system
- 3-D volumetric modules
- Flat slab construction
- Precast cladding panels
- Concrete walls and floors
- twin wall technology
- Precast concrete foundation
- Concrete formwork installation
Modern architecture and its techniques along with concrete as the building materials go hand-in-hand. Most of these techniques are solely based on the usage of concrete as the main material or using concrete along with additional material. In whichever way used, concrete never goes out of sight. It seems to be the most locally available economic building material.
Concrete is also the most versatile material that is used to provide structural stability along with design aesthetics. Adhering to the massive influx of migrants from rural to peri-urban and urban areas has created a whole new set of city requirements. There has been a sharp rise in increasing demands for housing and workspaces.
The fastest supply mode involves the construction of concrete high risers. However monotonous this set might appear, yet financially it has proved to be the most stable. This concrete built in the city setting serves all the functions and houses a greater density of people. With the advancing times, it is the dire need to get accustomed to this urban set-up termed as the ‘concrete jungle’.
Frolicking with the volumetric massing, we designers can give it a shot to make the built form appear less bulky. Despite following the modern architectural techniques emphatically and incorporating all the design methodology in the design process, it is unimaginable to not use concrete as a building material. Thus, modern architectural techniques cannot help us to escape the concrete jungle.