Top 5 Architects of the 21st Century

As an architecture student, your 1st year consists of wonderful discoveries and enthralling case studies falling at your doorstep in the form of sketches made compulsory. Names like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water, Tadao Ando’s Church of Light, Tom Wright’s Burj Al Arab get tossed around on a daily as the epitome of contemporary architecture masterpieces.

A description of the last entire century of Architecture is incomplete without terms like fusion, evolution, digitalism, futurism, etc. A mélange of the contemporary with classical hints, a display of exposed concrete with a lack of decorative additions. Leaving no stone unturned, these architects have managed to go far beyond the set parameters of designing by creating works that rightfully give a new face to the cities touched by their magical wand. Safe to say that the 21st Century has provided a platform for a contemporary revolution and these architects are the real revolutionaries in the business.

Santiago Calatrava

“I have tried to get close to the frontier between architecture and sculpture and to understand architecture as an art.”  

Of all the architects displaying their works in the past century, Santiago Calatrava’s has managed to create his unique identity by fusing a classical baroque style with sci-fi fictional drama. Emerging out a poetry of curves and forms, Calatrava’s creativity finds no visible bounds. Over the years, Calatrava has been quick to mark his signature element as the ‘ribcage’, which has aided his adoration for sci-fi baroque quite well.

Renzo Piano

“One of the great beauties of architecture is that it each time, it is like starting life all over again.”

Master of museums, Renzo Piano started off his career on a high note after designing the well-acclaimed George Pompidou Centre, Paris. This not only helped Renzo establish a benchmark in the architectural world but also set a certain frequency for projects to come his way. Renzo Piano has come to be known for his attention to immaculate detailing that ranges from the place and purpose of the structure. This has also helped him experiment with his designing abilities, which is why it’s tough to classify Renzo’s style under any one category or era.

Zaha Hadid

“There are 360 degrees, so why stick to one?”

Being one of the highly-esteemed and established female architects in the business, dame Zaha Hadid found more room for exploration in the field of digital architecture. Her eye for detailing and constant lookout for innovation helped put Zaha Hadid on a higher pedestal. Zaha Hadid’s style, which has been famously described as neo-futuristic, has helped create some of the most visually striking structures of our times, with lines that flow and cave whilst retelling a story of their own.

Frank Gehry

“Architecture should speak of its time and place, but yearn for timelessness.”

No list in the 21st century that talks about architects can be complete without a single mention of Frank Gehry. Being a long-time believer in the style of ‘deconstructivism’, Gehry’s works are naturally larger-than-life in terms of their aesthetical appearances and volumes. Brushing aside the philosophy of “form follows function”, which is the main driving force for most architects today, Frank Gehry instead makes use of technology to create surreal forms into which function gets embedded as a secondary element.

Bjarke Ingels

“In the big picture, Architecture is the art and science of making sure that our cities and buildings fit with the way we want to build our lives.”

In a world that is strongly dominated by architects that have established themselves through decades of experience, Bjarke Ingels stands out as someone who tasted success at a much younger age. The credit for this lies in Bjarke’s philosophy of inducing sustainability into building forms that look playfully contemporary and chic. Having trained under mentor Rem Koolhaas, Bjarke’s understanding of proportions and workability make one of the most innovative architects of this century.

About the author:

Mahika Kothawade, currently studying Mass Communication, also has a keen interest in architecture. Her thirst for knowledge drives her to keep an up-to-date knowledge of current affairs around the world.

4 thoughts on “Top 5 Architects of the 21st Century

  1. Really well written. Just couple of corrections.

    1. Tom Wright designed the Burj Al Arab and not the Burj Khalifa

    2. FLW was never part of the 21st century unless you meant to talk about the last 100 years (Then i apologize)

    1. Thank you for pointing out the error related to Burj Al Arab. The mention of FLW is only for the introduction purpose. The actual 21st-century architects are mentioned in the main body of the blog.

  2. Beautifully expressed Ms.Mahika! Had been scrolling through Facebook n this article kept popping since the past 2 days. When I decided to read this article today, I was more than happy to know you’ve written it. Way to go!

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