Modern Architecture

Modern Architecture in Lahore started in America after World War 1 between 1930 and 1960. In 1932 in America, an exhibition of modernist architecture was held by an American Architect Philip Johnson who was piercing the idea that design must be followed by function, and his words and ideas carried a weight that could not be just rejected. After this hall performance, a Big Bang happened and modernity entered into the building designs.

It was also called an international style or international modernism. This design was less ornate and minimal and avoided the use of extras that were not required. There are used plain and simple lines, flat roofs, and less ornamentation in a modern building. Open floor plans are used instead of closed ones like the open kitchen, and the concept of separate living, drawing, or dining is also fading away. In the old designs, the function had less value in front of the design but now the architectural philosophy has been changed; form should follow function and function should be followed. The period was changing rapidly, industrialization had been developed and was spreading in the cities; the small countrymen were looking towards the cities because they were looking for industries and factories that were more profitable than the lands, so they migrated to the cities and their was need of such structure that could meet the issues of overpopulation. A whole new infrastructure was required that could be more functional. Certainly, a brick or stone ornated structure could not fulfill these requirements and for that, some other sort of building structure was needed.


There are some features of Modern Architecture through which we can recognize them:

  • This design emphasizes horizontal, clean, and minimal lines
  • Plain and broad roof
  • Glass walls and large windows
  • Well- proportioned, plain, and open interior floor plans
  • Modern Building Materials
  • Inside and Outside relationship
  • Asymmetrical design and compositions with the use of geometric forms

Less is followed:

Modernity lessened the use of ornamentation in building design because in this scope, instead of design function was being followed and function-based design was being introduced. So, the extra elements in the design were removed.

Modern Architecture is different than Contemporary:

People get confused that modern and contemporary architecture is the same but it is not like that. The above-mentioned characteristics are of modern architecture. The present design in the present time is a temporary design, for example; when modern architecture was adopted some issues came before, then to solve those issues some solutions were introduced, and modern architectural methods were changed, this was called contemporary. Every new arrival of the current age is contemporary and when it is past and newer comes then the past is modern. Both are almost the same, there is no big difference between them.



Modern Materials:

In the 20th century building materials were also revolutionized; brick, stone, and wooding were no more in construction, instead, Glass, reinforced concrete, steel frames, and cast iron began to be used. This modern method changed the look of the buildings altogether, now a thick wall structure was not required to bear the load of the building, and the tall structure was easy to make because of the strong and supporting structure.

Engineering Advancements:

The engineering techniques were introduced in the 20th century through which architects could play bigger designs. Now, instead of heavily loaded structures, thin and multiple-floor buildings can be built. Due to the advanced techniques, engineers could construct architectural designs easily, and then different designs began to be built.   

Modern Styles:

Minimalist Architecture: Minimalist Architecture in Lahore arrived in the field, inspired by the Cubism movement. It is the design of limits; only essentials are incorporated which are required with less ornamentation. Open and broad spaces are favored, and the concept of less is more is followed. One can recognize it by following the following features in the design:

Form: Sleek walls and clean and straight Architectural lines are used.

Light: This factor is kept in focus and walls are used where they are needed otherwise the glass is used to import more natural light.

Space: It is tried to keep the spaces wide and open and sleek furniture is used to cover the essential space.

Simplification: Simplicity is sustained, and surfaces are clean and plain.

Expressionism: Original and natural design that carries the expressions of art. It is free from the defined rules of modernity and tries to create a diversion in it. It emphasizes stylistic and symbolic expressions and uses natural themes like mountains, caves, or rock formations. Bricks, steel, and glass are used as materials. It is influenced by Indian, Moorish, and Egyptian Architecture.

Neo-Expressionism:  Sculptural forms are used to call on aesthetic emotions rather than a layby experience. Non-traditional roof structures and structural elements are used in the building. It is an original style based on organic design.


Constructivist Architecture style emerged from the Soviet Union. The purpose of this technique was to construct a society based on technology and modern engineering techniques. It began to reform industrialization.

Functionalism: Functionalism Architecture imposes the importance of the function and utility of a building rather than decoration and ornamentation. The beauty of a building should follow the function; this is the slogan of functionalists. Altogether, the building is a form of function for utility purposes.

Mid-Century Modern:

Mid-century Modern Architecture made its way after World War 2. This style shares clean and straight lines, geometrical shapes and asymmetrical façade, sleek and lean rooftops with the usage of glass from floor to ceiling. Simplicity and minimalism are good companions to this movement. The value of this style is that it is connected with the nature of the outdoors and access to the outdoors is granted through many ways to give the home a naturalistic touch.

International Style:

International Style was all started in 1932 after the Modern Architecture International Exhibition coined by Philip Johnson & Henry Russell. It is a form of Modern Architecture that was needed after World War 1 as it was the time to grow the industrial economy. Such building designs were needed that must be efficient for the machine installation and must have functional space with less ornamentation.


It is also known as Brutalist Architecture, started in the 1950s and grew out of the modern movement. The prolific feature of this scope of Architecture is that the building is based on a geometrical rigid form; a monolithic giant single-unit form made up of concrete. Mostly, poured concrete is used in its construction but glass, steel, brick, and stone are also used. It is normally characterized by its unfinished and rough surfaces, straight architectural lines, and small symmetrical windows.


Post-Modernism Architecture is a counter-reaction to the typical formalities of Modern Architecture. Due to the lack of variety and continuous functional attitude in design in modern architecture, post-modernism architecture emerged. It brought colorful play, eye-catching buildings, classical language, and a variety of shapes and materials which are still continuing.


High-tech architecture is a branch of post-modernism. Advanced technology and material quality are merged to form high-rise exposed structures. The main features of this type are that there are overhanging floors, lack of interior structural walls, open functional and adaptable spaces, and its servicing is exposed. To communicate the interior with the outer space and to sustain the transparent design, such a structure is created that can assemble spaces.


This style of deconstructivist architecture came from post-modernism and it is reflected in its name that it breaks the symmetry and rules of uniformity. The building’s shape is non-rectangular or non-square; which means no uniformity or typicality in design or form. The main purpose of designing such out-laws is to evoke emotions and feelings.


This word has been derived from the German language, and means “House Construction”. This Architectural Style emphasizes function and less décor or ornamentation and it’s a fusion of uniform and abstract shape designs.

Art Deco:

Art Deco is a type of Architecture that is inspired by visual Architecture. It first started in France and earned popularity in the 1920s and 30s in America and Europe.  It combined modern architecture with artifacts and advanced rich materials. The chief examples are the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building.

 California Modernism:

Primarily, California Modernism Architecture emerged in Los Angeles. The features of this style are rectangular structures supported by steel frames and linear flat rooftops. An extensive amount of glass is used in it. Indoor and outdoor blended living is aroused.


Eclecticism Architecture is the imitation of the historical or traditional architectural style. In this style, rather than a mixed style only a particular style is focused, and rather than an only revival of some past form it is tried to bring originality in it.


There is a story behind this specific root of Googie Architecture. An American Architect Firms Pakistan, Douglas Haskell, who was an architecture critic, was doing some research, and one day passing by a coffee shop in Hollywood, he observed its unique design and then looked at its name Googie, he named this specific scope of architecture “Googie Architecture”.

It is a futuristic design and is also recognized as the Architecture of the Space Age. The key features of the style are curvaceous and geometrical shapes. Steel, glass, and neon are used in its structure. It is an exaggerated style with dramatic angles.


Miesian Architecture is derived from the work of a German-American Architect Mies Van der Rohe. He was carrying the flag of modernity and Bauhaus style. Miesian style follows a minimal frame structure and a balanced order against the unruly free open space. A famous example of this style is the Barcelona Pavilion which was constructed in 1928.

Streamline Moderne:

Streamline Moderne Architecture was inspired by aerodynamic design which was used in designing industrial buildings, locomotives, buses, and telephones. The key features were round edges of the building and horizontal lines. This design was mostly used in bus stations, airports, and port buildings. The nautical or shipping elements were used in these designs.

New Formalism:

 This type of architecture is mostly based on old symmetric designs, having classical ornamentations like classical columns, and arch-type structures and mostly they are built on a raised podium. It is a merge of old and new advanced values and techniques. Rich materials in exterior decorations are used such as marble, travertine, granite, etc.


Organic Architecture is blended with nature and in the very scope, the designed building is often surrounded by the landscape or it is close to nature anyway. Both building and nature coexist. The building is designed so that it should look like dissolving into the natural surroundings. For the continuing conversation, in the building, roof openings to the sky and large glass windows are incorporated. Open floor spaces are entertained with the less room series to create the best natural experience.


Prairie Architecture is a purely American style. This style melds art movements with modernity and nature. Horizontal architectural lines, a series of windows are incorporated in the wall, a wide horizontally spread formation and asymmetrical floors & cantilevers are melded. Mostly, brick structure is used for the exterior ornamentation.


By going through these modern styles in Modern Architecture Firms in Lahore, we can conclude a dogma that looks, experience and function are the diversifying turns in anticipating the styles.