While heritage architecture is favoured and even revered by some, to others there is a distinct lack of character and warmth that heritage or classic architecture offers.
In the 21st century nothing says ‘modern architecture’ more distinctly than the aesthetic and function of a green building. Many architects will argue that green building should not have its own exclusive aesthetic but many of these buildings do, and this look has become almost synonymous with characteristics of modern architecture.
While such buildings can be appealing for the way they stand out, they often appear very alien next to already-built spaces, leaving the potential for their long-term aesthetic sustainability in question.
However, there is now a movement that sees classic architectural genres and styles updated and retrofitted; designs which give a pointed nod towards traditionalism with a very modern twist.
These kinds of designs translate to ‘modern classics’ and offer a very exciting glimpse into the future of our cities in an almost ‘sci-fi’ movie fashion.
Evgeni Leonov Architects’ industrial housing solution for London accomplishes this very goal.
There is a very strong sense of architectural heritage in the city and the UK in general. Offering to pay homage to this cultural reality while fulfilling the need for affordable, sustainable living solutions, the architects have created an urban planning concept that modernises and retrofits the iconic London Terrace.
The concept outlays the development of a terrace complex that features singular housing units that have been designed to meet passive house standards. This will be achieved through their uniquely rounded egg-like form and the use of high-insulating materials that will reduce the heat consumption of each unit to a low annual output of 3.33 kwh per square metre.
While environmental design will be a key element in achieving the project’s sustainability goals, overall social sustainability will also be maximised through the urban planning layout. The plan centres housing units around community spaces such as park lands, common gardens and pool areas, optimising community-focused recreation.
Already-built and heritage community spaces will be optimised as the designers express a strong ideology that moves away from demolish-and-rebuild and focuses more on working with the skills, materials and built spaces already in place.
This concept shows an evolution of design and tells a story for future generations about the built history of a city. While it is important for the architecture industry to be allowed creative freedom and be encouraged to break into new realms of design, it is equally important to celebrate traditional cultural design, especially on a community level, allowing nostalgia and modernity to fuse together in allowing for the evolution of a built space.
These kinds of concepts are sustainable and represent the future of classic architecture as we may come to know it.