Trends In Architecture, 1960s And 70s
By Al Zan
Architecture of the 1960s is often referred to as the Post Modern era. During the 60s the conflict between The Establishment and individual identity and self expression affected architecture as it did nearly all things. The break from the established rules of architecture was most evident in public structures and housing for the affluent. The change to architecture in moderate housing was less related to style than to how it melded with, and was impacted by, the surrounding environment. With the baby boom culminating in the 60s, governments and municipalities recognized the need for formal planning to accommodate the growth.
As the 60s trends for individual expression and informality surfaced in architecture, a breach between accepted standards and creative design grew. A new generation of architects emerged, forming a communication network that promoted and expanded the exchange of ideas outside academia. The work of these new leaders suggested that architecture was complex, requiring consideration not only for the structure but also for the social needs and the environment of the area. The recognition that architecture has a relationship with its surroundings resulted in a new trend of melding structure with environment and ecology.
The 70s were eventful, often chaotic, years. Early in the decade the Viet Nam War was raging, bringing political unrest and social issues. By the mid 70s the energy crisis and resulting economic recession added to social change that would last throughout the decade. Globally,
the style of major architecture projects in the 70s was experimental and unconventional. Individualism and extremism prevailed. The impact in the US on home architecture was less extreme but no less dynamic.
With the return of Viet Nam veterans and the availability of VA mortgages, young families were in the market for housing. At the same time, the social changes of the 70s intensified the exodus from cities to suburbs and rural settings. Architecture in new home construction continued to lean toward the established designs of the 60s but the interior was updated with advances in technology. With the energy crisis, improved insulation, energy efficiency and solar energy were incorporated in the architecture of the day.
One of the biggest changes in the architecture of the 70s was the reuse of existing structures. Consumer preference to renovate old structures, rather than build new ones, increased demand for architecture plans for the restoration of old houses, barns, deserted schoolhouses etc. Warehouses and old factories were being converted to apartments, restaurants and shopping malls. Desire for revival and reintegration created a new trend in the common architecture of the decade.
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