An architectural style in any region is characterized by the features that make a building or other structure notable and historically identifiable. A style may include such elements as form, method of construction, building materials, and regional cultural character. Most architecture can be classified as a chronology of styles which changes over time reflecting changing fashions, lifestyles, beliefs and religions, or the emergence of new ideas, innovative technologies, or materials which make new styles feasible and possible.
Styles therefore emerge from the history of a society and are evident in the subject of architectural history. At any given time several styles may be fashionable, and when a style changes it usually does so gradually, as architects learn and adapt to new ideas. Styles often spread to other places, so that the style at its source continues to develop in new ways while other countries follow with their own twists, adding or omitting certain features in order to harmonize this new style with their local needs and culture.
European architecture has also been affected and shaped by many factors throughout its history. Major contemporary events such as two world wars, industrialization which lead to massive migration from farm lands to big cities where the factories were centralized . This lead to increased population in urban centers, Furthermore, foreign immigration and emergence of modern technologies have fundamentally affected the course of Evolution of European architecture.
This challenges among others, has caused the European architecture to transform. Today’s European architects have to deal with many dualities and sometimes even paradoxes when trying to design and build a unique new project, because they need to consider their cultural roots while building a modern project which should also be functional and suitable with their contemporary realities and needs.
Some of these challenges are taking into consideration the following dichotomies below.
• Diversity and Unity
Create unity in diversity, And also maintain the diversity and unique features and identities, in the unified continent
• Society and Responsiveness
The euro banknotes reveal a lot about architecture. Its depiction on both sides of the bills – typical buildings on the one side and bridges more exemplary for engineering feats on the other – is a testament to its importance. The bills also prove that this importance stems from architecture’s powers of providing identity: The bridges seem to connect Europe, as does its shared traditional language of architecture or the technological progress interacting with it. If it can define the identity of a whole continent, architecture quite obviously has a great influence on society. It does more than simply stand for itself. It also represents what we stand for. The wielding of such influence demands responsible behavior, and that goes for all aspects of architecture: the aesthetic, functional, social, financial, political and, today more than ever, the environmental aspects.
• Tradition Versus Modernism
the dialogue between old and new, traditionalism and Modernism. Moving forward and Progress is a necessity, because the needs and consciousness of any society are subject to constant change and transformation. Failing to react and respond means stagnation. However, the opposite of stagnation can be equally as harmful and dangerous. When a society accelerates so fast that it cuts off all historic ties and loses its cultural memory, it will also lose its identity. That is not progression, but regression. The idea that helps to avoid both of these is that of tradition. These problems concern the dual role of architecture and urban design in a special way with respect to aesthetic and social discipline. To that extent, tradition is of central importance to architecture. Innovation and identity in architecture are not possible without a responsible and keen approach to tradition. This is as true on the global stage as it is on the regional one.
• Innovation and Identity
Buildings and people have a common trait: an identity. At least, they should have one. A person lacking individual character isn’t necessarily a bad person. But he is uninspiring, lacking uniqueness and a dull conversation partner. Without an identity, no one can or wants to identify with him. More than likely, you wouldn’t even notice him in the first place. The same goes for buildings. A building lacking identity is a bad one, architecturally speaking, because it could just as well be a different one. A good building is always specific. It carries a message. This type of message can take various forms. Architecture can relate something about an individual person, a group, a city, or a country. It can tell a story about the relations between tradition and modernity, culture and nature, aesthetics, technology and function. Purely functional design overlooks the fact that it is part of architecture’s role to create identity. And this isn’t only about being distinctive. One of its noblest and most important tasks is to create an outward expression of identity.
Architecture is art applied to society; it is made for people, not for its own sake. In order to create an identity not just for the building itself, but also for the people around it or using it, two kinds of identity are necessary: People have to be able to identify the building as something special (by its distinctiveness). But they should also be able to identify with it and with its message. Identity creates dialogue, and dialogue creates identity.
Politics, the economy and technology have removed many boundaries in recent decades, or made them more penetrable. Long before the advent of the internet, media theorist Marshall McLuhan coined the often-used term “global village”. But the days of the village have gone. Nowadays it is more appropriate to talk about the “urban globe”: the world population is growing at the same pace as that of the cities. In 2007, for the first time in history, more people lived in cities than in rural areas.
In terms of its population, the world is becoming bigger – and people are living closer together. The word ‘density’ is perhaps the most important keyword for understanding urbanism and its corollary: mobility. The two terms are closely interrelated. Traffic density, population density, density of development – all of these are increasing rapidly.
Thanks to modern transportation technology and logistics, today almost anyone can travel easily to almost any place on earth. Masses of people are on the move at any point in time and meet each other, in particular, at urban intersections: in railway stations and airports.
Today, mobility-related architecture is one of the most complicated building tasks there is. It has to combine the most diverse functions and coordinate a wide range of processes – and all that in a relatively small space and with maximum efficiency. Railway stations and airports link cities with each other and – with respect to their diversity and complexity, and even sometimes their dimension – are themselves comparable to cities. It is not enough to include aspects of security, safety, logistics, leisure, consumption, gastronomy, administration and technology in the design, to mention but a few.
Modern architecture or modernist architecture is a term applied to a group of styles of architecture which emerged in the first half of the 20th century and became dominant after World War II. It was based upon new technologies of construction.
Modern architecture emerged from revolutions in technology, engineering and building materials, and from a desire to break away from historical architectural styles and to invent something that was purely functional and new.
2A magazine and its vision for Europe Architecture Award is that a great European architectural project should take into consideration its roots and identity while at the same time use modern technologies, materials and designs in order to meet the dynamic needs of the contemporary era.