Revival of the Industrial Revolution in Architecture

by Gillian Holl

The Industrial Revolution influenced mankind and industry in nearly every possible aspect. In architecture it inspired (and is continually inspiring) new daring and avant-garde outcomes. While the industrial design style was originally thought of as unattractive, a revival of this revolution is reshaping the future of design. But it didn’t happen overnight. We look at the road that brought us here.

A brief history…

Over the years historic moments, trends and leaps in technology influenced and evolved the way architects designed. These gave birth to structural style eras like the Greek, Roman, Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance periods, to highlight only a few. In the 1700s the revival of past eras became somewhat of a “thing”. Details borrowed from these eras were adapted using modern technologies, which in turn gave rise to styles such as Neo-Renaissance, Neo-Classical and Art Nouveau. The Industrial Revolution towards the end of the 1700s is perhaps one of the most important eras for the architectural industry as a whole. The use of steel, reinforced concrete and bricks revolutionized what could be done. Stronger, higher, longer and more durable buildings, railways and bridges became a possibility.

From ugly eyesores to iconic statement buildings

During the Industrial Revolution the manufacturing industry boomed. Factories popped up in cities fairly quickly with little thought given to their aesthetic appearance. The buildings were built for purpose alone. Large windows. Open ductwork. Rough and unfinished walls. Often considered as ugly eyesores. As technology developed factories needed to be even larger and moved outside cities instead. This left many abandoned warehouses and factories in prime locations. In the late 1960s people started looking at these open-plan buildings with their large windows, worn flooring and aged pipes with more appreciation for the “stories” they told. Artists started using these spaces as studios, residents made it their own and soon the repurposing of these old buildings in new creative ways caught the attention of glamour magazines. Industrial Chic was born.

Industrial residential architecture trends

 

  • Protagonist of walls: Walls normally play a leading role in interiors but in an industrial scene, walls should be the hero. Walls should be honest and bare, reflecting as much of the original form of the materials used as possible.
  • Bold statements: The great thing about industrial materials is that their imperfect, bold features complement and add contrast to many other styles of design. The combination of clean lines, polished surfaces and bold features is setting the pace for new residential builds. For example, in using various complementary floor textures, one can subtly divide an open-plan.
  • Exposed Services: Exposing elements such as pipes and other services is perhaps the most obvious industrial trend but it is also practical, cost-effective and aesthetically interesting.
  • Pop of colour: While the rustic colours of this revival is key, it is also about getting the contrast of materials right. Iron, wood, aluminium and recycled plastic all contribute toward the success of this trend. And by including a pop of colour where it matters most, well, the result speaks for itself!

 

The revival of the Industrial Revolution is not only influencing residential architecture, but also industrial buildings. Here Architects embark on a quest to design greener more sustainable warehouses and factories. The Marmelo Mill in Portugal designed by Ricardo Bak Gordon is an exciting example of this.

Looking ahead…

The first (steel), second (electricity) and third (IT) industrial revolutions each had a significant impact on Architecture and the way Architects work. The fourth industrial revolution is set to transform this field by leaps and bounds. Advances in technology and an improved interaction between the physical and digital worlds can help Architects streamline processes, encourage improved collaboration, and ultimately lead to improved decision-making. While Virtual Reality software in Architecture is just the beginning, it is exciting to think what the future may hold!

 

At Veld Architects, it is our motto to design bespoke, residential homes that resonate with our clients, nature and the Veld Lifestyle. Technology, sustainability and the innovative use of architectural design styles are continually driving us forward.

View our projects to see how the Industrial Revival is inspiring us.

Join the Veld Lifestyle!

Contact me: gillian@veldarchitects.co.za

 

xxx

Gill

Veld Architects’ Top Architecture Trends to Look Out for in 2020

by Gillian Holl

In architecture, blindly following trends would be counter-intuitive. There are so many variables that can (and should) affect the overall outcome of a design. At Veld Architects we realise that ideas become trends due to human appreciation and this is, of course, a voice we listen to sincerely. We, therefore, highlight our favourite architectural trends that resonate most with our core beliefs and what we are about.

Sustainable Architecture

The global wave towards building greener more eco-friendly buildings is something that is catching on in South Africa, thankfully. While we are still in infancy (compared to Europe) more architects are showing homeowners what can be done. Adaptive reuse of old buildings, proper insulation, rainwater collection, green roofs, building using recycled and/or local materials and conserving the natural environment of your build are all excellent examples of how sustainable architecture can influence the South African market, but they are only the beginning. We highlight some of our favourite trends globally.

Net Zero Homes

The European Commission will soon lay out its plans for a European Green Deal in order to get the EU to net-zero carbon emission-status by 2050. People renovating homes and buildings into Net Zero structures will be one of the flagships in the policy. A net-zero building is a building that creates the same amount of renewable energy on-site per annum as it uses during the same period. Imagine for a moment how successful a similar strategy (even on a small scale) could be in SA

Smart technology 

The road to net-zero homes is paved with smart technology like Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR). Energy modelling, for example, can indicate the best possible sites for green buildings. Technology can also help architects utilise natural energy (i.e.passive solar heating) more effectively and design more smartly in general.

Micro-Homes and modular living

Made popular by George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces, micro-homes and modular designs are popping up in urban areas across the world. This movement is as ideal for over-populated city centres as it is in the great outdoors. Smaller, sustainable builds could lower the building’s environmental impact if designed and built accordingly.

Adaptable Architecture

 

In line with the Bauhaus Principle where form follows function, we at Veld Architects are particularly fascinated by adaptable architecture. Modern society has drastically evolved from what was functional in the 70s and 80s. It is exciting to see this evolution affect the overall design of a home. Multi-functional, wall-less open-plan spaces are not only making it easier for rooms to flow into each other seamlessly but it also creates new, “border-less” potential for rooms. The use of dividers, glass curtains, and sliding/roll-up doors can also enhance the transition between inside and outside spaces.

Businesses are also benefiting from this trend because a smart open-plan office layout office encourages a collaborative working environment.

 Biophilic Architecture

For years we’ve been told “you are what you eat”. Based on biologist E.O. Wilson’s theory that humans have a genetic dependence on the natural world in order to be happy and healthy,  biophilia in a sense, suggest amending the statement to: “you are what your senses experience”.

 

Biophilic architecture looks at the health and wellness of home dwellers and uses architecture to bring humans closer to nature. Either physically, by building a home in the outdoors with an open balcony, terrace, patio and large windows overlooking the landscape, or alternatively, by bringing nature to a home with living walls, water features, ample natural lighting and ventilation.

 

Our bespoke Veld homes address current trends while allowing for the natural landscapes and South African context to inspire new ones.

Join the Veld Lifestyle!

Contact me: gillian@veldarchitects.co.za

 

xxx

Gill

An entertainer’s guide to designing the perfect home for social gatherings

by Gillian Holl

“When you have more than you need, build a longer table, not a higher fence.” – Unknown

At Veld Architects, before we design anything, it is important that we first learn what our clients value in life. A home should represent residents’ passions and allow them to do more of the things they love. From practicing hobbies and enjoying nature to hosting memorable gatherings for family and friends.


The summer holidays and the upcoming festive season in SA are synonymous with celebrations around the braai, pool and dining table. Entertainers usually live for anything from a casual get-together to a formal soiree, and an impromptu party is thrown without batting an eye. 

 

Depending on your unique style of entertaining, the following architectural tips can help you design a home where the party is at any time of the year:


Designing the perfect home for social gatherings
  1. Extended spaces

Open plan architectural layouts have been popular for decades. They make homes feel well ventilated with more natural light and connect the indoors and outdoors seamlessly. An entertainer’s home doesn’t need to be extravagant in size, but the clever use of flow in an open-plan layout can help guests move freely from each social zone, creating the illusion of space. An open-plan also helps guests gather in extended spaces surrounding social zones in a natural way.

  1. Adaptable architecture

Adaptable architecture is an entertainer’s saving grace. From fold-up doors that connect a kitchen and dining room with the patio (thereby creating an instant event hall) to rooms that literally double as something else i.e. a study that transforms into a guest bedroom. Opting for a larger hidden scullery with enough space to prepare meals is a convenient way to keep the actual kitchen clean and a part of the party.

  1. Taking the party outside

South Africans love to be outside, afterall we have the best weather for it. Creating outdoor social zones is therefore ideal. A patio, veranda, boma and swimming pool are excellent ways to make the most of the outdoors and host inspired gatherings. The addition of a covered patio and braai with roll-up doors allow you to host a braai in wind and rain.

Perfect homes for social gatherings inside & out
  1. Lighting

Lighting has a tremendous effect on setting the right mood. Social zones can be enhanced with effective overhead lighting in addition to making the best possible use of natural light. 

  1. Kids entertainment spaces

The most successful parties are those where the kids are properly entertained as well. Designing a home where there are designated areas where the kids can run around and play separately or adjacent to where the grown-ups are mingling, will work in your favour. The addition of a pajama lounge or playroom are great examples of this indoors.

What do you value in life?

Let’s talk about incorporating your ideals into the perfect family home.

 

Email me: gillian@veldarchitects.co.za 

 

Love,

Gill