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Lebanese University Hadath Campus Faculty of Architecture & Fine Arts

Course: Theory of Architecture Dr. Rima El Hassan

High Tech Architecture

Definition Origins Aims Characteristics Famous Architects Examples

Done By: Ismail Bdeiry


I. Definition of High-Tech Architecture:

High-tech architecture, also known as Late Modernism or Structural Expressionism, is an architectural style that emerged in the 1970s, incorporating elements of high-tech industry and technology into building design. High-tech architecture appeared as a revamped modernism, an extension of those previous ideas aided by even more advances in technological achievements. This category serves as a bridge between modernism and post-modernism, however there remain gray areas as to where one category ends and the other begins. In the 1980s, high-tech architecture became more difficult to distinguish from post-modern architecture. Many of its themes and ideas were absorbed into the language of the post-modern architectural schools.

HSBC Hong-Kong Headquarters

II. Origins of High-Tech Architecture

High-tech architecture was, in some ways, a response to growing disillusionment with modern architecture. The realization of Le Corbusiers urban development plans led to cities with monotonous and standardized buildings. Enthusiasm for economic building led to extremely low-quality finishes, with subsequent degradation countering a nowwaning aesthetic novelty. High-tech architecture created a new aesthetic in contrast with standard modern architecture. Another aspect to the aims of high-tech architecture was that of a renewed belief in the power of technology to improve the world. This is especially evident in Kenzo Tangees plans for technically sophisticated buildings in Japan's post-war boom in the 1960s, but few of these plans actually became buildings. High-tech architecture aimed to achieve a new industrial aesthetic, spurred on by the renewed faith in the progression of technology.

John Hancock Center Chicago, US

III. Characteristics of High-Tech Architecture

Characteristics of high-tech architecture have varied somewhat, yet all have accentuated technical elements. They included the prominent display of the building's technical and functional components, and an orderly arrangement and use of pre-fabricated elements. Glass walls and steel frames were also immensely popular.

To boast technical features, they were externalized, often along with load-bearing structures. There can be no more illustrious example than Pompidou Centre. The ventilation ducts are all prominently shown on the outside. This was a radical design, as previous ventilation ducts would have been a component hidden on the inside of the building. The means of access to the building is also on the outside, with the large tube allowing visitors to enter the building.

Centre Pompidou Paris, France

IV. Famous Architects

William Pereira
Fazlur Khan Minoru Yamasaki Renzo Piano Richard Rogers Norman Foster

Examples of High Tech Buildings

ikov TV Tower - Prague

Lord's Media Centre - London

Torre Agbar, Barcelona