History of Architecture
From the 21st century onwards different Architectural styles developed and impacted the structures on planets and cities. Due to living circumstances, economy and historical events those styles appeared and vanished in different periods or phases and on different planets - some lasted for centuries, others disappeared in only a few years, while others are specifically unique to be only on one planet. Together with Humanity's expansion, this created different looks and feels for colonized planets that now can host a number of styles depending on the duration of the settlement and the impact of historical events on the planet.
Predominant Style: Post-Postmodern, Sustainable Architecture, Permaculture
From present day forward, the popular trend in architecture shifted towards green and 3Dprinted structures.
As the population of the planet continued to increase more of an emphasis was placed on efficiency and sustainability in the design/construction of new buildings. Around the middle of the century, there were serious concerns about the threat of overpopulation. Every country had their own theories on how to combat the problem, which led to a rise of eugenics, water wars and even some attempts at ethnic cleansing.
Organic food became scarce and synthetics became the only viable source of mass produced foodstuffs to handle the population. Even so, the megacities still were teeming with people. Even the richtest and most powerful people on the planet couldn’t hoard the most valuable resource of the late 21st century: space. And not the cosmic kind.
This pressure was allayed slightly when RSI’s Quantum Core Engine was unveiled in 2075. The mere possibility that space travel was closer to our grasp offered a ray of hope that maybe the prospect of planetary exploration was not far behind.
Predominant Style: Ulta-Modern High-Tech
Sub-movement: Colonial Style (Late Century)
Crossing into the 22nd century, even though Earth was beyond capacity with its population, there was a focus now, a sense of purpose to push into the stars. The puplic’s renewed fascination with the stars began to manifest itself in forward thinking (i.e. futuristic) design. These buildings typically had a lot of glass/plexi, unique shapes and visible supports, anything that could showcase Human ingenuity and evoke a “The future is Now” feeling.
This push also helped lead to a series of breakthroughs, each served to ignite and invigorate Humanity more: development of terraforming technology in 2113, subsequent test tragedy and successful terraforming of Mars and the first commercially available starship.
But Mars – that was the achievement that saved us. People flooded off the Earth like a relief valve had been turned. The need for ultra-dense urban planning started to diminish so the regulations were relaxed. After time, the vast tower blocks simply weren’t needed anymore and most were demolished.
Because of the fascination with Mars, colonial style became the fad in architecture. Houses were designed to resemble the more utilitarian/functionality based modular structures on Mars.
Predominant Style: Ultra-Modern Deconstructivism
Sub-movements: Chrysalistic Aesthetics (2230 – 2237), RetroPrimitive Movement (2272 – 2285)
The transition into the 23rd century was much nicer than the 22nd. The populations on Earth and Mars equalized a bit and people were able to settle nicely into their respective homes. Space was still at a premium, but Humanity was forgetting the coffin apartments of old, escpecially since more people were able to travel through actual space. Thanks to this, the taste shifted away from the modular and functional dictums of Colonial style and swayed towards aesthetics and chaos.
Seen mostly in the major cities around Earth Deconstructivism attempted to defy the rigid antiquated notions of form and structure. Visually the movement experimented with distorted geometry, sweeping curves and molded metal.
The construction of the Artemis gave way to a fringe movement known as Chrysalistic Aesthetics. The movement’s creator, Gaston Boone, was infatuated with the notion of colony ships and the metaphor for cocoons it represented. He began to design buildings with a confined biomechanical edge to them. The movement only lasted for a few years, even aesthetics can stand being crammed into their house for so long before a commitment to aesthetics yields to basic comfort.
Nick Croshaw’s discovery of the first jump point in 2271 changed the direction of Humanity. Not only have we reached our first alien solar system, but there were worlds there to develop. Not everyone was [….] (RetroPrimitive Movement) was an architectural/lifestyle movement that longed for “Earthbound simplicity”, eschewing metals and polymers for mud and synthetic wood. Some adopted its humble aspirations, but unfortunately the movement gave birth to violent activist group called ReBIRTH who actively promoted armed revolution and decried the expansion into Croshaw as ‘the first hit of the drug of imperialism.’
Predominant Style: Ultra Modern Internationalism/Globalism
Sub-movements: Asharianism (2336 – Present)
Terraforming in Croshaw was underway when another system named Rhetor was discovered. While the puplic’s eye was turned towards a yet another brand new star system to inhabit, aesthetic development of structure was experiencing a period of ‘writer’s block’ or what architectural journalist Peter Borne called “The Dark Age of the Eye”. Buildings fell back into a very familiar form of International Modernism. Built for volume with clean lines and an almost sterile lack of ornamentation, to many it felt like a retread of a forgotten age, the return of bland government buildings. Little did they know how right they would be. In 2380, in response to a flurry of new jump point discoveries, the governments of Earth came together to form the United Naitons of Earth. The public’s attention was firmly captured by the thought of expansion, not architecture.
Despite this perceived artistic stagnation, one unique and interesting movement started on Mars. Architectural engineer CJ Ashari wrote a treatise for the Martian Urban Planning Committee entitled “Space and the need for GeoDesign”. Less a design approach and more of an overall approach to urban planning of at a planetary scale, she described the unique opportunity Humanity is in and the decision to […] of Earth. She outlined a system to access construction on newly terraformed planets not for tomorrow, but with centuries, even millennia in mind. She stressed that only through strict calculation and assessment of planets, could they create harmonic environments, rather than the “always be buiding” approach used by Earth. Rejected by many due to its very rigid approach to geoplanning Asharianism (as it came to be known) found a resurgence when it was cited as one of the guiding principles on Terra.
Predominant Style: Colonial Style (reappearance), Banu Hybridism
Sub-Movements: ExoGothic (2419 – 2496)
At this rate of Human Expansion, the demand for buildings outweighed everything, but functionality. In that regard, there was a system wide resurgence of Colonial-style aesthetics. Some even revisited the modular design systems from the initial Mars and Croshaw colonies.
The only system that did seem to heavily lean on aesthetics as a criteria was the planet Selene in Vega. A small collective of architects created a new movement entitled ExoGothic that seemed to fly in the face of the space conscious or the modular. They built massively beautiful buildings intended to exalt Humanity’s accomplishments of the past and present. Some found it to be a refreshing change, while others found it garish and wasteful.
Then Humanity got a shock. The discovery of the Banu Protectorate was like a lightning bolt through the systems. Many felt that with our expansion, it was only a matter of time, but no one was prepared for it to actually happen. Particularly with a species at roughly an equivalent technological level.
Once the treaty was signed and we began to learn about the Banu, they became all the rage. Fueled by the fact that the Banu loved nothing more than off-loading a bunch of their building supplies and designs at a premium, elements of Banu architecture began to spring up in most of the major cities around the systems, specifically the wild colour choices and mixed material building style.
CIG internal wiki - Banu Style Guide
Predominant Style: Hennowism, MetaClassicism
Sub-Movement: Asharianism (Terra)
The Era of Rapid Expansion is in full swing, peaking with the discovery of Terra system in 2516. Without the need to terraform the planet of Terra, the UNE can simply move right in. In a controversial move the planetary commission decides to follow CJ Ashari's approach for its geoplanning of Terra. It’s the first time that a planet is designed from the macro to the micro and with a set plan/schedule for future development.
Due to the awkward introduction to the Xi’an Empire in 2530, their culture doesn’t have the immediate impact on Humanity that the Banu had. There is much to admire about the meticulous craft in which the Xi’An design their buildings, but the tensions were high enough that it was an intellenctual appreciation not one that’s built on. There wasn’t time to dwell on that though. Humanity was about to have bigger issues.
The discovery of the Tevarin quickly led to the open salvos of the Tevarin War. Between the Live War on one front and the Cold War on the other, most supplies were routed towards the military use. As such, a new style called Hennowism arose with an emphasis on prefabrication coupled with the capacity for defensive or fortification became very popular in many of the new structures.
When Messer seized power in the middle of the century, he kept the bulk of the ressources dedicated to the military, so the people were forced to build with repurposed or recycled materials. Meanwhile, Messer wanted to create a unified look for his government. He tore down many of the buildings of old and replaced them with new buildings intended to embody the power of the Empire he had created, which became known as MetaClassicism.
Predominant Style: Monumentalism/Exaltation
The Second Tevarin War ushered in the 27th century and cemented the freshly-minted imperator Messer III’s power base (note: Messer list has changed by now). Terrified of losing his power, Messer III conceived of a fiendishly brilliant way to ‘rebrand’ his Empire: he put the people he was oppressing front and center. He specifically targeted any and all of the ExoGothic buildings to be destroyed and redesigned. If the People were going to be exalted, it was going to be through the careful lens of Messer III. Buildings throughout the Empire were built (or conformed) to inspire awe and raise the spirit, for example every city had a Speaking Square to celebrate the ideas of the people (even though any controversial or critical voices were quickly dispatched). It was the ultimate architectural illusion, doing everything short of making the people complicit in their own subjugation.
Architecture_totalitaire (French Wikipedia)
Predominant Style: Meta-Baroque
Sub-Movement: Revolutionary Art
A petty and cruel despot, the young Messer XIII felt that the government’s duty was to remind the populace that they were in charge, not exalt them (even if it was a lie). To that end, Messer XIII ordered a complete restructuring of government buildings. Classified later as Meta-Baroque, he wanted people to feel small and insignificant inside Imperial buildings. He created a list of design specs that residential and commercial housing had to adhere to. The specifications eschewed comfort for Spartan living. This created entire megacities of bland, standardized government sanctioned buildings.
Although, in retrospect, an undercurrent of revolution began to surge as the century progressed, becoming particularly noticeable after the execution of Anthony Tanaka in 2757. This drab landscape provided a perfect canvas, as a simple splash of colour could shine as a revolutionary act. That helped lay the groundwork for Senator Akari of Terra’s daring peace accord with the Xi’An.
Predominant Style: UltraDeco, Organic Architecture
Sub-Movement: Xi’an Fusion
The downfall of the Messer Era breathed new life into the people, sparking a Cultural Renaissance as people explored all the things that had previously been denied them. Architecturally, buildings embraced beauty and technology again, a post mortem defiance of the bland specifications which had oppressed them before. There were two movements that captured this public need: UltraDeco and Organic Architecture.
The UltraDeco spoke to the vibrant future that Humanity wanted to focus in order to avoid reflecting on the past, while the Organic Architecture was an attempt to push the envelope on what could be done.
On Terra, they were even experimenting with incorporating Xi’an designs into their buildings, resulting in some massive skyscrapers that have been key players in the iconic skyline of Prime.
Image reference: Concept Art - Tal (Xi’an System)
CIG internal wiki - Xi’an Style Guide
Predominant Style: MetaBauhaus (Super-Modernism)
With construction of the Synthworld underway, the Empire’s finances stop going into construction of new buildings. In the private sector however, there is a massive shift towards a modernist aesthetic for buildings. Many feel that it captures the best qualities of Human design without being ostentatious about it.
In the mid-2930’s, a collective of budding architects calling themselves K8 began creating some truly exciting structures utilizing Biomimicry, believing that the buildings we inhabit should take their design cues from patterns and structure in nature. Several of their buildings exist in New Corvo, Aremis, Vega. There is still debate among the architectural community as to the cost-effectiveness of these types of structures, but the public seems to be enamoured with them.