Everything Old Is New Again

When I began organizing this edition of Luxury Home Builder, the focus was on contemporary architecture.

June 01, 2001

When I began organizing this edition of Luxury Home Builder, the focus was on contemporary architecture. If you’ve already read through this edition, that might not be readily apparent to you because of the showcase of traditional design principles, Old World aesthetics and authentic historical details. While that might not sound like contemporary architecture, it certainly describes contemporary architectural trends.

Take a close look at the projects featured in the Tour section of this magazine. You’ll notice three traditional designs with very modern adaptations and one quite contemporary design that employs traditional philosophies. Today’s luxury home buyers seem to be searching for a connection to the past while leading a very modern and high-tech lifestyle. Whole-house automation, elaborate home theaters and state-of-the art mechanicals have become the norm in almost every high-end home, but buyers want these features to blend seamlessly into the background while design and architecture take the forefront.

That pretty much sums up a large portion of today’s housing market — buyers want convenient, timesaving technological features in a home that brings them back to the good old days. Providing this type of package might sound daunting to some architects and builders; they might think, “How in the world can I make all of these seemingly incongruous elements fit in one home?”

Michael Marx designed the modern timber-frame home featured on page 18 of this magazine, and he welcomed the challenge of blending modern technological features and updates into a traditional design. “The more difficult the project and the more restraints that you have to deal with, the more creative you have to be in coming up with solutions that are still beautiful and economical,” says Marx.

Therein lies my point. While blending old and new might seem tedious to builders or architects who crave to stretch their creative wings and bring something new to the housing industry, that is exactly what they are doing. Conversely, some architectural purists might think that incorporating new aspects dilutes the beauty and integrity of established design principles, but it doesn’t have to. By staying at the forefront of the technological future and successfully incorporating it into the best of the world’s architectural past, you are establishing your own unique mark on the time line of architecture. You are improving upon what has been done and setting the table for future generations to do the same. This is your contemporary architecture.

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