High-Tech (1970s-Today)

HighTech, also called Structural Expressionism, is  an architectural style developed during the 1970s, mainly based on new construction technology. The technologic elements of the building are displayed and highlighted and become its aesthetic expression.

Channel 4 headquarters, Horseferry Road, London, in 1996
Channel 4 headquarters, Horseferry Road, London, in 1996

Image source: https://www.architecture.com/Explore/ArchitecturalStyles/HighTech.aspx



  • Use of pre-fabricated elements.
  • Glass walls and steel frames were also immensely popular.
  • 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.
  • Design is functionally orientated.

Info source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-tech_architecture


High Tech Architects

Norman Foster, in full Lord Norman Foster of Thames Bank, original name in full Norman Robert Foster (born in 1935) is prominent British architect known for his sleek, modern buildings made of steel and glass.

HSBC Building (Hong Kong)
HSBC Building (Hong Kong)

Foster’s first buildings to receive international acclaim were the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts (1974–78) in Norwich, England, a vast, airy glass-and-metal-paneled shed, and the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation headquarters (1979–86) in Hong Kong, a futuristic steel-and-glass office building with a stepped profile. Balancing out this high-tech character, many of Foster’s buildings, including his Hong Kong office and the Commerzbank Tower (1991–97) in Frankfurt am Main, Germany, utilized green spaces, or mini-atria, that were designed to allow a maximum amount of natural light into the offices. In this way, Foster created a more fluid relationship between inside and outside spaces and strove to impart a sense of humanity into an otherwise futuristic office environment.

He rebuilt the Reichstag (1992–99) in Berlin after the reunification of Germany, adding a new steel-and-glass dome that surrounds a spiral observation platform, and he encased the court of the British Museum (1994–2000) in London under a steel-and-glass roof, creating an enclosed urban square within this famous museum building. His noteworthy buildings of the 21st century include the courtyard enclosure for the Smithsonian Institution’s Patent Office Building (2004–07) in Washington, D.C., Terminal 3 of the Beijing Capital International Airport (2003–08), and London’s City Hall (1999–2002).

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HSBC_Building_(Hong_Kong)

Info source: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Lord-Norman-Foster

Richard George Rogers, Baron Rogers of Riverside (born 23 July 1933) is a British architect noted for his modernist and functionalist designs in high-tech architecture.

Rogers is perhaps best known for his work on the Pompidou Centre in Paris, the Lloyd’s building and Millennium Dome both in London, the Senedd in Cardiff, and the European Court of Human Rights building in Strasbourg.

Centre Georges Pompidou is a complex building in the Beaubourg, area of Paris. It was designed in the style of high-tech architecture by the architectural team of Richard Rogers and Renzo Piano, along with Gianfranco Franchini. It is named after Georges Pompidou, the President of France from 1969 to 1974 who commissioned the building.

Initially, all of the functional structural elements of the building were colour-coded: green pipes are plumbing, blue ducts are for climate control, electrical wires are encased in yellow, and circulation elements and devices for safety (e.g., fire extinguishers) are red.

Pompidou Centre, Paris
Pompidou Centre, Paris

Image source: https://www.britannica.com/topic/Pompidou-Centre

Info source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Centre_Georges_Pompidou#Architecture


Renzo Piano, (born in 1937) is an Italian architect best known for his high-tech public spaces. Piano’s interest in technology and modern solutions to architectural problems was evident in all his designs, although he increasingly took greater account of the structure’s context. His design for the Menil Collection museum (1982–86; with Richard Fitzgerald) in Houston, Texas, utilized ferroconcrete leaves in the roof, which served as both a heat source and a form of protection against ultraviolet light. At the same time, the building’s low scale and continuous veranda are in keeping with the mostly residential structures nearby. His other important commissions include San Nicola Soccer Stadium (1987–90) in Bari, Italy; the Kansai International Airport Terminal (1988–94) in Ōsaka, Japan; the Auditorium Parco della Musica (1994–2002) in Rome; and the Beyeler Foundation Museum (1992–97) in Basel, Switzerland. One of his most-celebrated 21st-century projects, notable for its green architecture, was a new building for the California Academy of Sciences (completed 2008) in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park.

Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome; designed by Renzo Piano
Auditorium Parco della Musica, Rome; designed by Renzo Piano

Info and image source: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Renzo-Piano

High tech Furniture

  • Constructional knots, fasteners, all kinds of joints and rivets, and an abundance of glass and metal details became the elements of the decor in the interior, where most of the engineering equipment is opened. Industrial building constructions, metal frames, and technical communications are common for the high-tech style.
  • Metal, glass, plastic, natural and artificial stones are used as the finishing materials.
  • Natural stones, ceramic tiles or carpets are the most appropriate materials for the floor coverings.
  • Functionality, usability, practicality, lightness of constructions, simplicity, and clarity of forms. The furniture must be limited. Also, the furniture on wheels or furniture-transformer could be a very useful detail of the interior.
  • The light is one of the most important components of High-tech.


Info and image source: http://bestdesignideas.com/the-high-tech-style

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