Change is inevitable, and no change happens in isolation. Throughout history, architecture and design have been used as a tool for implementation, helping solve a variety of problems associated with revolution. From civic, to religious, to military and finally to landscape, architecture traces the changes of our society, creating a story for all to observe and celebrate.
Every period of change can be considered a shift in identity, eventually becoming a reflection of what was important to people during that specific period. Consider the modernist architecture style of Mies van der Rohe who originated the phrase “Less is More,” versus that of Robert Venturi who flipped the motto to “Less is Bore.” These phrases are mere poetries written by designers to inspire wonder. I grew up in a very old city, Kathmandu in Nepal to be precise. Kathmandu is a city filled with brick architecture embellished with intricately carved wood and stone monuments. The city has gone through many cycles of less is more; and still, it is not sparse. The introduction of reinforced concrete in the traditional system of brick, wood, and stone brought a newness that still influences the city today.
Though continents apart, Austin is no different. The clean lines of modern architecture have taken hold in the ever-prevalent stone-based, hill country style of Central Texas. In general, I have noticed that Austin is open to experimenting with design and creating a sense of uniqueness, which contributes to an assortment of different styles and trends throughout the area.
I have worked many on projects across the Greater Austin area, seeing firsthand the various styles that are preferred in different parts of the city. From north and west Austin with their distinct hill country/Tuscan style, to central Austin and its modern contemporary approach, and finally to south Austin and its Bohemian, yet modern aesthetic. While the north seems to embrace design styles that are textured and earthy, the south splashes itself with a cleaner look that is eclectic and full of color. These design styles are distinctive in and of themselves yet still feel interconnected by Austin’s spirit, coming together to provide further support for the “Keep Austin Weird” moniker.