Have you ever walked into a building and found yourself captivated by its architectural beauty? Today, remarkable architectural gems can be found in different parts of the world, from the pyramids of Giza in Egypt to the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. Each building and structure has features and styles that fall under a particular architectural style. 

If you’re considering a career in architecture or just curious to know different types of architecture in history, you’re on the right page! In this post, I’ll share 17 unique architectural styles worldwide. From classic and traditional architecture to modern and futuristic architectural styles, the list consists of distinct types of architecture design, features, and notable buildings. So, keep reading until the end and get inspiration for your next building project.

Let’s get started. 

1. Tudor Architecture

Tudor Architecture
Timeline1485-1603 (England)
Famous BuildingHampton Court Palace, England

Tudor architecture is one of the most well-known architectural styles. It originated in England during 1485, known as the Tudor period. This style has storybook cottages and an old-world charm. The main features of Tudor architecture are the half-timbered walls, decorative chimneys, leaded glass windows, asymmetrical plans, and steeply pitched roofs. These house styles have two-tone exteriors and red-toned brick windows or entryways that create fantastic contrasting looks, making them both appealing and inviting. 

2. Neoclassical Architecture

Neo-Classical Architecture
Timeline18th-early 19th centuries
Famous BuildingThe White House, Washington, D.C.

So, what is Neoclassical architecture? This basically refers to the structures built during the revival of Classical Greek and Roman architecture in the 18th and 19th centuries. This architectural style consists of elements like columns with Doric, Ionic, or Corinthian details, minimum decorations, and geometric garden landscapes. Moreover, Neoclassical architecture includes three types of buildings: Temple-style, Palladian, and Classical block. Most institutional and government buildings in Europe and the United States are constructed in this neoclassical style.

3. Cape Cod Architecture

Cape Cod Architecture
Timeline17th century – present (North America)
Famous BuildingOldest First Period House, Yarmouth, Massachusetts

You might have already read or heard about this architectural style once in your lifetime. Cape Cod architecture is the signature style of the Massachusetts coastal region. Houses built in this style have elements like simple rectangular shapes, low-pitched roofs, dormer windows, and oak and pine wood posts. There are also brick fireplaces, shingled exteriors, and wood flooring, creating a homey and effortless appeal. The second wave of this style is known as the Cape Cod Revival from the 1920s to the 1950s.

4. Modern Architecture

Modern Architecture
TimelineEarly 20th century – present
Famous BuildingFallingwater, Pennsylvania

If you see a structure with an open floor plan or layout and it has minimalistic patterns or lines and large glass windows, then it’s definitely one of the modern types of architecture. The modern architectural style has a design that emphasizes a minimalist and functional approach. This is why materials like steel, concrete, iron, glass, wood, brick, and stone are commonly used to construct such buildings. Today, you can see modern residential homes and the tallest skyscrapers built in the same spectacular style.

5. Greek Revival Architecture

Greek Revival Architecture
TimelineEarly 19th century
Famous BuildingUnited States Capitol Building, Washington, D.C.

Greece has always been in the spotlight for its incredible architecture and long history. One of the most popular types of architecture is Greek Revival architecture. It is highly inspired by the simplicity, symmetry, and proportion of the Greek temples built around the 5th century B.C. Buildings with an elegant and expensive marble look, bold or plain moldings, and gable-style roofing look so unique and eye-catching. Classic Greek architecture is mostly found in Greece, but the revival is spreading across the regions of Britain and the United States. 

6. Classical Architecture

Classical Architecture
Timeline8th century B.C. – 4th century A.D. (Ancient Greece and Rome)
Famous BuildingThe Parthenon, Athens, Greece

Classical architecture is an umbrella term used to describe structures constructed in Ancient Greece and Rome during the 8th century B.C. and 4th century A.D. The buildings in classic architecture focus on proportion, geometric shapes, columns, entablatures, friezes, and arches. Ancient Rome and Greek architectural structures are still some of the most reliable architectural designs on which modern buildings are built. Materials like marble, brick, and concrete are staples of the classic architectural style.

7. Victorian Architecture

Victorian Architecture
Timeline1837-1901 (England)
Famous BuildingThe Palace of Westminster, London

There is nothing like the Victorian architectural style, but the structures built between 1830 and 1910 during the reign of Queen Victoria. These types of architecture include other styles such as Gothic Revival, Queen Anne, Italianate, and Romanesque. It has characteristic features like asymmetrical plans, porches, bay windows, towers, and ornate gables. The interior has elements like grand staircases, high ceilings, intricately carved wood paneling, and decorative fireplaces.

8. Art Deco Architecture

Art Deco Architecture
Famous BuildingChrysler Building, New York City

Art Deco is a short-term architectural style that only remained between the 1920s to 1940s. It may be short, but the impact is tremendous in the world of architecture. So, what’s this style about? This is one of the types of architecture that features geometric shapes, bold colors, and streamlined forms. 

From fashion influencers to artists around the world, they admired the art of deco architecture. This style gives a sleek but minimal vibe, and these days, several architects and interior designers get inspiration from it to create sophisticated and elegant spaces.

9. Brutalist Architecture

Brutalist Architecture
TimelineMid-20th century
Famous BuildingBarbican Estate, London

Brutalist architecture is nothing but massive construction after the post-modernist movement or post-war. This style features large and tall concrete buildings with block layouts. As you can see in the above picture, these types of house architecture have simple graphic lines and a bulky appearance with an overall monochromatic palette.

These exposed concrete structures are bold and rough, with repetitive elements. They look fantastic from afar, but the lives of people living in these buildings are tough and challenging. This is why many people consider brutalist architecture with a utilitarian feel controversial.

10. Contemporary Architecture

Contemporary Architecture
TimelineLate 20th century – present
Famous BuildingBurj Khalifa, Dubai (opened in 2010)

Many people easily confuse modern and contemporary architecture and think they are the same. However, there is a notable difference. The contemporary architectural style consists of modern and sustainable elements and materials. It also features curved lines, unconventional volumes, asymmetry, and an open layout. Architects and designers create outstanding contemporary residential and commercial projects with the help of innovative and advanced technologies like laser-cutting technology and 3D printing.

11. Beaux-Arts Architecture

Beaux-Arts Architecture
TimelineLate 19th – early 20th centuries
Famous BuildingGrand Central Terminal, New York City

The Beaux- Art architecture is also known as Academic Classicism, American Renaissance, or Beaux- Arts Classicism. Let me tell you the interesting thing: it’s named after a famous school in Paris, the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. This architectural style is highly influenced by Roman and Greek classicism. There are also elements of French and Italian Renaissance and Baroque architecture. 

The Beaux-Art architectural style features symmetrical designs, elaborate ornamentation, and grandiose scale. Also, materials like marble are used to give it a luxurious feel. Some prominent buildings in this architectural style are the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., Grand Central Terminal, and the New York Public Library’s main branch in NYC.

12. Italiante Architecture

Italiante Architecture
TimelineMid-19th century
Famous BuildingA.I.M. Schindler House, Los Angeles

If you see a two-story residential property with towers and cupolas, there is a high chance that it is built in an Italianate architectural style. This architecture gained popularity due to its various construction techniques. It is also heavily inspired by the royal brick farmhouses in the northern Italian regions. 

The other characteristics of these types of house architecture styles include a symmetrical facade, bracketed eaves, arched windows, and terra-cotta ornamentation. If you want to see examples of Italianate architecture in the U.S., look at the rural models and formal Renaissance townhouses.

13. Industrial Architecture

Industrial Architecture
Timeline18th century – present
Famous BuildingThe Crystal Palace, London (demolished 1936)

Industrial architecture encompasses a range of building types and styles. This makes them more functional and keeps the overall design unique. So, if you ask any architect or interior designer to explain the industrial architecture style, they will describe it as using new and sustainable materials like metal, iron, and concrete. 

The key characteristics are the open space, large glass windows, and rough structural details. If you want to implement industrial architecture in your existing building, you can try exposed brickwork, large metal-grid windows, and a concrete facade.

14. Futuristic Architecture

Futuristic Architecture
TimelineNot a specific historical period, but a vision of future possibilities.
Famous BuildingTurning Torso, Malmö, Sweden (considered a prominent example)

These days, one of the emerging architectural styles is futuristic architecture. From Opus in Dubai to Nanjing Zendai Himalayas Center in China, futurism has slowly taken over urban regions across the globe. Futurism, or futuristic architecture, was first started in Italy by the Italian poet Flippo Tommaso Marinetti in the 1900s. 

The buildings in this style express the past, present, and future in a subtle or bold way. Some buildings have striking and avant-garde designs, while others have mixed modern and industrial styles exteriors. 

15. Colonial Architecture

Colonial Architecture
Timeline17th-18th centuries (North America)
Famous BuildingPlimoth Plantation, Massachusetts (recreation of a 17th-century village)

One of the most popular types of architecture is colonial architecture. This style is a hybrid consisting of elements from the country of origin that are incorporated with the design characteristics of the settled country. 

If you check any classical American colonial house, you will surely notice these three things: simple designs, symmetric looks, and rectangular shapes. Another prominent feature is the staircase, which is typically made from wood.

16. Medieval Architecture

Medieval Architecture
Timeline 5th-15th centuries (Europe)
Famous BuildingNotre Dame Cathedral, Paris

Let’s move on to the next architectural style: medieval architecture! This architectural style is basically influenced by Roman architecture. This is why most medieval structures are built with sacred and spiritual parts.

This style consists of several remarkable elements, from bright, colorful glass windows in cathedrals to intricate designs and details in the interiors. So, medieval architecture and buildings were mainly constructed to increase awareness of churches and Christianity around the world. 

17. Vernacular Architecture

Vernacular Architecture
TimelineVaried, depending on the region
Famous BuildingsTraditional houses

The vernacular architecture is defined by using local and regional elements and materials, and its design also supports functionality over aesthetics. This architectural style has no special characteristics; it varies depending on the location. It may have specific geographic features and cultural aspects based on its surroundings.


What is the difference between classical and neoclassical architecture?

Classical architecture originated in Ancient Greece and Rome and focuses on symmetry, order, and proportion. On the other hand, Neoclassical architecture draws inspiration from classical styles but in a different manner. It features columns, pediments, and domes.

What defines the characteristics of sustainable architecture?

Sustainable architecture is all about minimizing the environmental impact of buildings. This is why energy-efficient materials and renewable energy sources increase sustainability.

What are the main differences between modern and contemporary architecture?

While both focus on functionality and clean lines, modern architecture prioritizes open floor plans and integration with nature, while contemporary architecture consists of sustainable elements and the latest trends.

Final Thoughts

That is it! These are some popular types of architecture from history and the present. Whether you’re an architect curious to know about various architectural styles or looking for inspiration for your next building project, this blog will surely help you. Apart from classic and traditional architecture, there are other modern styles like brutalism, futuristic, and contemporary architecture. Now that you’re familiar with all these unique architecture types, the next time you visit any building, you’ll immediately know what type of architecture it is. 

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