What is the function of style today? Architect Farshid Moussavi argues that the impact of the internet and globalization on architectural practice since the 1990s has radically altered the process of design, and opened up a new way of thinking about buildings and style. 

If the 1970s were defined by postmodernism and the 1980s by deconstruction, how do we characterize the architecture of the 1990s to the present? Some built forms transmit effects of curvilinearity, others of crystalinity; some transmit multiplicity, others unity; some transmit cellularity, others openness; some transmit dematerialization, others weight. Does this diversity mean there is no shared style, but rather individual responses to the market, or is it a consequence of eclecticism? Perhaps the problem lies in our definition of “style” being too outdated to identify what underlies the diversity in contemporary architecture? 

Farshid Moussavi, architect, principal, Farshid Moussavi Architecture (FMA); professor, Practice of Architecture, Harvard University Graduate School of Design


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