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How the Past Influences the Future in Architectural Design

Our design and construction firm is often asked how the designs of the past influence our current and future architectural designs. In truth, each building, no matter how old or how young, has a story to tell. Whether it survived being bombed or just served as a home where families grew up and loved ones formed memories, buildings are windows to our souls.

The mission of Neenan Archistruction®  is to craft the finest buildings that will soon stand to tell your stories. Our exceptionally talented team loves to help mold your vision into reality — and we do so with passion, grit, and determination. Below, we’ll take a look at how the past does influence the future in architectural design. Contact us today!

Understanding the Reasons Behind the Past Styles

There have been many different architectural design styles from the past that are very much utilized today. While much of this was cultural, innovation, ideas, and beauty all played a role.  While all of our tastes are slightly different, most of us can agree on common forms of beauty that we enjoy, which is why they are recycled into architectural design.

Understanding the Past's Influences

In the past, practicality ruled the roost. Buildings were designed for warmth, protection, and a place to sleep. Recreation and meaning of spaces were a luxury that could not be developed quite yet. However, the common theme of purpose does permeate every age. Buildings were designed and constructed to meet the immediate needs of the occupants, which still holds true today.

Understanding the Past's Cultural Beliefs

Culture can play and has played a big role in architectural design. For example, medieval cathedrals were driven by the idea that they had to be big in order to please God. Every medieval town tried to outdo every other one by building the biggest, most impressive cathedral dedicated to God’s greatness. Chinese architects used (and still do) the art of Feng Shui (the idea of creating balance in alignment with nature) to influence their architectural designs.

Understanding Technology's Impact

Remember in the past architects were limited by technology. Thousands of years ago, all that was available were simple hand tools, make-shift wheels, logs, and human power. Fast-forward to today where we now have heavy equipment to do most of the heavy lifting for us. This has allowed us to use heavier building materials, to build taller buildings, and to cut construction time considerably, allowing for more time for amazing new architecturally creative designs.

Understanding Inspiration

Inspiration is something intangible and unique to each individual architect. Inspiration often happens in a moment that causes a major shift in perspective and therefore design. While technology’s capabilities have obviously made possible what humans had previously envisioned, it still took that vision to even have the idea. The amazing thing about inspiration is that it can happen at any moment to any of us, changing the future forever.

Understanding Modern Budget Constraints

Budget constraints have always limited what humans can achieve, unless you are willing to do all the work yourself with no pay. That being said, budgets play a huge role in commercial, government, healthcare, and educational building projects as funds can be tight. Therefore, going with tried-and-true methods, simple designs, and even past designs that worked can be a default when money is constricted.


Neenan Archistruction® is a Fort Collins architecture design/build firm that specializes in healthcare, education, commercial, and government building design and construction. Our team has decades of combined experience that yields a beautiful building our clients can use for decades. Combining form, function, and beauty, while keeping the client in the loop at all times, is our Collaborative Design Process in action. To get started, reach out to us today!