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New Architecture Trends on Instagram (2023)

Updated: Feb 25

architecture design trends on instagram
New architecture trends on instagram 2023

It is one of the biggest questions in Architecture.

How do I get more likes on Instagram?

No, I'm kidding, what Architects really want to know is why do building styles change. And what is coming next? It might sound obvious because we are so used to the idea that different places or times have their own distinct architectural style. But why does that happen, why didn't we stop at Georgian Neo classical and just keep making buildings like this?

peter lyden on instagram, example of Georgian house
Georgian architecture on instagram

The two standard reasons, that I learned in Architecture School were;

  1. New building methods and materials make different structures possible.

  2. Society changes over time, creating new requirements for different buildings.

It's easy to understand how new materials might create new possibilities but social change, that’s a tricky one to explain. What I will say, is that thanks to social media like Instagram, both architects and clients are exposed to far more new ideas than they ever were in the past. The sheer volume of images from different buildings available on the insta must dwarf anything that could have been available in print or TV just a generation ago, never mind in the distant past.

I've been a self-employed architect in the UK since 2009 and I specialise in altering and extending private homes. I've been lucky to have clients who are wealthy and sophisticated. Most of them use Instagram and Ive started taking more interest in the insta myself recently. Ive even got a Real Life Architect account

In the back of my mind, I've often wondered what would happen if the kind of buildings I design went out of fashion. Instagram has been a great source of inspiration to help me stay current but it also helps me explain new ideas to clients by showing them similar work done by other Architects. Over the past few months, I've noticed six Architecture trends on Instagram that might be coming to a new home near you. I'm going to show you each of these and explain why I think they are relevant in 2023. These are;

  1. Exposed roof beams

  2. Elevations with depth

  3. Screens

  4. Matching wall and roof cladding

  5. Interior wall panels

I should also say that none of the following images are mine, I will show the Instagram account with each image. And Hopefully, I won't get a copyright strike.

A lot of what I am going to show you in this post represents a move away from minimalism, towards more expressive and complex designs, with multiple materials and exposed structural features, as well as using elements of the building to layer space and create drama. Let me know what you think about this in the comments.

Let's start with exposed roof beams. I have several projects under construction where the rafters, or roof beams are exposed inside the building. I'm not doing this for stylistic reasons, and I'm sure these other architects aren’t either. Exposed roof beams are becoming more common in construction projects due to the shift towards warm roofs, where the insulation is entirely above the roof beams. This approach is replacing cold or ventilated roofs, which require insulation to be installed between the beams.

Loader Monteith Architects instagram, showing exposed roof beams
Exposed roof beam or rafters are a new architecture trend

By placing the insulation on top of the beams, the space feels taller, and the insulation is more effective. Architects in the UK are using Douglas fir beams in their projects because it is readily available and of high quality. Douglas fir timber is known for its strength and durability, making it an excellent choice for roof beams. Plus, high-quality timber, with fewer knots, is available at a reasonable price. As construction practices continue to evolve towards better insulation, it is likely that we will see more exposed roof beams in buildings. Timber is also experiencing a resurgence in popularity as an architectural material.

Matthew McCormick instagram, showing exposed beams
Exposed roof beams in a house

It's a sustainable and renewable resource that can be used in a variety of applications. You’ll see what I mean as we go on.

Next up we have elevations with depth. What I mean by this is a move away from flat, bland exteriors in favor of more dynamic and three-dimensional facades. This approach involves adding contours and features to the building's external appearance to create a sense of volume and visual interest.

Niall McLaughlin instagram, showing an elevation with depth
Brick elevation designed with depth

The use of depth in architecture is not a new concept, it has been used for centuries in buildings such as gothic cathedrals, where the intricate detailing and ornamental carvings on facades created texture and added interest. However, the recent trend towards elevations with depth involves the application of this principle in a modern context. Architects such as Níall McLaughlan are at the forefront of this trend. He incorporates depth into his designs in various ways. His buildings never seem to have flat exterior wall.

Niall McLaughlin instagram, an elevation with depth
brick and timber cladding elevation by Niall McLaughlin

The use of depth in elevations creates a more engaging and dynamic appearance, breaking up the monotony of flat surfaces and adding visual interest to the buildings' elevation. It can also create opportunities for shading and ventilation, contributing to the building's energy efficiency and sustainability. I think we are going to see a lot more of this, as Architects, and the general public, move away from minimalism. People want buildings with character, and depth is a great way to provide that.

Screens, these began showing up on my Instagram feed recently, and there seem to be a lot of them.

We Are Home Notes instagram, example of an architectural screen
A screen at high level on this house extension

One of the primary uses of screens is to provide shading from the sun, helping to reduce the amount of solar heat gain in a building and improve its energy efficiency. Screens can also be used for privacy, to partition spaces, or to add an element of visual interest to an otherwise plain building.

Architectural screen on instagram
An architectural screen in-front of a window

Screens can be constructed from a wide range of materials, including metal, wood, stone and glass. They can be designed as open screens, allowing airflow and natural light to pass through, or as solid screens that provide more complete shading and privacy.

Design Studio Mag instagram, showing an architectural screen
timber screen inside a house

In addition to their functional benefits, screens can also contribute to the aesthetic quality of a building. Screens can be used to create visual depth and texture on the elevation, breaking up large expanses of flat surfaces and adding a sense of rhythm and movement to the building's appearance.

Konishi Gaffney instagram, showing an elevation screen
a timber clad elevation scree, with depth

As we go on you will see these trends often occur together.

The next emerging architecture trend I've noticed on Instagram is matching the Cladding on the roof with the external walls.

Russwood instagram, showing the same timber cladding on the roof and on the walls
timber cladding on the roof and walls of a house

Matching the cladding on the roof with the external walls offers practical and aesthetic benefits. Using the same material for both the exterior walls and the roof can help create a sense of unity and cohesion in the building's design, while also simplifying the construction process by allowing for a single trade to install all the cladding.

Tiny House Attractive instagram, showing metal cladding on walls and roof
metal cladding (possible copper) on the walls and roof

Doing this with metal cladding, like zinc, is not that uncommon but using timber cladding on a roof is a relatively new feature. Given that a traditional slate or tile roof is a form of rain screen, just like timber cladding, I don’t see any technical issues with this, you can even design in a concealed gutter under the boards and this will give the roof edge a slick, clean visual appearance.

Mary Arnold Foster instagram, timber clad roof and walls
timber cladding on the roof and on the walls

Using the same cladding on the roof will give a building a strong aesthetic appearance but I don't think it should be used on anything larger than a house, otherwise the effect will be overwhelming. Overall, matching the cladding on the roof with the external walls is a trend that offers both practical and aesthetic benefits, and its popularity is likely to continue. I haven’t tried this one myself but I am open to the idea.

And the last Instagram architecture trend I've come across recently are Wall Panels.

instagram, example of wall panels made from timber
timber panels on the wall of this house

These offer a versatile and customizable way to add texture and visual interest to the walls of a building. Wall panels can be made from a wide range of materials, including wood, metal, stone, glass, and even fabric, and can be used to create both subtle accents and dramatic feature walls.

instagram, example of timber wall panels
fluted timber wall panels inside this window

Wall panels can be used to highlight specific architectural elements, such as stairs or windows, drawing attention to these features and creating a cohesive visual design throughout the building. They can also be used to create unique and personalized interior spaces, such as feature walls in bedrooms or bathrooms. It is possible to overdo it though, this place looks hideous.

instagram, example of wall panels to avoid
wavy wall panels, don't do this!!!

But, on balance, I really like the idea of wall panels and I will be suggesting it to my clients because, frankly, I am getting sick of plasterboard or drywall, as its known in America. Its the lazy option and it can be a bit tedious.

As architects continue to explore new ways to move away from minimalism, the use of wall panels in architecture and interior design is likely to remain a popular trend. If you know of any new or innovative construction materials or methods I should be investigating, let me know if the comments and I will take a look.


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