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Top 10 Ages of Architecture

Architecture has existed since the recognition of civilization. Like fashion, the architecture of today wouldn’t be what it is if we didn’t get inspiration from the architectural past. Stone Age influenced the Egyptian, Egypt influenced the Greeks, Greeks influenced the Romans, and Romans influenced the timeless elements of today’s architecture. Below is a list of architectural periods that are the foundations of our present-day structures. Enjoy!


Neolithic Architecture
9500 B.C.


Also known as The New Stone Age, dated beginning about 9500 BC in the Middle East, it was a period of the progress of the human technology. Pottery was first introduced in this age, as well as the development of tools for hunting, building and cooking. The neolithic peoples in the Levant, Anatolia, Syria, northern Mesopotamia and Central Asia were great builders, utilizing mud-brick to construct houses and villages. Houses were plastered and painted with elaborate scenes of humans and animals. The Mediterranean neolithic cultures of Malta worshiped in megalithic temples. In Europe, long houses built from wattle and daub were constructed. Elaborate tombs for the dead were also built. These tombs are particularly numerous in Ireland, where there are many thousand still in existence. Neolithic people in the British Isles built long barrows and chamber tombs for their dead and causewayed camps, henges flint mines and cursus monuments. This period shows the start of human civilizations, spiritual beliefs, and the human ambition to make life easier.


Ancient Mediterranean
3000 B.C – 300(?) B.C.


This period covers the Ancient Civilizations of Mesopotamia, Ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and The Byzantine Empire around the time from 3000 B.C. up to 300 B.C. The ancient Mediterranean civilization, from ancient times to the beginning of the Middle Ages, is a result of significant historical events, and it is one of the most notable empires which gave a progressive influence to the growth of human cultures. The mild and healthful climate, and the inheritance of important civilizations of Mesopotamia, India and China, the facile communication by maritime routes, as well as the invention of writing, supporting columns, doors, windows, arches, sculpture, painting, engineering, the alphabet, agriculture, metal works, and logistics was born in this era. The Ancient Mediterranean civilization was a result of the continuous process of advancement, enhanced by the inheritance from previous civilizations, by easy maritime communication, and by the exchange of ideas through migration and colonization.


Islamic Architecture
600 A.D.- 1700s


Dating from around 600 A.D. to around the late 1700s, Islamic architecture comprises a wide range of both secular and religious styles from the foundation of Islam to the present day, influencing the design and construction of buildings and structures in Islamic culture. It composes the Influences of Moorish, Abbasid Caliphate, Fatimid, Mamluk, Persian, Azerbaijani, Turkistan, Ottoman, Indo-Islamic, Sino-Islamic, Indonesian-Malay, Sahelian-Islamic, and the Somali-Islamic architectures. The principal Islamic architectural types are: the Mosque, the Tomb, the Palace and the Fort. From these four types, the vocabulary of Islamic architecture is derived and used for buildings of lesser importance such as public baths, fountains and domestic architecture.


2000 B.C. – 1000 A.D.


For those of you who don’t know, Egypt is part of Africa. Egypt could be considered as the most progressed region in Africa. The Pyramids of Giza is considered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and is noted as one of the architectural achievements of its time. The rise of large structures like Building and Temple complexes were derived from Egyptian architectural backgrounds. Ancient architecture south and west of the Sahara is not well documented compared to their Egyptian neighbors so little is known of their architectural styles. The architecture of Africa is remarkably diverse because each of these African ethno-linguistic tribes has had their own architectural traditions throughout history. These entire region share a common theme that defines traditional African architecture: The use of fractal scaling: small parts of the structure tend to look similar to larger parts, such as a circular village made of circular houses. African architecture uses a wide range of materials, such as thatch, stick/wood, mud, mud brick, rammed earth, and stone, and other more perishable material.


5000 B.C. – 300 A.D.


Also includes Persian architecture, this age comprises of all four corners of Asia. It encompasses a wide variety of geographically and historically spread structures, each to their own details and religious deities. The diversity of each nation’s culture is represented in its architecture. It is a blend of ancient and varied native traditions, with building types, forms and technologies from West and Central Asia, as well as a few in Europe. Presently, Asian interior design is a popular trend used in homes. The use of artworks, furniture, Zen, Balinese, etc. are Asian inspired.


2000 B.C. – 1600 A.D.


Comprises the Mesoamerican, Incan, Olmec,Maya, Aztec and Ancient North America influences in architecture, the pre-Columbian era is a period in history of the Americas before the arrival of the European colonizers in the 16th century. Traditions are best known in the form of public, ceremonial and urban monumental buildings and structures, the development of an extensive road system spanning most of the western length of the continent, the construction of the world’s first suspension bridges (Rope Bridges), peoples were excellent stone cutters whose masonry used no mortar, textiles, and the building of platforms were their most renowned achievements. Pre-Columbian architecture is mostly noted for its pyramids which are the largest such structures outside of Ancient Egypt, and also The Macchu Picchu.


Medieval Period
500 A.D. to 1600s


Also known as ‘The Middle Ages,’ it is a term used to represent various forms of architecture common in Medieval Europe. The basic characteristics of this style of architecture were influenced by religion (latin cross style churches), military (castle and fortified walls) and civil (Manors) impacts. Pre-Romanesque, Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance Era divides this period. This was a time of war (Pre-Romanesque), Expansion (Romanesque), plague (Gothic) and rebirth (Renaissance). These are characterized by a use of round or slightly pointed arches, cruciform piers supporting vaults, featuring almost skeletal stone structures with great expanses of glass, windows containing beautiful stained glass, depicting biblical stories, rosette windows, pared-down wall surfaces supported by external flying buttresses, pointed arches using the ogive shape, ribbed stone vaults, clustered columns, pinnacles, sharply pointed spires, and don’t forget the gargoyles.


16th – 20th Centuries


This is the time when men wanted to colonize other land masses, think of Pocahontas, Magellan, Columbus, Lewis and Clark. This is the Colonial Period. Architecture was primarily made from things they found wherever they are in search of the frontier. With the rise of various European colonial empires from the 16th century onward through the early 20th century, the new stylistic trends of Europe were exported to or adopted by locations around the world, often evolving into new regional variations. This period is divided into the Baroque (elaborate and over-designed), Classicism (symmetry and proportion), Revivalism (revival of an architectural era), Orientalism (Imitation of Eastern Cultures), and Art Nouveau (organic forms and structures).


Early Modern
1900 – 1940s


Expressionist, Art Deco, International Style… this is the Early Modern Era. Think of old Hollywood, Silver Screen at its peak. Early Modern architecture began with a number of building styles with similar characteristics, primarily the simplification of form and the elimination of ornament, which first arose around 1900. By the 1940s these styles had largely consolidated and been identified as the International Style. The exact characteristics and origins of modern architecture are still open to interpretation and debate. An important trigger appears to have been the maxim credited to Louis Sullivan: “form follows function.” Functionalism, in architecture, is the principle that architects should design a building based on the purpose of that building. This statement is less self-evident than it first appears, and is a matter of confusion and controversy within the profession, particularly in regard to modern architecture.


Contemporary Architecture
1950s – Present


Could be subcategorized into the general term of modern architecture but this period is slowly standing on its own. This was the time that man finally set foot on the moon, which inspired the idea of futurism to architecture as well. It composes the Regionalism (sense of placelessness), Postmodern Architecture (diverse and innovative aesthetics), Deconstructive Architecture (fragmentation and controlled chaos). The newest addition to this period is Green Architecture, also known as Sustainable Architecture, is a general term that describes environmentally conscious design techniques in the field of architecture. Most simply, the idea of sustainability, or ecological design, is to ensure that our actions and decisions today do not inhibit the opportunities of future generations.

  • I love architecture list..I love art

    • Notimpressed

      I don’t love this list. Shoddy at best.

      • dizit

        I don’t love this list

        What do you love?

    • Pauly

      The list was good, but kinda lumped into large categories. I’d love to see some follow-up lists about sub-categories of architecture. Enjoyable list though.

      • Suffle

        i agree, I mean a category named Asia and spanning over more than 5000 years.. Or the Africa entry, mentioning the pyramides and mud huts.
        Good topic, poor execution in my opinion.
        I’d rather see a list focused on a single civilization during a distinct époque.

  • oouchanonmobile

    I’m updating from my mobile….so this will be a bit rushed.
    Good and interesting topic. I’m glad that medieval was included…since that is my favorite style. Not a fan of modern….so happy today more effort was given to ancient types.
    Great list.

    • GrammerNazi

      I noticed you like the medieval architect also. The Gothic style that came out the the medieval period is to me the most interesting and my favorite. I am amazed at the amount of detail and designs on a building. I cannot imagine how hard it was to create all the details with limited tools and equipment. You know you have created a masterpiece when such small designs still amazes people hundreds of years later.

      • Notimpressed

        I agree. the guy obviously doesn’t know a whole lot about architecture.

        ‘I know! Medievel has castles and stuff! I’ll write that one lol’.

        Early Modern- ‘Think of Hollywood! I’ve seen movies lol’

        ‘Asia! They had those cool Chinese temples lol’. Not a mention of any Hindus Valley, Cambodian, Indonesian etc.

        Colonial architecture? Which colony? Try comparing Boston to Havana or Quebec City. Not similar at all.

        This list runs like an aspie schoolkid writing a text message.

      • You know you have created a masterpiece when such small designs still amazes people hundreds of years later.

        Yes, indeed. Whoever invented the peen, I would like to shake his.. uhh.. hand, and stroke his.. uhhh.. ego. :D

        • Maggot

          Whoever invented the peen…

          I’ve got a large tool that you may be interested in seeing. Here’s a picture of it:

          • Ooh-ahh, Maggy! I see that you’ve got 38cm of strong hard ball-peen there. Impressive girth on it too.. very nice! A delightful big solid tool fo’ sure. I can just imagine the weight of it in my.. hand. :lol:

            Lol speaking of hammers, Jamie would probably pull out his.. his.. Banhammer.. if I were to link up my first, second, third, fourth, or fifth pic choice here now. So, in the interests of self-preservation, I shall keep it tame. :P

            Therefore, Maggy, the question is either…




            Lol either way, I’ll be there to kiss it all better if it hurts toooo much. :D

    • Alli

      Really? I love medieval, too, but modern architecture is just amazing! I love how the bushes define the different stories on the building (last pic). I wonder were in the world that building is?

  • Ben

    Interesting subject, but far too many grammatical errors and problems with sentence structure. Could have done with a proper edit or at least a proof read.

    • flabbergasted

      yeah, what he said. Yet another list that reads like a last second rushed homework assignment. Great subject matter, well thought out, but the writing was painfully hard to read.

    • brian

      You must be new. You better get used to it.

    • Iyan

      Hey, sorry. There’s just one thing that needs correcting for you who are eandirg this.Commitments is at 7pm and the Talk starts at 7:30pm so make sure you’re early.

    • Pradeep

      Steve D / June 30, 2011You will be hard pressed to find a zero-percent indcrtuotory offer for longer than 9 months and these offers usually come with a 3% balance transfer fee.Reply

  • m

    asia ,africa… aren’t they continents?

    • ILuvDubstep

      Yes they are..

    • Alli

      Why do you ask?

  • Say32

    “Architecture, of all the arts, is the one which acts the most slowly, but the most surely, on the soul.” – Ernest Dimnet

  • mbonisi

    Under africa I would add the pyramids in timbuktu.

    • FMH

      And not to forget Great Zimbabwe.

  • Nate

    Good list. Whether it be pyramids or skyscrapers I have always been in awe of the planning and work that goes into the creation of such wondrous structures.

  • Will Trame

    Architecture is an art form. Pretty good list; I really like the photographs. BTW, is number 4 the Gaudi Cathedral? A honorable mention goes out to Portmeirion Village in Wales. The architecture there is so unique and bizarre that it gives one the feeling of being everywhere…and nowhere.

    • Arsnl

      Nope. Sagrada familia has towers shaped like elongated cones. And it’s from the late 19th century. Thats Notre Dame (Paris).
      Portmeirion village looks indeed weird, but i think i preffer Oia village in Santorini. It’s all white, with some blue patches here and there. And with the blue sea on the background, it looks splendid.

      • Will Trame

        Thanks for your input. I wasn’t sure about that cathedral. Appreciate to Oia Village reference. I googled it and looked at various pictures of it….indeed very impressive.

  • Arsnl

    I kind of like Early Modern as you call it. And i’m a big fan of the Trocadero Palace (Chaillot) and the Olympic stadium in Berlin. I kind of like the use of long straight lines, rectagular pillars, lots of marbble. It seems very impressive to me.

    A nice bonus would have been CPU architecture :-)

  • undaunted warrior 1

    Nice list today, no. 8 is stunning

    I am also not a big fan of the modern.

    Yea mom that sandwich tastes much better now, thanks for the concern.

  • This is not an “unusual” or even thought-provoking list. Any retarded child could have found it in a grammar school textbook. I move for immediate deletion of this list, and banishment of the “author”.

    • James

      Huh?? Whats eating you? Lol

      • Geko

        Look at the date… ;)

      • Just a bit cranky today, is all. And truthfully, this list ain’t that hot. I prefer my lists to be thoughtful, thought-provoking, life-enriching, and, perhaps most of all, entertaining. This list = EPIC FAIL. That’s all, I guess.

  • S

    I actually enjoyed a lot of the ideas in this list but I have one thing, should the Ancient Mediterranean period not extend much longer? The Byzantine’s were still a massive empire right throughout the 10th century and, even though it had to reinvent itself a number of times, was only fully destroyed in the 15th century.

    • S

      Or did they change their architecture style after 300BC? I didn’t think they did but I’m certainly no expert on this.

  • Lifeschool

    A MUCH better list than I was expecting from the title. I wasn’t expecting much after yesterdays head-banger but I have to say it’s not too shabby. A list like this could really do with a range of photos to describe those periods but once again the art department have done a good job with just the single photos on offer. All the major styles and sub genres are represented, an architects dream perhaps.

  • This is a preposterous April Fool’s list.. it’s far too legit! :P

  • Sbtier

    I had an ad for pre-fab buildings right in the middle of the list betwwen 5 and 6 that kind of gave it an April’s fool feel.

    • dizit

      had an ad for

      What are these ads people comment on? I’ve never seen one.

      • I’ve never seen one.

        I’ll flash my ads at you, Dizz. C’mon. You take my hand.. and I’ll take your innocence. ;)

  • SmilingLisa

    Whoa whoa WHOA… you mean to tell me that Egypt is in Africa!?!? I never knew that!!

    Seriously, when a list tells me something like that, I know it was written by an 8 year old. This list needed some serious editing as well.

    Le boring!!

    • House M.D

      I really hope you are being serious. It gives me satisfaction to see someone so miserable.

      • DocOc

        How is that post miserable? You have to admit, it was a pretty badly and “nothing new” article. I thought the same thing about the Egypt in Africa part.

        Why are guys going after her when there’s worse comments about this list from others? Are you Trolls just out to be dicks? It’s working if you are.

        • House M.D

          Well she has to live somewhat of a miserable life to only comment negative things every time she comments. With a name like Lisa, she has a right to be in such a bad mood I guess.

          • SmilingLisa

            Your comment is far more negative than mine is, so what does that say about your life?

            To diss someone for being negative by being nagitive…you HAVE to be an American! That’s how you idiots think all the time.

            Too negative for you Mr. M.D.?

        • Anneri

          I caught elmsyf smiling and saying the words out loud, Oooo I love it , when I saw the picture with the flowers behind the groom’s back!! love the balloons too there are always fresh new ideas in your photos!!

    • Arsnl

      Boring is not a noun so you cannot use a definite article.
      But it is correct for me to say: la connasse.

  • Jared Wagner


  • some guy

    Does the author of this list speak English as a second language? It reads like it was run through a translator.

  • Bob

    I like Nazi Architecture.. Is that wrong?

    • Ben

      only if you want to kill all the Jews as well as admire their buildings.

  • GrammerNazi

    Damn. I forgot it was April 1st. You could have made another April fools day list, and I would have fallen for it. I am disappoint.

    • Don’t worry, Grammer. I’m gonna have a quiet word with Jamie, get him to pencil in my name and reserve next years April 1st spot for me, so that this disappointing oversight doesn’t happen again. I’ll getcha!

  • architect424

    This list seems to have been created by a first year architecture student who is still taking General Ed. classes. Not only is the list extremely overly broad, it is poorly written and only really comments on the superficial aesthetics of each period. Even when it tries to analyze specific architectural theories, it does so in an overly simplistic and juvenile manner.

  • Evan

    great idea but messy list.

  • ConstableDubs

    “Contemporary Architecture” is an umbrella over many different architecture style. I believe you might be thinking of Postmodern Architecture.

  • Stephen

    People who comment just to complain about grammatical errors: t(-.-t)

  • T-dawg

    The Byzantine empire did not emerge until the 3rd century AD. I wonder if that was a typo or they just didn’t know.

  • odaltyr

    Well, that was kind of cheap. This list is just the obvious extremely general items that anyone could think of in 10 minutes.

    I was hoping for more precise items like “French 19th century architecture (Haussman…)” or “scandinavian medieval wooden architecture (churches..)” and stuff like that… not the general African or Medieval architecture… not only are these not at all homogeneous genres of architecture, they’re simply not interesting when bunched up at continent level.

  • dizit

    Architecture is interesting and pretty amazing. The choices for architectural periods on this list are excellent.

  • Annoyed

    This list was too Americanized.

  • AnonymousLoBo

    I would remove Contemporary for the simple fact that they build building for looks, and not necessarily for endurance

  • girl

    medieval is the best. i reckon modern architecture is so ugly, it’s so uncreative and everything is square shaped. i’m thinking of being an architect when i’m older and if i do, my designs will be as unmodern as possible.

    • Modern architecture is a very restricted style of architecture, fueled by LESS IS MORE.. But because of people getting tired of looking at the same thing over and over again, POST-MODERN architecture emerged, well..UGLIER than modern architecture. It’s not all ugly though. bauhaus is kinda cool. I’m an architecture student, trust me, it’s all stress but also very fulfilling. Good for us eh that modernism has all ended and we are now living in the CONTEMPORARY age. Which is the best period ever since we’re not limited to a certain “LOOK”. :3 and I’m 18.

      • girl

        interesting… i don’t really know that much about architecture since i’m only 14, but i like houses with lots of detail. i personally don’t think the less is more thing applies very well to houses.

        • you’re leaning towards gothic, renaissance, revival, etc etc? hehe, you remind me of a lesson we did last semester, during the industrial revolution, most buildings looked the same because they were made of the same materials and sources, so organizations like art nouveau and arts and crafts.. maybe they made some of the buildings that you like?

  • Mon

    I love art deco

  • The_Snowdog

    After reading this list I feel like playing Sid Meier’s Civilization

  • Renaissance can’t be classified as medieval since that age of architecture occurred when the medieval age ENDED. That’s why it’s called rebirth. Contemporary architecture’s major difference from all the other styles is because it doesn’t have a STANDARD to follow, no characteristics to comply with. It’s what we call pluralism, each architect is FREE to MAKE their own styles. Which in summary is there is just one rule, that there are NO rules.

  • calling grammernazi!!

    I am not sure if you will get this message but GRAMMERNAZI, I have a question for you. Is the word “learnt” actually a word in the English lexicon and should it be used in this context…”I learnt my lesson.” Should it not be “I learned my lesson?” This is driving me crazy.

  • You have missed the Indian Architecture.. The Brahadeshwara Temple at Tanjore, Srirangam temple at Trichy… etc are fine pieces of original Indian Architecture before British colonisation. India has been rich in all arts including architecture throughout the ages and any list built around art or history would be incomplete without looking at the Indian subcontinent

  • Stupid list….Indus valley civilization is not mentioned even once…5000B.C to 2000B.C civilization with paved road ,planned city…and when world was shitting in jungle and into woods they designed worlds 1st toilet…water supply pipe in 5000B.C. …List is biased they tell only about west ..even a shit of west gets place in this list.

  • Good list but as being a civil engineer I couldn’t help but notice that others have said that you have missed one major era that is of Indian Architecture. This is not a very precise term, as it would include an age starting from about 3300 BC.

    Well look for yourself.

  • eduardo


  • Gunner

    Poor expression

  • you’re leaning towards gothic, renaissance, revival, etc etc? hehe, you remind me of a lesson we did last semester, during the industrial revolution, most buildings looked the same because they were made of the same materials and sources, so organizations like art nouveau and arts and crafts.. maybe they made some of the buildings that you like?

  • Reblogged this on Peonie-Log and commented:
    I personally preferred Colonial Architecture.

  • rajimus123

    Number 6 was a complete waste and a useless shout out on a subject that the author didn’t want to do research on. I think an important one that was missed too was pre-indus civilization, first evidence of city planning/sewage systems?

  • Nope

    Lol Contemporary? Gross that stuff makes me gag.

  • Jonas

    ?????????????jxta-c?jxtaShell???jxtashell???????????? -JXTA>[ENDPOINT]-warning-[TID: 7B0] -Failed to send message [00520C90] uatpde unreachable address cache[ENDPOINT]-warning-[TID: 7B0] -Failed to send message [00521EA0] uatpde unreachable address cache jxtashell???????peer?????????????????????

    • alli


  • Jayant Deshmukh

    plse post me broser of u r publication…thanks.jayant

  • alli

    I just can’t get over that last pic…. it’s amazing! I now officially love Contemporary Architecture!!! lol