Modern’s appearance within the top three spots was unsurprising to both designers. “Modern is always going to be there; I feel like that will always be top three,” Conicella says. “It’s easy to confuse contemporary, modern, and midcentury modern, and it means so many things to so many people, so I think people search it because not many can easily define it.”
Despite the expected appearances on the list, the top spot remained a shock. “It’s definitely surprising, because it’s so specific,” Conicella says. Graziani adds that she’s seen certain elements that could be considered steampunk—such as iron work, hanging clocks, screws, or circular windows—appearing in recent projects, which might explain the data, though she was also surprised. “If you pull out some of the core visual cues, you can squint and kind of see how it’s showing up a bit like Gothic maximalism, which we’re seeing in some spaces where there’s a lots of rich, monochromatic layers and deep colors coming together,” she explains.
The search result could also allude towards a broader perspective among the masses who are moving away from the homogenous to the individual. Steampunk is edgy, alternative, a little punk even, which could reflect a desire to design a home without regard to what is “in” or not. “Modern farmhouse would be the opposite of steampunk,” Conicella says. “It’s like the pendulum is swinging in the complete opposite direction—which happens a lot in design—away from everyone wanting a home that looks like Joanna Gaines designed it towards something its own.”
Trending Architectural Style of 2023
This past year saw a diverse collection of trending architectural styles, spanning searches for aesthetics as old as neolithic design right up to contemporary architecture of the present day. “It’s funny, maybe after COVID people just want to go out and research these things,” Timothy Archambault, director of Americas at Oppenheim Architecture, says. “Post-COVID, there might have been a greater interest in an architecture style encountered while traveling.” This could explain the geographic stretch of searches, spanning styles rooted across countries and cultures.
Seeing modern and contemporary appear on the list was expected, he adds. “To me, that signals that people are of our time.” For him, this shows consumers are interested in the structural and aesthetic possibilities of architecture today, rather than looking back towards the past. Even so, there were also some welcomed upsets, such as neolithic and Creole architecture. “I think neolothic is great,” Archambault adds. “It goes back to the simple aspects of architecture.” Though designing a true neolithic style home today would be unlikely, it’s attractive in the abstract. “I think architecture that references back to the neolithic in a more conceptual form and through simplicity can be very intriguing,” he says.
However, the list of trending architectural styles omits aesthetics Archambault would’ve expected to see. Most notably, regenerative architecture. “I’m seeing that a lot in projects now,” he says. This doesn’t just mean recycling materials or adapting old structures for new use, but often designing with the goal that the building helps the environment it exists within. “You can create surface treatments that enhance vegetation growth, we can reflect light to enhance certain types of growth, we can design water runoff systems that get filtered and then go back to the site,” he says. Despite not appearing on the list, he sees it among one the most notable “trends” in architectural design that will continue into 2024 and beyond.
Ultimately, Archambault cautions away from thinking of any of these styles as in vogue and rather consider what each user requires. “I think people really get into these styles and their set view of what it should be, and they forget about their needs,” he says. “Architecture can redefine how you live or help enhance how you live; I think that’s where people miss out.”