Ciudad Cayala in Guatemala City, Guatemala founded in 2011

New Classical architecture, New Classicism or Contemporary Classical architecture[1] is a contemporary movement in architecture that continues the practice of Classical architecture. It is sometimes considered the modern continuation of Neoclassical architecture,[2][3][4] even though other styles might be cited as well, such as Gothic, Baroque, Renaissance or even non-Western styles[5] – often referenced and recreated from a postmodern perspective as opposed to being strict revival styles.[6]

The design and construction of buildings in ever-evolving classical styles continued throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, even as modernist and other non-classical theories broke with the classical language of architecture. The new classical movement is also connected to a surge in new traditional architecture, that is crafted according to local building traditions and materials.[7]


Schermerhorn Symphony Center in Nashville – opened in 2006

In Great Britain during the 1950s and 1960s, a handful of architects continued to design buildings in a neoclassical style, contrary to the prevailing fashion for Modern architecture. Donald McMorran (1904–1965), a partner in the firm McMorran & Whitby, who once described the Modernist movement as "a dictatorship of taste", designed several noteworthy neoclassical buildings such as Cripps Hall at the University of Nottingham (completed 1959); the extension to the Old Bailey (completed 1972); and numerous civic buildings and housing estates.[8][9] Another noteworthy British architect, Raymond Erith (1904–1973), designed classical buildings from the establishment of his practice in 1946 until his death in 1973. He is best known for his restoration work at London's Downing Street (completed 1963), and for having mentored the New Classical architect Quinlan Terry (born 1937), Erith's pupil and employee, then partner, and finally successor to his practice.

French architect François Spoerry also continued to create classical designs from the 1960s onwards, later culminating in the European Urban Renaissance. In the late 1970s several young architects in Europe began challenging modernist proposals in architecture and planning. To broadcast them, Leon Krier and Maurice Culot [fr] founded the Archives d'Architecture Moderne in Brussels and began publishing texts and counterprojects to modernist proposals in architecture and planning.[10] It received a boost from the sponsorship of King Charles III (then the Prince of Wales), especially with The Prince's Foundation for Building Community.[11]

Chapel at Thomas Aquinas College by Duncan Stroik (completed in 2009)

In these years, postmodern architecture developed a critique of modernist architectural aesthetics.[12] Among them were certain influential postmodernist architects such as Charles Moore, Robert Venturi,[13] and Michael Graves, who used classical elements as ironic motifs in order to criticize modernism's sterility. A broad spectrum of more than two dozen architects, theorists, and historians presented other alternatives to modernism.[14] Among them were several serious New Classical architects who saw classicism as a legitimate mode of architectural expression, several of whom would later become Driehaus Prize Laureates, including some such as Thomas Beeby and Robert A.M. Stern, who practice both in postmodern as well as classical modes. Some postmodernist firms, such as Stern and Albert, Righter, & Tittman, fully moved from postmodern design to new interpretations of traditional architecture.[12] Thomas Gordon Smith, the 1979 Rome Prize laureate from the American Academy in Rome, was a devotee of Charles Moore. In 1988, Smith published "Classical Architecture: Rule and Invention", and, in 1989, was appointed to chair of the University of Notre Dame Department of Architecture, now the School of Architecture, that specialized in teaching classical and traditional building practices.[15] Today, other programs exist which teach in part New Classical Architecture at the University of Miami, Judson University, Andrews University and beginning in 2013,[16] the Center for Advanced Research in Traditional Architecture at the University of Colorado Denver.

Alongside these academic and scholarly developments, a populist and professional manifestation of new classicism has existed and continues to develop. The 1963 demolition of McKim, Mead & White's Pennsylvania Railroad Station in New York City provoked the formation of Classical America and its regional chapters, led by Henry Hope Reed, Jr.[17] Classical America advocated the appreciation of classically inspired buildings and for the practice of contemporary classical and traditional design by teaching architects to draw the classical orders, hosting walking tours, educational events, conferences and publishing The Classical America Series in Art and Architecture.[18]

In 2002, the then-named Institute of Classical Architecture merged with Classical America to form the Institute of Classical Architecture & Classical America (now the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art). The ICAA currently supports and is supported by regional chapters across the United States, almost all of which host awards programs [19] which recognize significant accomplishments in new classical and traditional design and construction. The ICAA publishes The Classicist,[20] a peer-reviewed journal exclusively dedicated to the theory and practice of contemporary classicism in architecture, urbanism, and the allied arts. The ICAA offers educational programs to architecture and design professionals, many of which follow the methodologies of the École des Beaux-Arts. The ICAA also teaches courses to educate the general public,[21] and has created programs such as the Beaux Arts Atelier, the Advanced Program in Residential Design for the American Institute of Building Designers, and many other unique programs.

The international character of the New Classical movement was propelled by the creation in 2001 of the International Network for Traditional Building, Architecture & Urbanism (INTBAU),[22] an international organization dedicated on supporting traditional building and the maintenance of local character.[23] INTBAU spans more than 40 countries with its local chapters.[24] This network was created under the patronage of Charles, Prince of Wales himself an important figure in the New Classical movement.[25]

In 2003, Chicago philanthropist Richard H. Driehaus established[26] a prize in architecture to be given to an architect "whose work embodies the principles of classical and traditional architecture and urbanism in society, and creates a positive, long lasting impact." Awarded by the University of Notre Dame School of Architecture, the Driehaus Architecture Prize is seen as the alternative to the modernist Pritzker Prize. The Driehaus Prize is given in conjunction with the Reed Award, for an individual working outside the practice of architecture who has supported the cultivation of the traditional city, its architecture and art through writing, planning or promotion.[27] Other high-profiled classical architecture awards are the American Palladio Award,[28] the European Philippe Rotthier Prize [fr],[29] the Iberian Rafael Manzano Prize,[30] the Edmund N. Bacon Prize,[31] and the Rieger Graham Prize[32] of the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art (ICAA) for architecture graduates.

Since 2014, a movement of people in Sweden called "Arkitekturupprororet" or "Architectural Uprising" has challenged new developments in favour of traditional designs.[33] Started as a Facebook group, the movement has spread to other Nordic countries and the rest of the world.[34] It has achieved moderate success in encouraging the development of new traditional designs.[33] The main aim of the movement is "to make architecture available to everyone",[33] which it does through social media posts and annual awards to the best and worst new buildings in Sweden.

In 2021, more efforts to reintroduce new classical architecture in city planning were established in the United States of America. A founding member of the Washington Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the ICAA and director of the Anacostia River Plan, which envisioned future urban growth and Parisian-like riverfronts and quays at Washington, D.C.[35], architect Nir Buras founded the Classic Planning Institute (CPI). Based in Washington, D.C., the CPI engages in practice, research and education on how New Classical Architecture, applied in a holistic manner, can enhance contemporary urban planning. Additionally, since 2021, the CPI hosts the Traditional Architecture Gathering (TAG)[36] international conference, that attracts hundreds of architects and enthusiasts to discuss multiple subjects related to New Classical Architecture worldwide.


Ann's Court, Selwyn College, Cambridge (designed by Porphyrios Associates)

See also: Sustainable architecture

New Classical professionals tend to work under the assumption that there is no such thing as purely original creation, and that innovation unavoidably occurs in an environment laden with suggestions, influences, a precedent of problems solved and, perhaps more importantly, mistakes to be avoided.[37]

Many New Classical architects believe in the importance of sustainability, and aim to create long-lasting, well-crafted buildings of great quality, adapted to the context and with an efficient use of natural resources.[38]

Educational institutions

While most universities worldwide teach modernist design principles, some institutions teach (solely, mainly, or partly) the principles of traditional and classical architecture and urban planning. Some of these are:[39]

New Zealand
United Kingdom
United States


See also


  1. ^ Giuseppe Amoruso, ed. (2018). Putting tradition into practice: heritage, place and design: proceedings of 5th INTBAU International Annual Event. Cham: Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-57937-5. OCLC 1000578629.
  2. ^ Machalinski, Anne (16 March 2020). "Classical Contemporary Meets the Future". Retrieved 2021-01-12.
  3. ^ Curl, James Stevens (2006). A dictionary of architecture and landscape architecture (2nd ed.). Oxford [England]: Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-280630-7. OCLC 64585874.
  4. ^ Curl, James Stevens; Wilson, Susan (2015). "New Classicism". The Oxford Dictionary of Architecture. Oxford University Press. pp. 520–522. ISBN 978-0-19-967498-5.
  5. ^ "6 Classical Buildings That Are Younger Than You Think". ArchDaily. 2015-04-19. Retrieved 2021-02-18.
  6. ^ Jencks, Charles (1987). Post Modernism: The New Classicism in Art and Architecture. New York: Rizzoli. pp. 7–8. ISBN 0-85670-867-4.
  7. ^ Quigley, Kathleen (7 August 2018). "Inside Architecture's New Classicism Boom". Architectural Digest. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
  8. ^ "Central Criminal Court Extension, London – The Twentieth Century Society". Retrieved 9 December 2021.
  9. ^ Curl, James Stevens, ed. (2006). Oxford Dictionary of Architecture and Landscape Architecture. Oxford University Press. pp. 466–7. ISBN 978-0-19-860678-9. Retrieved 3 December 2021.
  10. ^ Leon Krier and Maurice Culot, "Counterprojets: Prefaces," (Brussels: Archives d'Architecture Moderne, 1980).
  11. ^ Charles, Prince of Wales, "A Vision of Britain: A Personal View of Architecture," (New York: Doubleday, 1989).
  12. ^ a b McAlester, Virginia Savage (2013). A Field Guide to American Houses. Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 664–665, 668–669. ISBN 978-1-4000-4359-0.
  13. ^ Robert Venturi, "Complexity and Contradiction in Architecture," (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1966).
  14. ^ Andreas Papadakis and Harriet Watson, eds., "New Classicism: Omnibus Volume," (London: Academy Editions, 1990).
  15. ^ "Many Canons, Many Conversions -". Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  16. ^ "College of Architecture and Planning at CU Denver" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-10-29. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  17. ^ "How Henry Hope Reed Saved Architecture". The New York Sun. Archived from the original on 20 October 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  18. ^ "Books - Institute of Classical Architecture & Art". Archived from the original on 20 June 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  19. ^ "Articles - Institute of Classical Architecture & Art". Archived from the original on 14 November 2010. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  20. ^ "Books - Institute of Classical Architecture & Art". Archived from the original on 10 October 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  21. ^ "Calendar". Archived from the original on 13 October 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  22. ^ Guardian Staff (2002-02-11). "Hooked on classics: in praise of traditional architecture". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2020-02-27.
  23. ^ "About Us | INTBAU". Retrieved 2020-02-27.
  24. ^ "Chapters | INTBAU". Retrieved 2020-02-27.
  25. ^ Alexander, Michael (October 16, 2018). "United Kingdom: New crown coin celebrates the 70th birthday of HRH Charles, Prince of Wales". Coin Update.
  26. ^ "The Driehaus Prize". 7 March 2013. Archived from the original on 23 October 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  27. ^ "Driehaus Prize Nomination Process". University of Notre Dame School of Architecture. Archived from the original on 29 March 2013. Retrieved 11 February 2013.
  28. ^ "Palladio Awards". Active Interest Media. Archived from the original on 6 April 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  29. ^ "Home". Retrieved 2022-01-05.
  30. ^ "Premio Rafael Manzano de Nueva Arquitectura Tradicional". 28 February 2018. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  31. ^ "Edmund N. Bacon Prize". Philadelphia Center for Architecture. Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  32. ^ "The Rieger Graham Prize". Institute of Classical Architecture & Art in New York. Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 10 April 2014.
  33. ^ a b c "A Nordic Revolt Against 'Ugly' Modern Architecture". 2023-08-01. Retrieved 2023-12-25.
  34. ^ "About (English) – Arkitekturupproret" (in Swedish). Retrieved 2023-12-25.
  35. ^ Flanagan, Neil (October 14, 2009). "McMillan Two envisions a classical Anacostia". Greater Greater Washington. Retrieved 2024-01-09.
  36. ^ Brussat, David (2021-03-02). "TAG 4: Classical gears up". Architecture Here and There. Retrieved 2024-01-09.
  37. ^ Callender, Jassen (2017-07-28). Architecture History and Theory in Reverse. doi:10.4324/9781315661315. ISBN 978-1-315-66131-5.
  38. ^ Sagharchi, Alireza; Steil, Lucien (2010). New Palladians: Modernity and Sustainability for 21st Century Architecture. Artmedia. ISBN 978-1-902889-12-2.
  39. ^ INTBAU Archived 2015-07-28 at the Wayback Machine - A guide to academic institutions/universities teaching New Urbanism and traditional/classical design. Retrieved 10 March 2015.
  40. ^ "Institutions | INTBAU". Retrieved 2020-10-08.
  41. ^ Tirumala S.V. Institute of Traditional Sculpture and Architecture (SVITSA) in Tirupati Archived 2016-02-02 at the Wayback Machine, India
  42. ^ a b "Institutions | INTBAU". Retrieved 2020-02-18.
  43. ^ National Design Academy Nottingham Archived 2015-03-15 at the Wayback Machine, degree course for heritage interior design.
  44. ^ "MArch Architecture – Unit 6 – 2015/16". Archived from the original on 13 February 2017. Retrieved 13 February 2017. We will engage with the fundamental architectural considerations of scale and language, and the application of the order of classicism at the scale of the town, building, room and fitting.
  45. ^ Portsmouth School of Architecture: Design Classical Archived 2015-04-02 at the Wayback Machine. The school presents its award-winning course in the elements of classical design and how to design in the classical idiom, for CPD credits., PDF, retrieved 10 March 2015
  46. ^ "Andrews University School of Architecture, Art & Design". Archived from the original on 16 June 2012. Retrieved 4 April 2014. Throughout the educational process, students are challenged to base architectural decisions on thoughtful and learned criteria, including the body of knowledge found within vernacular and classical traditions.
  47. ^ Urban, Chad. "Welcome!". Archived from the original on 15 March 2015. Retrieved 3 May 2018.
  48. ^ "Certificates | School of Architecture | University of Miami". Retrieved 2020-04-13.
  49. ^ Salingaros, Nikos Angelos. (2004). Anti-architecture and deconstruction. Alexander, Christopher, 1936-. Solingen, Germany: Umbau-Verlag. ISBN 3-937954-01-5. OCLC 57139148.
  50. ^ "UVU Bachelor of Architecture | Bachelor of Architecture | Architecture and Engineering Design". Retrieved 2020-03-24.
  51. ^ "Beaux-Arts Academy in Salt Lake City, classical architecture study programs". Archived from the original on 14 March 2016. Retrieved 3 May 2018.