high-tech

   The design style known as ‘high-tech’, associated with the work of architects Richard Rogers, Norman Foster (see Foster Associates), Nicholas Grimshaw and Michael Hopkins, was pioneered in Britain in the early 1970s. Although in the USA the term refers principally to an architectural style, in Britain high-tech points to a more rigorous approach in which advanced technology is acknowledged as representing the ‘spirit of the age’. The aesthetics of industrial production and machine technology are celebrated and embodied in the methodology of design production. Industry is a source for both technology and imagery. Principally associated with factory and business applications, although now adopted for supermarkets, leisure centres, art galleries and modern offices in ‘science parks’, high-tech balances function and representation, engineering and architecture, at once symbolizing and representing technology rather than simply using it efficiently. The functional tradition of nineteenth-century architecture, together with important precursors, Sant’Elia, Mies van der Rohe, Mart Stam, Charles Eames, the Russian constuctivists, Buckminster Fuller, Archigram and the Japanese metabolises, all contributed to contemporary high-tech. Distinguished by exposed steel structures and services, visible air conditioning ducts, renewable plug-in service pods and the characteristic use of metal and glass and suspension structures, high-tech buildings demonstrate the high priority placed on flexibility of use, witnessed particularly in the ‘omniplatz’, where internal and external spaces are conceived as serviced zones. The most distinctive example is the Pompidou Centre (1971–7), the sixstorey ‘cultural machine’ designed by Piano and Rogers. Interpretations of high-tech vary, with Foster favouring a smooth exterior as at the Sainsbury Centre for the Visual Arts, Norwich (1977), and Rogers preferring to use more visceral compositions to dramatize function. Development can be traced from Foster and Rogers’s Reliance Controls Factory in Swindon (1967) and the Pompidou Centre, to the Lloyd’s Building, London (1978–86) by Rogers and the Shanghai Bank Building, Hong Kong by Foster (1989). Grimshaw argues, ‘Our buildings are unusually economical and reflect the absolute necessity of conserving energy and saving resources’, indicating significance beyond pristine metal-clad exteriors. Some early high-tech buildings are already deteriorating, which, as Diane Ghirardo points out, ‘leads directly to a major problem of emphatically high-tech architecture: the strident application of technological appendages evinces a view of technology as aesthetic scenography rather than a type of architectural knowledge bound up within a broad and continuing research project’.
   See also: Archigram; Foster Associates
   Further reading
    Davies, C. (1988) High-Tech Architecture, New York: Rizzoli.
   HILARY GRAINGER

Encyclopedia of contemporary British culture . . 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • High Tech — High Tech …   Deutsch Wörterbuch

  • High tech — is technology that is at the cutting edge the most advanced technology currently available. The adjective form is hyphenated: high tech or high technology. (There is also an architectural style known as high tech.)There is no specific class of… …   Wikipedia

  • high-tech — ˌhigh ˈtech also hi tech adjective high tech equipment, activities etc involve or use advanced technology: • High tech companies must keep their specialized personnel in order to explore emerging technologies. • Like most high tech products when… …   Financial and business terms

  • high-tech — [ˌhaı ˈtek] adj [usually before noun] 1.) using high technology ▪ high tech industries ▪ a £1 million high tech security system ▪ high tech weapons →↑low tech 2.) high tech furniture, designs etc are made in a very modern style >high tech n… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • high-tech — [ ajtɛk ] n. m. inv. • 1980 adj.; abrév. angl. de high technology « haute technologie » ♦ Anglic. 1 ♦ Utilisation décorative, architecturale d objets et d éléments industriels. 2 ♦ Technique de pointe. Adjt Une médecine high tech. high tech [… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • high tech — or high technology n. 1. highly specialized, complex technology, as in electronics: in full high technology ☆ 2. furnishings, fashions, etc. that in design or look suggest industrial use, as by being stark, metallic, or strictly utilitarian: Also …   Universalium

  • high tech — or high technology n. 1. highly specialized, complex technology, as in electronics: in full high technology ☆ 2. furnishings, fashions, etc. that in design or look suggest industrial use, as by being stark, metallic, or strictly utilitarian: Also …   English World dictionary

  • *high-tech — ● high tech adjectif invariable (abréviation de l anglais high technology, haute technologie) Se dit d un style de décoration intérieure caractérisé par l intégration de matériaux, de meubles ou d accessoires conçus pour un usage professionnel,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • high tech — adjective ** using the most modern or advanced technology available: high tech computer companies the car s high tech steering system …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • high-tech — high′ tech′ n. 1) cvb high technology 2) fur a style of interior design using industrial and commercial fixtures, materials, etc., or incorporating elements having the stark, utilitarian appearance characteristic of industrial design 3) fur of,… …   From formal English to slang

  • high-tech — (also hi tech) ► ADJECTIVE 1) employing, requiring, or involved in high technology. 2) (of architecture and interior design) employing a functional style and industrial materials, such as steel and plastic …   English terms dictionary

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.