The architecture of the 1960s is often referred to as the postmodern era. Architecture, like almost everything in the 60s, was a contrast between established norms versus individualism and self-expression. In the public structures and private dwellings of the wealthy, the architecture of the 1960s was moving away from the rules that had been in place for a long time. The shift to architecture in moderate housing was less about style than how it merged with and was impacted by the surrounding environment. Urban planning also became essential due to increasing population growth.
As the 1960s trends for individual expression and informality emerged in architecture, a gap grew between accepted standards and creative design. A new generation of architects emerged, forming a communication network that promoted and expanded the exchange of ideas outside of academia. This new generation of architects proposed that architecture was more than the creation of isolated structures, it also required social and environmental considerations. The use of space age technology, real and imagined, together with new concepts of complex architecture, paved the way for design focused on the environment and ecology.
The 1970s were eventful, often chaotic years. The unpopular Vietnam War caused social, political and economic problems. In the mid-1970s, the energy crisis and the resulting economic recession added to the social change that would last the entire decade. Worldwide, the style of major architecture projects in the 1970s was experimental and unconventional. Individualism and extremism prevailed. The impact in the US on home architecture was less extreme but no less dynamic.
The end of the Vietnam War brought with it an increase in demand for new homes. Increased violence in cities and the basic back-to-nature trend of the 1970s increased movement toward the suburbs and rural areas. Although the architecture of new homes in the 1970s changed little externally, the internal design reflected the latest technology. Rising energy costs and awareness of the need to conserve energy prompted the use of energy efficient products and the development of alternative sources such as solar and wind.
A new direction for architecture in the 70s was the trend towards the restoration and rehabilitation of existing buildings. Economic constraints and increased awareness of environmental issues led to the demand for architectural plans for the restoration of old houses, barns, schools, etc. for homes. Homes and multi-unit businesses were created in empty warehouses, factories, train stations, and other large buildings. The desire for resurgence and reintegration created a new trend in the common architecture of the decade.