As a simple, yet effective way to add vital outside space to a property, the simple balcony has evolved over several centuries to become a modern architectural triumph which is both desirable and practical in equal measures. Thought to date back to ancient Greece, balconies originally developed as a way of aiding air circulation to hot buildings and were entirely useful in their nature and design. Add on two thousand years or so and they have become the epitome of stylish city living and a great way to soak up the view or indulge in some romance.
Of course the idea of balconies as romantic structures was much helped by the depiction of ill-fated lovers Romeo and Juliet who conducted their liaisons across a well-placed balcony on a now infamous building in Italy’s Verona!
Over the years they have changed with the times and materials and design have also altered significantly. In Georgian times wrought iron was featured heavily and later Regency styles saw the widespread use of cast iron and decorative detailing. Yet as resources waned and fashions changed, new ideas were sought and eventually wood, metal and concrete became the preferred choices. In bygone times outside spaces were small and functional, but later became a public reflection of wealth and stature and their size grew to reflect this. Now we see balconies which are as large as the building will allow, but with less of the gilt, balustrades and adornment traditionally seen.
These days as housing needs becomes more stretched, high rises have seen a variety of balcony styles incorporated, from traditional Juliet styles, to modern concrete enclosures. As green spaces become crowded balconies continue to change and evolve as architects and developers seek to create that all-important sense of peace and tranquillity, while still remaining true to the reality of being firmly attached to a modern, functional building.
Of course balconies vary around the world where huge differences in style can be seen. Even across Europe the differences are evident, with UK buildings featuring masses of curved glass or minimalist designs, while on the continent they tend to feature supportive and ornamental balustrades, or alternatively be flush with the building itself.
Balconies have become a status symbol. Penthouses and high-end housing boast enormous, glass terraces, while more modest accommodation feature less extravagant structures. Offering an injection of light into a property, modern advancement will continue to be seen and new materials are constantly being used to create the ultimate in modern, creative spaces which reflect one’s style and sophistication in a nutshell. Eco-friendly materials are growing in popularity and the use of aluminium, glass and brushed steel continues to rise.
With a contemporary design, any property is instantly updated and the right balcony will be placed in a position which is optimum for light, views and generally making the most of a building, while taking into account structural constraints and budget limitations.
As long as architecture continues to push boundaries and create buildings with the wow factor, then balcony designs will follow suit, continuing to evolve as a little slice of heaven with a strong aesthetic appeal. As an important part of the facade of a successful design, balconies play an important role in satisfying the eye’s desire for beauty, functionality and good taste.