"Tenet 1: Let 1000 networks bloom". This is the first principle of the EU IST project 4WARD and sets out one of the primary goals of this project - to explore new approaches that will allow present and future networks to be interoperable within a common architectural framework. As part of our work, we propose a software architecture for the future Internet realizing this core goal. This paper presents a conceptual introduction to our proposed architecture, which embraces simplicity and minimalism. Our architectural framework proposes a component-based architecture consisting of building blocks of reusable functionality, components that allow the construction of these building blocks and the composition of complex functionality, control elements facilitating communication between blocks, and a repository of building blocks. The architecture allows for rapid composition of federations of components, enabling an easy transition from present network infrastructure towards the future Internet and realizing the on-demand creation and configuration of protocol stacks for components.