There are many styles of architecture, from Roman and colonial to regency and baroque; they all have their similarities and differences. But they are also distinct. Contemporary and modern architecture are also distinct, despite any confusion you may have. Throw out all ideas of cookie cutter homes. A modern architecture home is nothing short of awesome.
Contemporary: the Non-Style
Okay, I mentioned contemporary. It’s actually not a style at all. Contemporary simply means ‘now’. Modern and contemporary are not interchangeable words in architecture. A modern architecture home has specific design elements, while contemporary merely refers to trends around today.
Okay, So What IS Modern?
Modern architecture refers to the stylings and construction techniques of the twentieth century. Just as baroque is about pear-shaped domes, broad interiors and large-scale ceilings, a modern architecture home is distinguished by its own features and elements, including these.
- Uniqueness: Look around your neighborhood and spot the home that stands out the most for its modern look. While contemporary design is also about being unique, many homes of the late twentieth century were built to be one of a kind. They may have followed certain ‘generic’ techniques sometimes, but they still found ways to be unique and still functional.
- Simplicity: Less is more! We’re talking reduced clutter brought about by clean lines, open plan, minimalist interiors, simple wall colorings, large windows to give plenty of natural light, and a general lack of unnecessary ‘fluff’.
- Function: Homes built using cookie cutters require people to adapt to them. Modern architecture was the start of a movement where the purpose of the home and specific needs of the first occupants dictated its design.
- Exposed Design: Beams and lighting fixtures are uncovered. Open floor plans and rooms include plenty of bare wood and metal blended together.
- Lines: Modern architecture loves to use lines, seen from within and without. Note we didn’t say straight lines only. Modern focuses on straight and also flowing curved lines for beams, walls, windows, counters, stairways, room layouts, and much more. A ‘box’ is very much out.
- Big Glass: You might think floor-to-ceiling windows are a recent development, but they go back to the 1950s and 1960s. Natural light and great viewing are huge parts of a modern style home. If floor-to-ceiling won’t work when building a new home, having many, many windows is the way to go. Modern architecture for homes required specific design and construction techniques to incorporate all the glass.
- Bold Roof: It’s all about creating a bold silhouette. Instead of a plain angled roof, modern is distinguished by multiple roof lines at various levels.
- Open to Outdoor Space: Having a back yard was always a huge component of twentieth century home design. Modern architecture uses many of the elements listed above to ensure a great view and open, unimpeded access to the yard. Think huge windows, exposed support beams to open a wall, interesting sight lines, and uncluttered simplicity.
There is definitely some overlap between modern and contemporary, but remember that modern architecture is a defined part of the architectural world, whereas contemporary is more fluid and about ‘now’ trends.
You can have a custom modern architecture home and then add contemporary elements like plants on the roof, eco-friendly design features, and funky exterior lighting that moves and is almost interactive.
Greg Nelson is the owner of Nelson Construction & Renovations Inc. He is a Florida State Certified Building Contractor, creating artistry in all areas of design and construction projects. He is a musician, and artist. A husband and father, Greg appreciates all the wonderful elements of family life.
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