Many designers have defined the chief differences between a contemporary and a modern-day architecture. A lot of people seem to confuse these two terms but they are too distinct from each other when you really take a careful look at their features.

Modern architecture is deeply-rooted in the mid-20th century. The movement, back then, broke away from the traditional architecture mostly enjoyed by the people during that time. Modern architecture embodied and continues to represent the machine age ideals with its absence of frills and ornaments. It also comes bold with its concrete, steel, expansive glass, and whitewashed structures.

Open floor plans also became famous but maybe this is what started the confusion. Contemporary architecture – the ones that are being produced now – do not have a specific stylistic line. Anything that is forward-looking should be categorized as contemporary.

Before we focus on what’s inside like the paint of the house, the overall theme and all, let’s turn our attention to the surfaces, spaces, and the assemblies that make up the interiors of every home.

Everything That’s Modern

A surefire way to distinguish modern architecture is to find the glass box. Many of today’s apartment buildings, office buildings, and houses that use the modern theme use glass. Expect to see full-length glass windows with wood columns. Wood is a necessary element of any modern home, especially the exposed types.

You won’t find these structured elements inside a contemporary home. It is this very departure from organization that gives modern architecture its distinct meaning and visual appeal.

Furthermore, the steel structures in many modern homes are clear. Just take a careful look at the beams and you would always see them supplemented by steel joists. Skylights are also a common feature and these are fitted between the regular grids of the structure. Take a closer look still and you will soon see that this grid extends right into the exterior glass walls.

To know whether you’re looking at a modern or a contemporary home, you also have to veer away from the structures. Look for the surfaces inside the home. Notice how a modern home as a minimalist approach to its wall, ceiling and flooring construction.

When you take a tour to the modern kitchen, you will see a super slick space designed in such a way that every piece is dependent on the rest of the pieces there. You will always see and feel the orderly way that a modern space is set up, you will see alignments of structural and design elements and vice versa.

Modern is one word that elicits strong reactions among many architects and designers. Homeowners might even automatically think of steel and glass homes and they are not entirely wrong. Others might go as far as visualizing a museum where the design elements go untouched.

If you would consult the Merriam-Webster dictionary, you would find that the definition is of or relating to, or characteristic of the present or the immediate past. But what do these time periods actually constitute? What makes up the immediate past?

Spatially, today’s lifestyle differs from those of 50 or 60 years ago. Architecture 200 years back included parlors but not many homes would have this room these days. How about sitting rooms? These have changed, too, they have evolved into the more modern floor plan.

The great rooms of today are now the dining area, the kitchen, and the rest of the living areas. Very few homes would show a level of formality.

Spatially, modern homes are lean, trim, and is often casual.

As to the materials and technologies used, again, you will find a lot of steel and wood, even open glass expanses.

Modern architecture is all about avoiding trends. Now this is the final principle that separates it from contemporary architecture. The trendier, the better – this is the contemporary home’s look. As for the modern home, it makes sense, it has order, and it will contain the materials that were discussed – at least for the time being. A hundred years from now, what’s contemporary today will be modern architecture then.

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