Modern Architecture: Know its Characteristics
Ashleigh Clarke Architects

Modern Architecture: Know its Characteristics

Posted: September, 2020

Author: AC Architects


Modern architecture started around the beginning of the 20th century based on the rational use of modern building materials and technologies.

What is different about modern architecture? We have summarised some of the most common characteristics of mid-century modern architecture;

  • Generous use of glass and natural light :- Windows are no longer small portholes to our outside world. Modern architecture has shown how large expanses to both floors and ceiling glass provide beautiful dramatic views and introduce natural light into interior homes.
  • Emphasis on open, flowing interior spaces:- Our living spaces are no longer defined by walls, doors and hallways. When it comes to modern designing most living, dining and kitchen spaces are now combined together to make an elegant flow to our living space. Helping people to live a more relaxed way of life. It gives off a contiguous open plan interior space.
  • Relationship between interior spaces and sites:- Using a large expansion of glass in modern architecture will give many advantages to a more natural looking landscape and many dramatic views to endure each single day. Glass opens up a home and provided huge opportunities for natural light, and the modern look.
  • Use of sun and shading to enhance human comfort:- The best modern homes currently are efficient. They are designed to take advantage of nature and what comes with it. Many modern homes provide passive solar heating during the winter. While recessed openings can provide plenty of opportunity for shading during the hot summer days!
  • Emphasis on honestly of materials:- Wood is now stained rather than painted, this will express the natural character to modern architecture. However, in many cases exterior wood is also stained so that all the natural textures can be expressed.
  • Use of traditional materials in new ways:- So many materials are used to create modern designs now. Steel columns are used in exposed applications. Concrete blocks are used as a finished material. Concrete floors can be stained and exposed to give out a sense of space and expansion. Long-span steel trusses permit can open column free spaces and help towards heating systems and enhance that home feeling comfort.
  • Low, horizontal massing, flat roofs, emphasis on horizontal planes and broad roof overhangs:- Many modern homes these days tend to be on a generous site, however, not many can be. Not all modern designs have one story plans.
  • Emphasis of rectangular forms and horizontal and vertical lines:- Houses are based on looking like boxes. However, modern architecture can change this making a house unique and look completely different! We all dream of having that beautiful house that catches peoples’ eye. Materials are often used in well-defined planes and vertical forms to create the elements of a dramatic effect!
  • Lack of ornament:- Giving way to a clean aesthetic where materials meet in simple, well-executed joints. Helping in the construction of modern architecture.

What defines modern architecture?

There has always been some confusion with the terms modern and contemporary. This kind of confusion can lead up to the question; is contemporary architecture/design the same as modern architecture/design? The answer is both yes and no. Contemporary means now, where as modern refers to more the technological and engineering developments that date back to the 20th century. So to define this modern architecture focusses more on the industrial metals such as steel, concrete and glass. While contemporary design may use these elements, the design is considered to be forward thinking. Overall, modern architecture is defined by clean lines and minimalist interiors that allow the structure to speak for itself.

Why do people love modern architecture?

Modern architecture has something for everyone. Even if it doesn’t appeal to you, there are many elements of modern design that can lead to a new found love! The fundamentals of modern design are always clean and simple. Therefore a modern architect will express themselves through simplicity and clear views of structural elements and design details. Modern architecture boasts the actual structure and materials used in the building designs. That is why most modern designs feature elements of wood, steel and glass, in order to show-off these industrial structural materials.

Author: AC Architects