The beginning of modern architecture came at a time when craftsmanship was being replaced by mechanized manufacturing. Modern architects have worked to reinvent building methods that focus more on how humans live versus what they find beautiful. This architecture is not sentimental, like revival styles. Instead, it is innovative, experimental, and limited. There are many styles of modern architecture in the United States alone. From 1930 through 1970, there are categories like Expressionist, Constructivist, and Mid-Century Modern, to name a few.
Modern architecture is a building style that emphasizes functionality and simplified form over decoration. This design aesthetic is a departure from more elaborate and ornate homes such as Queen Anne, Victorian, or Gothic styles. Modern architecture usually includes sharp, clean lines.
As there are many styles of modern architecture, there are many distinct characteristics. These are some of the most common and broadest key features that can be seen across many different forms:
- Clean and limited lines. These fonts lack additional embellishment and are generally smooth and consistent in texture.
- Wide roof overhangs. Many modern homes emphasize low, horizontal structures with large overhanging ceilings.
- Glass walls and large windows. You will find a very generous use of glass, which allows a large amount of natural light to enter the interior.
- Open and well-defined floor plans. As modern architecture places more emphasis on form than function, the architects sought to include large, spacious floor plans with dining and living spaces flowing into one another.
- Modern and traditional building materials. Some of the materials common in modern homes include steel, concrete blocks, iron, and glass. More traditional building materials such as wood, brick, and stone have been used in more visible ways to show off their natural beauty.
- Relationship to the external environment. Lots of thought when entering construction sites and how the buildings relate to the surrounding landscape.
- Asymmetrical designs. Modern architects played with large, soft shapes and asymmetrical compositions that were cleanly planned and lacked any additional embellishment.
Modern architecture is different from contemporary architecture. For some people, modern and contemporary architecture are the same thing. However, modern architecture is inspired by an art movement known as modernism and lasted until about 1960. Contemporary architecture includes architecture from the 1960s until today. In short, contemporary architecture reflects the styles in this present moment, which just so happen to be very diverse.
In short, modern architecture began in the early twentieth century and ended roughly in the 1960s when more contemporary designs took over. The basic principles of modern architecture include form following function, clean lines, and lack of ornament. Eventually, modern principles became too cold for everyday life due to the excess of space and the stark nature of building materials.