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Architecture, Modern Vs Contemporary; Same but Different

Jaydeep Chauhan
Dec 13, '18 2:18 AM EST

Words modern and contemporary architecture is regularly used interchangeably and thought of as the same. However, it’s a myth, as there are elements that differentiate one from another.

Real estate market off lately is using the terms "modern" and "contemporary" a lot for descriptions of various beautiful houses in their advertisements. And while all of them use the word as if they mean the same thing, they are actually very different. The difference between contemporary architecture and modern architecture is that these are two very different styles, and different is the look that they give to buildings. Just a small note, that 3D CAD models, 3D interior/exterior models & 3D floor plan designs with 3D imaging, for contemporary and modern architecture, helps in fully realizing the inherent design potential in a project/building.

Rudimentary difference

If looked at simply, modern architecture is the type of style built between the early years of 1900s to 1950s. It is a very discrete and defined style – and does not seem to change for long. So images of houses built today that you see and think of it to be “modern”, is actually not what it means in terms of architecture. As against these, it is a challenge to pinpoint what exactly is “contemporary”, because the styles and fashions and trends change so very quickly.

So basically, modern architecture refers to a specific time period in the US history, whereas contemporary architecture refers to the evolutionary and every changing tends in house designs.

Modern Architecture

Now let’s move a step further from understanding the basic difference between the two. Modern designs walked in to the market, or you can say were introduced, after a long period of highly decorated and fancy home designs which were used more than often in the end of the 19th century. Eclecticism, Victorian and Edwardian architectural styles which were more inclined towards the arrangement of the natural features of an area; but architects, contractors and even inhabitants chose to go against this tradition.

Modern architects designed and contractors constructed homes with open floor plans, asymmetry, and huge panels of windows or glass walls. This was completely against the tradition of building houses with ornate flare, built usually during those years. Modern architecture made an effort to create a simple home that was highly functional and left out anything and everything which was unnecessary.

When modern architecture came into existence, advanced technology was also used simultaneously. More and more architectural firms and contractors started moving away from their roots to enter into the fast-paced building construction environment. The darker side to it was that there was no space for creativity, spirituality and emotional connection.

Modernists looked out for opportunities to enable inhabitants to feel closer and more connected to nature and hence started building homes that had no boundaries between inside and outside. They ensured that the outside of the home complimented the environment in and around it.

Today's Modern

Today we see homes designed to look modern, but consider them to be cold as those stark lines and minimalizm puts you off. But upon entering inside the house, no wonder you will get surprised at the warmth it offers through dark, rich woods and marble used in combination to the warm colors.

Contemporary Architecture

So on one hand, where modern architecture finds connect with nature and simplicity, the contemporary architecture picks up things going on now – which we call “trendy”. Architects using contemporary style to design homes and construction firms taking up these projects ensure to make these houses as innovative and advanced as they can be. 

However, personally speaking these homes always appear to be a bit complex as compared to modern homes. It may be due to the reason that architects and contractors try and incorporate various types of styles and create free-form lines and movements – all within the structure. Though contemporary homes started emerging in the 1970s the style has not remained the same since. Contemporary style sticks with the times and what is popular “now”, hence frequent changes.

Contemporary architecture and modern architecture, though same but different; have lot of features in common - giving hard time to choose the best. Homes with that label of “contemporary” are usually influenced by different architectural styles.

Contemporary homes built today do pay homage to craftsman-style homes; but also keep up with large and open floor plans that modern homes promoted in a way. More interesting is the fact that this kind of architecture is not dependent on any one style, and treats all of them as equals.

Today's Contemporary

Definition of today’s contemporary home is inclusion of too many high tech features. Simultaneously the demand for eco-friendly or green homes as you may say; is also on the rise, which ultimately increases the demand for more energy efficient measures and sustainability. Homes made from repurposed barn wood or old shipping containers are also quickly rising in popularity.

Architecture - Modern vs. Contemporary

Though, this segment is to talk about the difference between modern and contemporary architecture, if we just put the visual difference aside for a while, there is a more stubborn difference between the two of them. If a house is listed as “modern” it tends to sell a lot faster, and not to forget that modern homes are far more expensive than contemporary homes. One of the speculations behind this could be that people hold a negative connotation for the word “contemporary”, as they think it means “dated”.

So which is better?

Only thing that can be derived from the definitions of modern and contemporary architecture is that both of them offer beautiful homes, it’s just that they are different from one another. If not the definition, think of it where modern architecture indicates a specific time period and contemporary means the “now” trend.

Be it modern or contemporary, the basic requirement here is of comprehensive architectural design services allowing you to take complete advantage of various CAD design abilities. Their professional architectural design services, modern or contemporary, comes in with best space management and positive energy. With experience of executing various 3D CAD models design projects, 3D interior/exterior models design & 3D floor plan design, they provide 3D imaging to fully realize the inherent design potential in a project/building.