Contemporary Architecture and Design - Explained

Decoration and Design
Additions and Remodels
Architecture
By Contractors.com Team July 19, 2021

Because of how loose the description of contemporary architecture and design can be, many people struggle to understand exactly what this style looks like and what elements it entails. This is to be expected, considering how the word “contemporary” is applied to many architectural and interior design features that are considered even remotely “modern”.

But despite the misconceptions and the grey lines, there are concrete and defining aspects of contemporary architecture and design. Knowing these features could help you implement them into your own home and create a perfectly cool contemporary interior

The Roots of Contemporary Style

The Rise of Sleek Contemporary Interiors

The Rise of Sleek Contemporary Interiors

The biggest reason why the contemporary aesthetic is so hard to define is that it does not have one single style. Instead, it is the conglomeration of various modern designs, styles, and ideas. Even some works of architecture and interior design that date back to as early as the beginning of the 20th century can be considered contemporary. However, the majority of architectural trends in the 20th century were based on modernism. Contemporary design, therefore, refers more to buildings constructed in the 21st century. 

If you look through the biggest works of architecture, as well as design trends of the previous century, you will see that there is one factor that brings them all together: the striving for something unique and different.

For the longest time, classical architecture was all about uniformity. Even the more ornate mansions and castles, as complex as they may have been, always strived for some amount of homogeneity and symmetry. Contemporary architecture pushes that aside and instead focuses on the expression of creativity, rather than following blueprints of thought or jumping on old bandwagons.

How to Recognize Contemporary Architecture and Design 

The Elements of Contemporary Design That Make It Work

The Elements of Contemporary Design That Make It Work

While some of the most popular examples of contemporary architecture can be found in soaring skyscrapers and huge complexes, residential homes have also received modern treatment. 

Modern Materials

What Materials You Will Find In Contemporary Interiors

What Materials You Will Find In Contemporary Interiors

A big part of contemporary design is utilizing the materials and textures that are available to us today. This includes materials that are relatively new in the craft of architecture and building such as vinyl, steel, and aluminum. But there are also updated versions of traditional materials that enter the scene, such as engineered wood, fly ash bricks, and the more sturdy modern variations of concrete. 

Older, more traditional materials also have their place in modern architecture and design. For example, you can find natural wooden furniture in many homes to this day. However, as opposed to being the bulk of the construction material, wood today is usually used as an accent element for the interior or exterior of buildings. As with many other elements of interior design, contemporary design is about finding a balance between the old and new and exploiting the advantages they both offer.

A Biophilic Touch

Ways You Can Implement More Natural Elements In Your Contemporary Design

Ways You Can Implement More Natural Elements In Your Contemporary Design

Biophilia has been around for quite some time. Gardening is one of the oldest hobbies humanity has partaken in, so naturally, humans also bring biophilia into their homes. You can find all kinds of biophilic design features on the exterior and interior of a contemporary house. Landscapers and hardscape designers have found ingenious ways of bringing architecture and nature together, deemphasizing the border between natural and artificial.

Living walls, terrariums, hanging plants, and even simple green accent walls are all perfect examples of biophilia in contemporary design. This blend between the world of natural and artificial forms offers more benefits than mere eye candy for homeowners. Countless studies have shown how being closer to nature helps individuals lower their stress levels, allows them to focus, and remain in a generally better mood. This is especially organic to realize in contemporary spaces that have more, well, open spaces.

Defined Forms and Shapes

Sleek Forms and Surfaces That Define Contemporary Design

Sleek Forms and Surfaces That Define Contemporary Design

While form has long been an integral part of architectural design, the contemporary focus on defined forms and shapes is very different from what we’ve had in centuries prior. In the case of classical architecture, form follows function. Why are roofs triangular and slanted? Because otherwise, rainwater would pool up on top of the roofs, causing damage. Why are so many houses we see symmetrical? Because it means they are easier to build since there is less complexity in the fundamental design of the structure.

Thanks to advancements in construction technology, architects and contractors have more freedom to get creative with forms, allowing for more unconventional shapes to be front and center. While they may lack the complex ornaments of classical architecture, modern forms are simple, yet smooth designs that are forgiving of asymmetry. 

How to Design Your Contemporary Interior

There are several elements that you can implement that will help you create a contemporary interior. These range from small additions, to remodels, all of which are capable of transforming your interior into a sleek contemporary paradise.

Bright Contemporary Living Room Inspiration and Design Ideas

Bright Contemporary Living Room Inspiration and Design Ideas

Open Spaces

One very important aspect of contemporary interiors is its open floor plans. While there are some modern design styles and aesthetics which push for a little more intimate atmosphere, most contemporary designs strive for open spaces by making the best out of minimal decor, ornaments, and furniture.

While open spaces are important in contemporary interior, having empty rooms is not always aesthetically pleasing. Find a balance between the furniture, decor, and the open spaces of the room. Allow the furniture and decor to complement the room, as opposed to filling it. 

Natural Light

The Power of Natural Light and How It Can Create a Vibrant Interior

The Power of Natural Light and How It Can Create a Vibrant Interior

Lighting is crucial in design. From the way it interacts with colors, to how much of it comes through the windows, getting the lighting of an interior right is difficult. Nevertheless getting interior lighting just right can be quite the rewarding game changer so it’s worth giving it enough thought. Contemporary lighting has gone beyond simple fixtures and bulbs. Many contemporary house designs take advantage of natural light, as this is not only energy-efficient but is also in many ways healthier for the household.

Big panoramic windows can make for a fantastic addition to a contemporary building. If this is not possible due to a lack of space, you could always install windows with larger panes. Installing skylights is also a great way to bring in more natural light into your home. By deemphasizing artificial light and allowing for natural light to brighten up your home, you’ll be well on your way to a more contemporary-looking interior.

Integrating the Exterior Into the Interior

How to Blend the Artificial and Natural to Create a Unique Exterior

How to Blend the Artificial and Natural to Create a Unique Exterior

Biophilic design goes beyond having the color green on a few walls or several potted plants lying around the house. One way to improve the biophilic design in your home is by making the border between your landscape and house a little vague. Implement some outdoor living space, whether it’s a patio or deck. Have a gardener or landscape designer come in and incorporate the nature which surrounds your home with that outer living space.

This can be done in a variety of ways, including adding more grass around a deck or patio. Cultivating plants around the entirety of the house is also a great way to implement nature into the design of your home’s exterior. The clean, sleek shapes of a contemporary exterior can be perfectly complemented by the chaotic heterogeneity of nature, with vibrant colors and rich textures.

Written by
Contractors.com Team

Written by Contractors.com Team