Are you a fan of architecture but didn’t make it past the first semester of design school? No worries, you don’t have to endure countless years of T-square usage with this guide to modern architecture. You’ll learn how to tell the difference between architectural styles when you see a specific type of built form (Built form is a fancy way of saying building).

What is Modern Architecture?

Modern architecture is defined as the rejection of ornamental building and embracing more minimalism in design. It dominated the architecture world in the 20th century and was prominent in the 1920s.

The founding architects of this era, like Le Corbusier, Mies Van Der Rohe, and Walter Gropius, kept simplicity in mind when they designed famous buildings we see all over the world. But it wasn’t just a design style; it was a way of life as it became a philosophy followed by even designers today.

Architects looked at the following when designing in modern architecture:

  • Openness of structural innovation
  • Analytical approach to building function
  • Rational use of materials and trying new ones
  • Elimination of ornament

Timeless architectural style

If you are looking to design your own home or have been browsing luxury real estate, these are the characteristics of modern architecture to look for:

  • Flat roofs
  • Reinforced concrete
  • Tendency to use white or cream of building color
  • Asymmetrical compositions
  • Use of cubic or cylindrical shapes
  • Glass and metal frameworks for large windows in horizontal bands
  • Absence of mouldings or ornaments

Significant buildings of modern architecture

If you are walking around a city full of architectural style, you might have walked by buildings significant to modern design.

Here are the top three buildings which defined modern architecture:

  1. Barcelona Pavilion, Spain; Mies van Der Rohe: This open floor plan gem has straight lines and sharp angles for a modern space.
  2. Villa Savoye, France; Le Corbusier: The structure which defined Le Corbusier’s “five points” of architecture: flat roof terrace, open plan, slender pillars, ribbon windows, and a free facade.
  3. The Seagram Building, USA; Mies van Der Rohe: Granite plaza and an active public space, this New York building uses new materials, like grey topaz glass, in true modern architectural style.

Keep Your Eyes Out for Modern Architecture

Architectural styles are all around, and when you discover the significant features to look for, it becomes more fun to walk amongst skyscrapers. You also begin to see the architect’s unique features which help you identify who designed it. Start looking up to the buildings around you.

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