The Different Contemporary Styles
Contemporary architecture basically means architecture that is being made at the "current" time. All other period styles and house styles were once "contemporary" designs. By today's standards, contemporary is also applied to structures built in the 1980s and onwards granting improvements and optimization has been applied to the structure.
Contemporary home designs are no longer confined to one school of thought. There are various schools of thoughts. Some are new; others are revamped versions of period home styles. For the sake of avoiding confusion, the focus of this article will geared towards contemporary home designs and not contemporary architecture.
What are Contemporary Designs?
"Contemporary" encompasses all styles that are current but not necessarily "new". It could take on any form and shape. A contemporary house does not conform to symmetry. It has an odd irregular shape and lacks ornamentation. The windows may be its "saving" grace as they are tall, over-sized and some with odd shapes such as trapezoids. The floor plan is open- meaning the interior does not have a lot o walls to segregate the living and sleeping areas. The use of natural materials native to the locality is highly preferred. In essence, the house should be in complete harmony with the landscape.
Contemporary home designs should fit the lifestyle of the occupant and not the other way around. The modern or contemporary house should express the personal statement of the owner as interpreted by an architect. The new house should be modern and different in its layout, geometry and materials. Contemporary also deals with period or regional styles that are loosely interpreted sans traditional details. You can plan a house based on the architectural details of a colonial house style, modify its plan and load it with modern gadget and amenities and you get yourself a "Contemporary Colonial House".
Under Contemporary are other school of thoughts that belong.
Postmodern Style (1965 to present)
The style evolved from Modernism yet the style is in complete contrast to it. Modernism is minimalist. It is monotonous and boring. It is anonymous. Postmodernism combines traditional ideas with new innovative forms and the result could be quite unique, humorous, shocking and even bizarre to a point. Expect the unexpected. Postmodern homes have nothing in common except for the lack of commonality.
Postmodern styles can also be loosely used to describe Neoeclectic and Neotraditional homes. These styles pick details in ornamentation and designs from a variety of historic styles. However for these styles to be truly Postmodern, their designs should show the sense of originality and irony and surprise.
Postmodern styles are called contemporary styles but for them to be truly "contemporaries" the structures should be free from traditional or historical details.
This might prove to be a point of discussion for many supposedly contemporary homes are revamps of traditional and historical styles.
Neoeclectic Style (1965-present)
Eclectic is the name given to any design or style that is actually a hodgepodge of traditional, historic, cultural and period designs. It is the same with neoeclectic homes. They are hard to describe because they are a combination of many details and shapes from many styles.
The style came to be in the late 60s. A move to depart from the boring modernism prompted builders to design houses that combined details and designs from historic traditions. The houses were customized so to speak as prospective homeowners chose from a construction catalogue. Today there are home catalogues that you can buy where you can browse, choose, customize and buy the floor plan that you think is suitable.
These homes are sometimes called Postmodern because of their random borrowing from different styles without pausing to consider for context. However, there are truly architect-designed postmodern homes that are worthy.
Some features of a Neoecletic home are:
- Constructed in the late 1960s or later
- The use of a combination of different historic styles
- The use of details from other cultures
- The use of vinyl, bricks, stone and other composite materials.
Under Neoecletic house styles are: (1965 -Present)
1. Neocolonial House Style - The style is of a mixture of historic styles adapted for the changing lifestyle. Traditional Colonial or Period homes are imitated with the use of modern materials. The idea is to present a house that is reflective of a Colonial home but not to restore Colonial style. The interiors of these homes are filled with every conceivable high tech gadgets and conveniences. A Neocolonial home would have an almost rectangular shape. It could be 2 to 3 stories high with a centre entry hall at the ground floor. Living areas are usually at the ground floor while the bedrooms on the second floor. There could probably be a great room and large living areas. The roofline would be complicated with lots of bends and addition of dormers. The windows are double-hung and probably with shutters.
2. Neo-Mediterranean homes are a mixture of Spain, Italy, Morocco and other former Spanish colonies. However these homes are not recreation of homes built during the Spanish colonization but more of a ranch if the ornamentations are not included.
3. Neo-Traditional homes borrow details from the past and incorporate them in a construction using new materials. The idea is not to recreate the past but to bring nostalgia to a contemporary design.
Choose any home construction catalogue or browse any website dealing with such and you are likely to be surprised by the varied choices presented to you. Some of the homes offered are categorized (to name a few) are: The Plan Collection,
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