Contemporary architecture is based on the idea that is shared by all those who practice it: the wish and the will to design and build things that are different from what was done in the past and what is usually done in the present. It focuses on breaking away from the processes and ways of thinking that have become standard. 

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Let’s have a look at some primary characteristics :

Unconventional Materials | Contemporary Architecture

The soul of contemporary architecture is transformation, newness, and novelty. This doesn’t mean novelty as in pure whimsy, although there’s undoubtedly room for whimsy in it. The novel, in this case, means a willingness to experiment with the new, to try things that haven’t been tried before in terms of materials, form, space, and experience. It typically promotes the use of unconventional building materials or the use industrial materials in a household space.

Contemporary architecture is, by nature, unexpected and inventive. This inclination to relinquish the norm drives this style more than any specific visual trait, and one of the main techniques it bucks tradition is by amalgamating unique materials into the construction.

It tends to use a variety of other natural or organic materials, such as metal, concrete, wood, brick, and stone. Nowadays, many of these materials are sustainable, too, which is a huge bonus!

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Form | Contemporary Architecture

All we need to do is to look around to see that the commanding line in architecture is the straight line. Contemporary architecture tends to distance itself from this practice by choosing more often for curved lines, instead. In some cases, a building is completely designed around curved lines. In other cases, both curved and straight lines are incorporated in the same building.

The use of curved lines, rounded edges, and a divergence from the dominance of the straight line characterize this architecture. Pristine lines and minimalism are watchwords of it. 

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Composition of Volumes

The use of curved lines also makes it possible to design spaces that are not simply cubes, as is the case with straight lines. So, in this architecture, one sees buildings with rounded spaces. When it does make use of straight lines, meaning that the unit of volume is a cube, it strives to assemble these cubes in surprising ways to create a unique composition of volumes. 

As rounded shapes do, this composition also allows for the creation of interesting interior living spaces with unusual layouts. If you aren’t reticent about flaunting your dissimilarity and if you like the idea of experiencing a nonstandard living space, then this architecture is for you.

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Windows | Contemporary Architect

Larger and more bountiful windows are also a characteristic of this architecture. Multiple openings and their unusual positioning, panoramic windows, window walls, and skylights have all entered the playing field. One of the outcomes of this kind of fenestration, beyond creating spectacular views, is that it makes full use of the sunlight: first of all, like natural lighting, and secondly, to take advantage of passive solar heating. If you are fond of natural light or love spectacular views, this architecture is for you. 

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Environmental Considerations

Eco-housing is a characteristic that isn’t restricted. Many conventional buildings inculcate sustainable elements, or, at the very least, energy efficiency. But in this architecture, these elements are required. The use of photovoltaic cells, geothermal heating, heat pumps, heat exchangers, and thermal collectors is considered, to produce heat in new ways and conserve it. In the field of residential projects, for example, the aim is to integrate the home perfectly into its natural surroundings. The purpose is not only to protect the surroundings from disturbance but to turn them into one of the architectural elements that give the home its own, unique character. If environmental responsibility and the reduction of greenhouse gasses are among your top concerns, then it will suit you because it allows you to build a home that far exceeds present environmental standards.

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Animated Architecture

Animated architecture is the terminology given to the next characteristic that exists in several forms: sophisticated exterior building lighting, projections on facades that are often capable of interacting with passers-by or the users of the building, and water, which has recurred in the form of fountains of every type, waterfalls, and jets of water that may even be colored. The concept is to make the building feel more alive and to make its outer areas more animated.

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Bright, Open Interiors | Contemporary Architecture

Thanks to the preference for large glass windows and skylights, contemporary homes often boast an abundance of natural light. Similarly, they utilize an open floor plan, with minimal—or the total elimination of—many interior walls. Combine these two elements and you get a bright, comfortable, completely relaxing home.

Further, open floor plans are great for homeowners who love entertaining and want the kitchen to flow freely into the living and/or family room. They also add a sense of uniformity between rooms. 

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Flat Roofs

Flat, often overhanging roofs are another key feature in contemporary architecture. This may seem like a visual choice (and we’re not going to lie: we love the look!), but it also serves a specific purpose.

Overhanging roofs provide additional shade while simultaneously protecting your space from the elements. On top of that, these roofs expand the architecture into the outdoors, thus creating a more cohesive design—as well as a more enjoyable outdoor space.

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Geometric Simplicity

Californian contemporary homes often showcase a gleaming, clean aesthetic free from fussy exterior details. Unique materials can be used, as discussed above, but there is little else in the way of decorative trim or molding. Simplicity becomes the rule, which helps design a tranquil and luxurious atmosphere.

But don’t be fooled—it’s not all simple lines. Curved facades are common, too, and help break up any geometric monotony.

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Contemporary Architecture ©

Harmony with Nature | Contemporary Architect

Though we’ve already touched upon this point, it’s worth reiterating: contemporary architecture frequently revolves on the desire to create harmony between structure and nature.

The foremost use of large glass walls allows boundaries between indoors and outdoors to blur, while overhanging roofs bring the architecture into the outdoor realm. Additionally, contemporary spaces are often designed with landscaping already in mind. By considering decks, balconies, and terraces from the get-go, contemporary spaces further emphasize the enjoyment of stunning natural surroundings.

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The egress of classicized styles of building and construction also matters. Contemporary architecture has taken its place. There’s a new era of contemporary designs. It is almost impossible to give a concise definition of what it involves. This work of art relies on crisp, clean lines. Also, the value factor of modern architecture presents along with customized design structures. That said, specific processes, design values, and even materials define it. These factors can identify and define the work.


Prachi Surana is a budding Architect, studying in the Final Year B. Arch at BNCA, Pune. She is a dreamer, believer, hard worker and believes in the power of the Good. Prachi spends her time reading, painting, travelling, writing and working on the Design Team for NASA, India.