Modern homes are among some of the most enigmatic architectural designs in the world. Modernism has evolved throughout our history and tends to carry different definitions depending on who is offering an opinion.
Many of the best modern home designs in our past have gone unrecognized for decades—seemingly too far ahead of their time to be appreciated. We’ve put together a list of modern home designs to provide an in-depth survey of just what modern might mean.
Modern Homes vs.Recent Homes
Before we dive into the world of modern architecture and home design, let’s agree on some terminology. You don’t have to accept our impression of what ‘modern’ means within the scope of architecture—but letting it guide you through this article will help provide context. Within the context of this article, we use the word modern to mean more efficient.
This may mean more efficient use of space, more efficient use of materials, or even more efficient means of communicating overall design intention. Modern architecture is hard to put words to, so dive in as we cover some of the examples we feel best to represent modern architecture. We wouldn’t presume to say these homes are the best modern homes in the world—only that they do well to illustrate the characteristic features of modern home design.
1 Lawrence Street Residence by Design Platform
Located in the RiNo neighborhood of Denver Colorado, this modern design features a well-balanced use of dark metal materials and raw natural woods. This project was completed by Design Platform as part of a renovation to an existing home, adding nearly 1000 square feet of additional living space. Inside, the residence is characteristic of modern design in its use of straight lines, unabashed display of 90-degree angles, and use of neutral tones and colors. The use of living edge woods and rough-sewn outer wood materials, in combination with such modern materials, gives this modern home a strong Scandinavian accent in its presentation.
2 House on the Point by Stelle & Co. Architects
This home displays a more commonly-recognized box form seen in modern design. While lavish in conception, this home is ultimately modest in size. The House on the Point was designed by Stelle & Co. Architects and is located on Ocean-front in Water Mill, New York. This home is sheathed in a weather-resistant red cedar which offers a subtle presence among the gently rolling dunes of its surroundings. Large picture windows help make full use of scenic views afforded from sunrise to sunset and sliding doors on the ground level afford a brash concert with the outdoor breeze when so desired. This home characterizes the less is more essence of modern home styles that so often captivates onlookers.
3 Rank Residence by Tonic Design
This design features tall vertical spaces centered about a series of modernized staircases to usher movement between floors. The Rank Residence was designed by Tonic Design out of Raleigh North Carolina and is located in nearby Pittsboro North Carolina on a 60-acre lot. The architects were tasked to build a modern gothic home with a strong focus on privacy. Revealed only through tall narrow windows, the interior of this home is accented by many genres of artwork displayed in gallery style within custom focal areas. These views are a sort of narrative for those who wander the space. This 4 story home was made of wood framing and pushed to boundaries of what was structurally possible.
4 Tribeca Loft by Office of Architecture
This modernized loft was completed by the Office of Architecture based out of Brooklyn, New York. They have only been around since 2012 but have already had their work featured in many major architectural publications. This space is a single story renovation of a 19th-century era warehouse building in the Tribeca area. OA architecture focused heavily on allowing natural light to invigorate the living spaces of this home. The only elements remaining of the original design are structural ones—steel support columns and rough-sewn wooden beams. The design of this home incorporates each of these features incredibly in such a manner to pay homage to the architects of eras passed. Beautiful straight lines and elegant walnuts help this space express characteristics of true modern harmony.
5 House in Bratislava Ii by Ok Plan Architects
This incredible home design is located near the border of Slovakia and Austria in Bratislava. This modern home exudes an incredible harmony between natural and man-made materials. In many locations throughout, this design by OK Plan Architects has floor-to-ceiling black aluminum framed windows which terminate into masonry or other natural materials.
To further liven this residence’s characteristics of nature OK Plan chose to integrate many curved walls and features such as the inner library—isolated by a curved pocket door. Wood materials in this project are mostly cedar planking and all stone was sourced from nearby quarries. This home is a magnificent illustration of how just because a home features a modern design doesn’t mean it can’t have more traditional elements.
6 Stillhouse Residence by Arielle Schechter
This Chapel Hill North Carolina home is hard to distill into simple words. It creates an expansive presence within the grounds in such a manner as to almost be reminiscent of an observatory or natural museum. Its grounds are elegantly engulfed by natural features such as stone walkways, ponds, and very intimate gardens that bring forth zenlike presence. Inside this modern home, space is characterized by expansive open areas bordered by large windowed wall space.
This wonder of modern architecture by Arielle Schechter shouldn’t be limited in perspective to simply being modern. It does well do display many core disciplines of architecture in one well-balanced harmonious space. We concede we lack the vocabulary to truly describe this space so we urge a close look at the gallery below.
7 Crater House by Transepto
This magnificent concrete home is located in Mexico City and was designed by TRANSepto Architects. In what many might imagine a Howard Roark design might have looked like, this modern home features cascades of angled concrete and floor-to-ceiling glass. The boundaries of this home feature narrow spaces immersed into the beautiful surrounding environment by their massive glass features.
This modern home features many different materials ranging from pine, poured concrete and raw natural pines. This home is very reminiscent of the mid-century brutalism and is in good company with the resilient Mexican foliage chosen for the surrounding gardens and grounds. This home does well to illustrate the prowess by which stark, powerful, clean lines organize to encompass space within the realm of modern architecture.
Modern architectural design isn’t defined by any single style or period in time. Throughout the ages, there have been those designs that pushed the limits of material and structural capability as well as those that pushed the limits of our imagination. The efficient use of materials, space, and forces are characteristic of many modern designs but certainly not prerequisites. The homes here serve well to help illustrate a wide range of design elements and different architectural mindsets that are found within the modern style.