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A Guide to Modern Architectural Designs and Styles

Modern architectural styles and designs dominated 20th-century architecture and transformed the skylines of cities around the world. Many of our homes are still influenced today. The architecture consists of the planning, designing, and construction of a building and other structures. Architecture has evolved and greatly advanced over the centuries. There are two ways to look at modern architecture. Firstly, the architecture of today and how we live our everyday lives in modern times. Secondly, as the ideals and visions that the architects of yesterday envisioned for modern society. According to OC Architects in Dublin, architecture is very relevant today more than it ever was. Here is our guide to modern architectural designs and styles.


What is Modern Architecture?

Modern architecture is architecture using new construction and innovative technologies, the use of glass, steel, and reinforced concrete. Modern architecture should embrace minimalism and follow function. Embrace the less is more look. Modern architecture became popular in the 1920s and 1930s.

The most famous modern architects

Architecture surrounds us daily, from the cool houses, and historical and iconic buildings we recognise instantly. The architects behind these homes and structures have paved the way for cutting edge innovation and ingenious designs, they are the greatest modern architects of all time.

  • Frank Gehry

Frank Gehry’s architecture is known to be the most innovative and distinctive architectural phenomenon around. His amazing ability to create a space that manipulates surfaces and forms and his unique material use almost defies all logic in how they work together. Some of his most remarkable and memorable projects include Der Neue Zollhof in Düsseldorf, the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, the Marques de Riscal Vineyard Hotel in Elciego, and the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao.

  • Philip Johnson 

Philp Johnson was an American architect who founded the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. He was renowned for his identifiable architectural works. His glass house in Connecticut is a very famous and familiar residence due to the use of materials with expansive glass vistas and minimal interiors. He is world-renowned for his use of crystal, steel, and glass. Some of his most famous projects include the Museum of Television of Radio and the crystal cathedral in California, the Seagram building in New York City, and the Philip Johnson house in Berlin, Germany.

  • Frank Lloyd Wright 

Frank Lloyd Wright is known to be one of the greatest architects of all time. He was an American and has a humble upbringing leading him to learn under Louis Sullivan, another outstanding architect. Frank was ahead of his time in construction methods and building forms and he thought of inside and outside spaces as one. He never attended an architecture school. His innovative detailing is still considered to be the best design and building concept. His most famous and remarkable projects include Arizona State University Gammage Auditorium and Taliesin West, the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, his studio and home in Scottsdale Arizona, and Fallingwater Residence in Mill Run Pennsylvania.

  • Ludwig Mies van der Rohe 

Mies is a German American architect and is one of the pioneers of modern architecture. Mies is known for his less is more and minimal approach and his forward-thinking of using structural steel and plate glass to divide interior spaces. His innovative open floor plans were first thought of by Van der Rohe and many of his furniture styles and interior concepts are used in many of today’s interiors and architectures. Some of his most famous projects include the new National Gallery in Berlin Germany, Barcelona Pavilion Spain, and Crown Hall in Chicago Illinois.

Architectural Styles and Designs 

  • Brutalism 

Brutalism originated from the modernist architectural movement and became popular in the 1970s. Brutalist architecture is monolithic and stark. It is a fixture of the landscape of our capital cities. Brutalism is defined by unique block-like structures and most feature building materials that are bare. Exposed concrete is most used during construction. This form of architecture began in Europe and is now widely used worldwide. This design and style are widely used in institutional building constructions. French-Swiss architect Le Corbusier created many building designs using brutalism architecture. Le Corbusier masterpiece the Unite d’habitation in Marseille influenced many brutalists designs. The 18-story high Unite combines offices, a rooftop terrace, and shopping streets.

  • Art Deco 

After the ornate Art Nouveau trend of the early 20th century, modern homes in an art deco style become very popular, hiding away pumps, wiring, and fixtures in a very artistic way.. Synonymous with hedonism and luxury, art deco’s sources of inspiration were eclectic. The Art Deco style first appeared in France before the 1st world war. Its name derives from the Arts Decoratifs in the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts that was held in Paris in 1925. The style combines fine craftsmanship, rich materials, and modern styles representing faith, glamour, exuberance, and luxury in technological progress. The leading art deco architects include Pierre Chareau a French designer known for his exquisite and furniture Parisian residence the Maison de Verre.

Modern architectural

  • Modern Scandinavian

Modern Scandinavian flourished in the pre and post WWII years and played a leading role in popularising the Mid-Century modern style. The architecture style and approach were softer and celebrated simplicity and craftsmanship. Cosy and calm interiors were designed for the colder Nordic climates, favouring neutral and muted colour palettes. The most modern Scandinavian architect was Alvo Aalto. He embraced fluid shapes and flowing curves throughout his designs to counterbalance sharp lines and modernist angles.

  • Mid-Century Modern 

Mid-century modern style first emerged in America and flourished on a global popularity scale. The Mid-century modern style was inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright a famous architect. It was a very prominent style in the 1950s and many decades before. Sliding glass doors, large windows, and open plan living enabled exterior and interior to flow seamlessly. Pops of bold colours and playful colour palettes were offset with calming neutral colours. Mies van der Rohe was the mastermind behind many mid-century modern homes like the Farnsworth house in Illinois.

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