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Principles of Modern Architecture


What is Modern Architecture


Modern architecture is defined by the use of innovative and new construction technologies, especially the use of steel, reinforced concrete, and glass. There is also a clear rejection of ornament in modernistic architecture.


Modern architecture became dominant after the 2nd World War when it was taken as the main style for corporate and institutional buildings.


There are two principles of modernism namely:


Form follows function


It means that understanding the purpose of a building should dictate how it looks, also known as functionalism. It was first coined by Louis Sullivan, an American architect.


Truth to materials


Materials should be used in places where they are best suited without concealing the material’s character and look. The theory was championed by the Bauhaus Movement which took it as a core principle and maintained that materials to be used in their ‘honest’ form.





Modern architecture characteristics


Here are some key characteristics of modern architecture:

  • Lack of ornament: buildings are clean and simple.

  • Vertical and horizontal lines and rectangular forms: House shapes are linked boxes or boxed based.

  • Horizontal massing, single storey, flat roofs

  • Modern systems and materials use: exposed material application, columns made of steel, exposed concrete block.

  • Emphasis on the materials: exposed brick, concrete block. Timber not painted

  • Strong relationships between inside and outside: Use of large full height windows

  • Open plan design: rooms flow into different spaces with no boundaries

  • Naturally lit spaces with the use of full height windows: Multiple viewpoints through buildings.