The style of modern houses

The term “modern houses” is used to describe a certain style within architecture. More specifically the clean cut designs that some avant-garde architects started designing around the 1920. This style broke with the more traditional house designs and established building traditions up to that point. The style is also called modern architecture or modernisme (not to be confused with catalan modernism) also. What is called international style or funkis (shortened from functionalism) in Scandinavia, is a subgroup of the modern style architecture. Other subgroups of the style is Brutalism and High Tech Architecture.

Funkis (from functionalism) is actually very descriptive of the style, were functionality is a key element. There is in fact a quote from Lois Sullivan, an American architect who is by many considered the forefather of the style, describes the importance of function in this design, with a quote says that “form follows function”. Some of the best known architects that worked within this style were the Swiss-French architect Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Gropius among others.

The break-through of the style of modern houses

It wasn’t until around the 1960, however that this architectural approach made its break-through. So lets take a look at some examples of modern houses before we continue.

A funkis house in Bergen

This photo was taken by Frode Inge Helland. It is the residence of Lou Eide, Bergen, Norway. Architect Leif Grung 1934. Example of functionalist architecture in Norway. This particular residence from 1934 shows almost all of the early modern houses characteristics like cubic form, flat roof, terrace on the roof, concrete construction, corner window, ribbon windows (slim window trims), rounded roof overhang, etc.

A house in Austin

This is another photo from the same time period (1939), but this time from Austin, Texas. It features the same characteristic elements as the previous house.​


Now, it has certainly been a while since these two houses were built and the modern style houses have evolved tremendously since then, however, they are still very recognizable with their characteristic cubic form.

They will often, but not always skip the rounded shape. Corner windows is often a characteristic they will feature the corner window. But of course houses featuring both of these old characteristics can be found among the contemporary modern houses too, just check this one out.

This particular house do feature the rounded shape and even though it probably isn’t much bigger than the two older houses the big windows and the lighting gives it a luxurious feel.

Modern house

Modern houses lend themselves to be creative, they are not bound by the same limits as a wood house, but can certainly also find down to earth modern style houses too. Just take a look at this.

https://i2.wp.com/houseplansbydesign.com.au/wp-content/gallery/contemporary-1/contemporary-house-plans-1-reduced.jpg?resize=519%2C284&ssl=1

As any other house today also the modern style houses may be prefabricated or they may be site built the traditional way.

Cement is a construction material that is often used in modern houses style, also in combination with other materials like steel, wood or glass. You may want to check which of these materials are best for your climate in terms of energy efficiency etc.

The contemporary modern houses are sleek, elegant and often with a luxurious feel to them. They often have big open rooms, clean lines and makes use of big windows or strategically placed windows that lets in lots of light. The style does not use ornaments but will create dazzling effects with combination of materials and or shapes. You will often also notice that these houses also connects well to the gardens and outdoor spaces that surrounds them.


modern houses

You may find that many of the modern style houses built today features a steel frame. Read our article about steel homes to learn what you should keep in mind if you build with a steel frame.

This house is a perfect example of the use of shapes for visual effect and it also creates that inside-outside feeling.


If this is a style you like and you think you would want your home built in this style, there are a couple of things you might want to consider:

  • Make sure that you buy your housing project from an experienced company and that you use experienced builders (this is off course a good advice for any house building project).
  • Take into account the weather conditions in the area you will build. For instance it might not be a good idea to have flat roof in an area with lots of snow during winter as that puts a lot of extra weight on the building. Flat roofs are also more propense for drainage issues.
  • These designs are carefully balanced and does not easily admit modifications or extension further down the road, without loosing or having their particularity compromised.

So what if you like the modern houses, but you are not comfortable with the big windows and they make you feel like a fish in a bowl? Well, there are solutions for that too. You can make use of exterior landscaping to achieve more privacy, but there are also a few other measures you can take like the installation of high tech privacy glass, film, shades etc.