To understand architecture is to understand culture. In the last 70 years, the way we are as a nation and people can be revealed in the homes of each era it represents.
Though this isn’t the first modernist bent within architecture there are some parallels, particularly with post WWII economic expansion. In that short period more average American’s had personal cars and owned homes full of new stuff than ever before. Increased material goods require a need to store and organize it all. Thus came the modern home; a place of rest and joy in a much different manner.
In today’s world technology has a lot to do with our current mandate for the “simple” home. We are all tied to it and being able to unplug at home to really be with people is vital. In this we should have a home that’s easy to maintain and clean, a home that’s inviting, a home that is both an escape from the constant connections and a simultaneous embrace with our natural surroundings.
To respect nature the contemporary home is an exercise in restraint – both in the total area needed and the way it’s built. To save and take care of our surroundings today’s home is “just enough” in all ways, so that our predecessors can enjoy all that we are blessed to have.
Today’s contemporary home is simple, clean, organized and most of all… peaceful. It’s a place of rest, juxtaposition to our busy lives. It’s a place to be with family and friends, a place to wind down from our extremely active life of work and play that we are so fortunate to have.
To have a home that’s visually simple is a challenge in itself. It’s in the details that we can create peace and simplicity while conserving materials. Whether it’s the “elimination” of base trim, use of smooth faced cabinets or trim-less windows; the goal is to simplify without crossing the boundary to being sterile. It’s a fine balance.
In most modern homes the exteriors and interiors are larger, smoother surfaces to reflect the passion for simplicity… surfaces of natural materials in their “original wrapping”. The windows are full height, with lots of sunlight, increasing our connection to nature and that which is in front of us, but not always “visible” to us.
The car has become more of a utilitarian item. This has changed the garage. Now the car may or may not fit, but either way the garage is a work space, a space full of hobbies and projects that further the ability of the brain to decompress.
The idea of spaces being welcoming and comfortable is taking precedence over the size of the space, it’s quality over quantity. That’s what we focus on in the architecture of homes – designing just the right sized spaces to enjoy in a simple and peaceful manner with the full knowledge that “peace” may not always mean quiet.