Contemporary houses: Architectural characteristics

by Joe N. Pollifrone 08/08/2022

While contemporary architecture can be difficult to define, there are several key characteristics you can use to identify contemporary houses. Everything from the building materials to the interior layouts can help you pinpoint exactly where a home fits in the contemporary style spectrum.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to pick a contemporary home out from the crowd, here is a quick guide to some of the most important factors to consider:

Asymmetry & free-form shapes

Contemporary house plans feature an emphasis on asymmetrical designs. You can find this both in the exterior and interior of the home, with free-form layouts, shapes and arrangement of major structural features.

Open floor plans are prevalent, giving the homeowner freedom and flexibility to build their living spaces with their personal sense of balance.

Curved lines & rounded forms

One way contemporary architecture differs from modern architecture is its preference for curves and round shapes in exterior design. Contemporary design uses plenty of clean, simple lines, but errs on the side of rounded shapes rather than sharp angles.

Contemporary home plans tend to inspire interior design decisions like rounded furniture and organic motifs.

Green roofs & living walls

The emphasis on nature that began with modern architecture still rings true in contemporary house plans. Abundant windows for natural light, and heavy use of natural materials like wood and stone are major aspects of this theme, but contemporary homes take it further with green roofs and living walls.

Green roofs involve a layer of living vegetation installed on flat or slightly sloped roofs. They are popular architectural features in densely populated areas where homeowners wish to do their part to reduce air pollution. Living walls are often situated on the interior of the house, and feature various types of live plants sustained by integrated irrigation systems.

Contemporary house designs are varied and difficult to define. However, these important elements are useful in recognizing contemporary house plans - or designing your own.

About the Author

Joe N. Pollifrone

For over 30 years, Joe Pollifrone has practiced real estate full-time as a licensed Real Estate Broker in California. Joe’s vast sales experience includes duplexes, tri-plexes, four-plexes, apartment buildings, land, condominiums, townhomes, fixer-uppers, estate properties, and bank-owned properties (REOs). He also is active in selling non-owner occupied properties and is well-versed in 1031 tax-deferred exchanges, property management, tenant/landlord issues, and local laws. During Joe’s career to date, he has sold in excess of $200,000,000 of real estate, including over $32,000,000 in REOs. 

Joe brought his deep experience to Sereno Group Willow Glen as a Broker Associate in 2012. He was the Sales Manager and lead a top-producing office. Joe would mentor new Sereno hires, making sure that they’re comfortable with the ethos of the office, plugged into Sereno’s network of contacts, and well-versed in the technology required of today’s real estate professionals. 

Joe prides himself on his proven ability to negotiate, extensive knowledge of contracts, and securing close of escrows in a timely manner. Both he and his clients credit his success to effective communication skills, honesty, and hard work. Joe is a native of San Jose and resides in Willow Glen with his wife of twenty-seven years, Kimi, his daughters Milan and Micaela and their two Goldendoodles, Tony-Luca and Marco.