According to the an article by the American Institute of Architects, the slowly recovering housing market has particularly benefitted families building new private homes. As the economy continues to bounce back, more families have accumulated the funding to focus again on the appearance of their abodes. And, with more houses being built across the world, architects have been busy finding new, creative, and sometimes peculiar ways to set their designs apart.
Browsing through our database of new projects, we've noticed an array of distinct design elements that add a fresh touch to contemporary residences. From sculptural elements on exterior walls, to shading systems that mitigate lighting, these are the seven contemporary trends that are defining the future of residential architecture.
Many contemporary homes use sculptural forms like smooth surfaces, shifted volumes, and projecting cantilevers to add some allure. More and more, however, we are seeing an entirely new formal element: the circular void. Like the oculus of the Pantheon, these round spaces punched into ceilings become a type of aperture that draws the eye to the sky, such as in Metropolis Peru's sleek House on the Hill, above, and Alejandro Retrepo Montoya's modernist-flavored UB House, below.
Architects have long used screens to shade from the sun and protect against excessive rain. Now, we're seeing screens covering skylights within homes. These overhead shading systems protect interior rooms from too much sunlight while reducing the need for artificial lighting. Not to mention, the slatted designs create some incredible shadows that change with the passing of the sun—see these extraordinary plays of light and pattern in the Veintiuno and Wind Houses, above and below.
Large, horizontal windows provide interior spaces with ample natural light, and are modernist trademark. But the reliance on these glazings in contemporary projects can become rather monotonous. The 9x9 Experimental House, above, and House in S.Abbondio, below, forgo the floor-to-ceiling window and instead incorporate an array of square openings placed throughout the façade—calling attention to the beauty found in straightforward geometry.
A smooth exterior wall can be the perfect canvas for architects to experiment with new design features. The architects of Zacatitos 004, above, and the Lorong M Telok Kurau House, below, designed moiré patterns that take form as a methodical arrangement of brick-like voids. From afar, these patterns appear subtle and understated, yet inside they provide a dramatic play of shadows.
Unlike old window shutters that function merely as nostalgic decor, new retractable panels are providing ways to both shade interiors from daylight while maintain a cutting-edge look. New-fangled systems can easily retract on cloudy days, while in the summer can help reduce thermal bridges and cooling costs—definitely useful when your house is in Brazil (as above) or Sydney (below).
Privacy, Privacy, Privacy
As our world's largest cities continue to grow and densify, architects are coming up with creative ways to block out the daily hustle and bustle and ensure privacy for residents—and nowhere is that more true than in Tokyo. Sometimes, these secluded interventions are exceptionally deliberate. Case in point, the House in Daizawa, which places a concrete wall between the residence and street like a buffer. The House in Mishuku Ⅱ, meanwhile, turns completely away from its surroundings by leaving out large windows and instead creating interior light wells for daylighting.
Implied Windows and Skylights
As we saw yesterday, the mere impression of a window or skylight is actually more exciting than the physical glazing itself. In many new residential homes—such as UArchitects' Split View, above, and MOBIUS's Atrium, below—window-like voids in exterior surfaces are created by horizontal beams resting on corner pillars, which act like a discernible outline that seems to imply a solid, enclosed form but instead denotes an exterior porch or terrace.