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You’re ready to hire an architect to design your dream home in Tulsa, OK. In your mind’s eye, that home is slightly out of focus, though you are clear on what it’s not. It is not a Tudor, nor Colonial, nor Victorian. Yet your custom home might contain elements of a particular architectural style. The home you see for yourself is unique to you and it has clean lines. Beautiful, classic, and innovative, a custom modern home designed to precisely reflect the way you live. How do you see it? Is it a modern custom home, or is it actually a contemporary custom home? We are going to explore modern and contemporary architecture styles so that you can make the best decision based on your requirements. 

Will The Architecture Of Your Custom Home Be Modernist?

Modernist architecture emerged at the end of the 19th Century as a move away from academic architectural styles like Gothic and Beaux-Arts toward an emphasis on minimalism: simple geometric forms, proportion, linear elements and the efficient use of interior spaces and natural light. 

Guided by the operating principle of “form follows function,” Modernist architects incorporated technological and engineering advancements of the time into their designs — the use of industrial materials like glass, steel, and reinforced, albeit stylized, concrete — and they used the traditional materials (wood, stone, brick) in new ways. In response to the innovation taking place in all areas around the world, Modernism ultimately achieved full expression as a philosophy and a general art movement. 

Highlights In The History Of Modernist Architecture 

The Modernist movement continued through the 1980s. Among its most famous architects are Frank Lloyd Wright, Philip Johnson, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Eero Saarinen and Walter Gropius. One notable example of an early Modernist home is the Glass House designed by Philip Johnson as his own private residence in New Canaan, Connecticut (1949). 

Constructed strictly of steel and glass, comprises four simple exterior walls, each with a central door, with no interior walls. Built in a bucolic setting and not visible from the road, the home is seen as part of the landscape.

 Another example of Modernist architecture, also the cover of 2001’s “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” album by the band Wilco, is Marina City in Chicago, Illinois (1959), a residential and commercial complex designed by Bertrand Goldberg. Marina City consists of two identical round 60 level towers. In each, the bottom 19 floors form an open spiral parking deck, and the 20th floors contain gym and laundry facilities. On the 21st through 60th levels, an elevator at the center is surrounded by a circular hallway with 16 sector-shaped apartment units. Each residence ends in a semi-circular balcony which is separated from living areas by a floor-to-ceiling window. Situated on the Chicago River, the complex has impressive views of Lake Michigan, the Loop and Navy Pier. 

Modernist Architectural History in Tulsa, OK 

In Tulsa, Oklahoma, a city rich in Art Deco architecture, enduring examples of modernist homes can be found in the historic Lortondale Neighborhood located on Pittsburg off 21st Street across from the Tulsa County Fairgrounds. 

The homes there were designed by Tulsa architect Donald Honn and constructed between 1954 and 1957. During the period of its construction, Lortondale received numerous awards for design. Currently, this neighborhood is in the midst of a renaissance, the Tulsa community is pursuing status on the National Historic Register. With many residences being updated to their former pristine condition, these are undiscovered gems to many Tulsans.

Contemporary Architecture As The New Way Of Looking At The Modern Custom Home

The Modernist Movement was followed by the emergence of contemporary architecture in the 1970s. Fluid, free form, and forward-looking in its approach to design, contemporary architecture is a style based upon the present moment. It has no single predominant feature, and it does not necessarily refer to any earlier stylistic movement. 

Contemporary custom home architects create homes to suit a client’s specific lifestyle, mindful of sustainability and multi-use spaces. The contemporary design invites innovation as it intends to attract the eye. 

Contemporary Architects

We see this attraction in the works of well known international contemporary architects such as Frank Gehry, Renzo Piano, Ieoh Ming Pei and Zaha Hadid. Gehry’s Dancing House in Prague, Czechoslovakia (1996), a building he designed in collaboration with the Croatian-Czech architect Vlado Milunić, is one renowned example of contemporary work. 

Here the architect designed a structure radically different from the Baroque, Art Nouveau and Gothic buildings that surround it, creating a beautiful discordance in the space. Large pieces of twisted metal, curved pillars of various sizes, cement panels and a glass tower combine to convey a sense of movement amid formal, traditional architecture. 

Another example is CityLife, a residential district in Milan, Italy (2014-2017), designed by Zaha Hadid together with architects Arata Isozaki and Daniel Libeskind. The 90-acre complex, located a short distance from Milan’s historic city center, includes three commercial skyscrapers (Tre Torri) which house restaurants, offices, services and shops. 

Surrounding the towers are residential buildings and vast public green spaces. With an eye toward sustainability, the architects designed a state of the art energy system, and they designated the complex, now linked to Milan’s metro system, as car-free, this made possible by an underground road network. The award-winning designs of the CityLife complex stand as iconic examples of how innovation and new technology can be applied in contemporary architecture. 

Looking To The Future And Your Custom Home

It may be that that dream custom home you visualize is actually a marriage of various influences chosen for your individual set of likes and desires and requirements. Perhaps you enjoy the stairless style of a modern ranch or a modern farmhouse style home. Whether you have only a snapshot of an idea or already have a grand vision for your future home, our architects can help make your dream home a reality. 

While it’s true that the custom home process can be daunting, an experienced custom home architect will have the specialized skills and knowledge to guide you in the process of designing your dream home. Whether it’s simplifying local regulations, providing site analysis or balancing modern and contemporary aesthetics, a custom home architect brings clarity to the process and your custom home dream into focus.

If now is not the time to build your personalized dream home, when?