Over the past while, many questions have been raised about the differences between Modern and Contemporary Styles. Modern and Contemporary mean the same thing, right? Not exactly.
Let’s look at the dictionary definitions:
mod·ern – Relating to the present or recent times as opposed to the remote past. “the pace of modern life”
con·tem·po·rar·y – Living or occurring at the same time. “the event was recorded by a contemporary historian”
- Dating from the same time. “this series of paintings is contemporary with other works in an early style”
- “Contemporary sources” – Belonging to or occurring in the present. “the tension and complexities of our contemporary society”
- synonyms: modern, up-to-date, up-to-the-minute, fashionable; More modish, latest, recent; informal trendy, with it, du jour, styling/stylin’
“a very contemporary design”
- antonyms: old-fashioned, out of date – following modern ideas or fashion in style or design.
Now, let’s look at these words from a layman’s viewpoint:
Modern = Current Moment, present, not in retrospect.
Contemporary = Occurring at the current moment, recent, and you guessed it, modern.
Wait, didn’t we say that Modern and Contemporary were different things? It is because we are talking about architecture!
Recently I was able to dig a little deeper into the archives at the Vancouver Heritage Foundation and learn about the architectural styles used in the area for the past 100+ years.
The example of “West Coast Modern” is very close to what we are seeing as a major trend in home design today, and yet the design dates from the 1940’s to 60’s. So “Modern” then, refers more to a style than an era. Got it!
Now what about “Contemporary”? Well, Contemporary isn’t an architectural style. It is more of a moment. You see, if you were building a Mission Revival in the 1920’s it would have been considered “contemporary” at the time, as it was relatable to the period it was being built. So now it get’s really confusing. In the 1960’s if you were building a Modern Home, it would also have been correct to call it “Contemporary”. To make it more confusing, in 2018 where West Coast Modern is on the continuous incline, WCM homes could also be called “Contemporary” because they are of the moment. If you are building something more along the lines of an updated Tudor Revival, while it may be considered Contemporary, it most certainly isn’t in the Modern Style.
The next time someone refers to their style as “Modern” or “Contemporary”, keep it simple:
Contemporary - Of the moment
Modern - An Architectural style made popular in the 1950’s and 60’s (Think of the Jetson’s)
Ok, it’s your turn. What’s your style? Are you more of a “Craftsman Bungalow” or a “Dutch Colonial Revival”? At the end of the day, no matter what you call it, my hope is that your home is a perfect representation of your style and uniqueness.
At Westeck, we only serve Custom Home Builders, Architects, Designers and Home Owners.
This enables us to focus in one area and one area alone. Our products, service and uniqueness separates us from all others.
Simply look at the hundreds of examples where Home Builders and Home Owners alike have trusted Westeck Windows and Doors to provide them with Windows and Doors that match their personal style, taste and decor.
To learn more of how you too could have windows and doors of this magnitude, visit one of our 7 locations or go to www.westeckwindows.com