Contemporary Modular Design

Transforming and growing according to the needs of the user is a key characteristic of modular architecture and design. It’s almost like a collaborative process, with the designer creating a system and the consumer implementing it to suit their needs.

Similar to wooden building blocks, the individual units are simple: a square, a rectangle, a tube—a table or chair. In combination the modules become increasingly complex and customizable, changing to fit the situation.

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MIMA House by MIMA Architects

The exterior and interior walls of this prefabricated home can be easily moved, allowing a the homeowner to customize the space.

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04 Counter, Tools for Life by OMA for Knoll

Photos: Agostino Osio, courtesy of OMA and Knoll

The 04 Counter is Rem Koolhaas’ signature piece of his line of furniture for Knoll. “Beginning as a monolithic stack of three horizontal beams, the user can rotate the top two beams and transform this wall-like unit into a series of shelves and cantilevered benches—a metamorphosis from a spatial partition to a communal gathering place.”

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Axor Bouroullec by Hansgrohe


Kandinsky’s Color Theory Translated Into Architecture


YOUNG DISABLED MODULS///g.bang/// josé javier gallardo, Zaragoza, Spain

Wassily Kandinsky’s art explored the relationship between color and its viewers. He eschewed the greys, browns, and blacks of Cubism, embracing color as the primary vehicle for expression. In doing so he completely separated painting from a need to depict a subject. The goal of Kandinsky’s art was to capture music in a plastic medium, to evoke the same feelings a piece of music could evoke through shades and hues.


Color Study: Squares with Concentric Circles by Wassily Kandinsky. Image via Wikipaintings

The theories he developed about color and meaning would prove influential in all creative fields, with the De Stijl movement expanding his philosophies and incorporating color into industrial design and architecture. Employing the color wheel, Kandinsky went through each hue, explaining the feelings it evoked, emotions it captured, and the sound it “made.”

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123 social green housing in MadridSOMOS.arquitectos, Madrid


Falcon HeadquartersRojkind Arquitectos, San Angel, Mexico

Modern Minimalist Chiaroscuro


House in El Carmen by Fran Silvestre Arquitectos

A 19th century residential building in Spain is the last place one would expect to encounter an interior dedicated to minimalism. But at the House in El Carmen, almost all unnecessary design elements have been eliminated, leaving an environment that relies on the beauty of its materials to sustain it.


House in El Carmen by Fran Silvestre Arquitectos

The walls are a luxurious white lacquer. The flooring a slight marble grey, which exudes calm and simplicity. The spare interior allows for greater drama to be attached to the objects placed within it. The sleek circular table by Tulip brings elegance to the space, its form reminding one of a flower.

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House in El Carmen by Fran Silvestre Arquitectos

The Five Alarm Design Of Contemporary Firehouses


In the Rock – Fire Brigade Magreidbergmeisterwolf architekten, Margreid, Italy

Firefighters have a dangerous job. They also have a unique workweek, normally working 24 hours straight, with two days off. This schedule requires a building that combines work and living space under one roof—not only a garage for the fire truck, but also a kitchen and areas for relaxation and sleep.

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Fire Station, GavaMestura Arquitectes, Gava, Spain

Traditional firehouse floor plans revolve around the fire pole, allowing quick access to the engines and gear in an emergency. Contemporary firehouses don’t incorporate the sliding pole anymore; safety issues surrounding holes in the floor make it untenable. Architects are also forsaking brick and mortar, using glass, steel, and other modern materials for an updated appearance.

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Parc De BombersArriola & Fiol arquitectes, Montblanc, France



Fire stationDietrich / Untertrifaller Architekten, Sulzberg-Thal, Austria

Glass Pavilion Library In The Woods


Hockessin Public Libraryikon.5 architects, New Castle, United States

A physical restriction on a building site can lead to interesting design. Delaware-basedikon.5.architects were faced with a challenge when designing an addition for the children’s book section of the Hockessin Public Library. Due to unavoidable constraints on the north, east, and west sides of the library, the only option for extension was south, into a 100-year flood plain.

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Hockessin Public Libraryikon.5 architects, New Castle, United States

The Architectural Mash-Up


Villa RotterdamOoze, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Digital technology has made the mash-up a quintessential art form of the new millennium. Hearing Britney Spears sing over the Clash can be disconcerting at first—to some maybe even offensive. However, combinations of disparate tracks can reveal hidden aspects of either song, and create a truly transcendent—or at the very least entertaining—experience. (If you are not sure what a musical mash-up is google Hollertronix or Girl Talk to find out.)


Didden VillageMVRDV, Rotterdam, Netherlands

The analog world of architecture normally eschews the everything-and-the-kitchen-sink ethos of digital pop culture. Simplicity and purity are a big part of the aesthetic values celebrated by contemporary architects.


Hunsett MillACME, Norfolk, GB

The notable exception is architects grouped under the postmodernist umbrella, who sought to combine diverse elements into their buildings. Rejecting Mies van der Rohe’s idea that “less is more,” Robert Venturi, famed postmodernist architect, offered the rejoinder “less is a bore.” However postmodernism’s influence over architectural philosophy has proved tenuous

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The Floating Farmhousegivonehome, Eldred, US

Navigating Dreams On A Skateboard


Javier Mendizabal, frontside ollie. Photo: Sem Rubio.

Dreams have an uncanny feel; they incorporate the materials of daily life to sometimes bizarre, beautiful or unsettling effect.  “Cuatro Sueños Pequeños” (translated into English the title means “The Four Small Dreams”) is a skateboard film directed by Thomas Campbell.  The film uses the conceit of skateboarders navigating a dream world, one that feels distinctly different from the digital deluge of images and video of skateboarding uploaded everyday.


The distinctive feeling was achieved through using 16mm film instead of video, which while technically much more cumbersome lends the film a uniquely beautiful atmosphere. Exposures are not always perfect and colors wash in and out, but Campbell embraces the chance happenings and limitations of film, utilizing it to create the warm dreamlike aesthetic.


Metropol Parasol by Jürgen Mayer H. Architeckten. Seville, Spain via Architectural Review

Photo: Paul Raftery


Not only is the film gorgeous the skateboarding is not bad either.  Unique spots throughout Spain and Europe are used, and it was delightful to see Jurgen Mayer’s “Seville Parasol” utilized for illicit athletic endeavors.  Mayer is an architect that seems to at times be designing a skatepark without knowing it.



Images via Umyeaharts

Hewing to the overall handmade aesthetic of the film “Cuatro Sueños Pequeños” is available as a gorgeous physical object.  The DVD comes in a 90-page book complete with 14 pages illustrated by artist Nathaniel Russell.  The book also contains images taken during the filming of the movie.  There is also a digital download available at itunes if amazing, well thought out book design, art, and photography aren’t your thing.

Using Recycled Materials For Architecture


Origma Hut by Gary Warner.  Sydney, Australia

According to the National Association of Homebuilders, “If all the dimensional lumber used to build the 1.2 million new homes constructed in the United States each year were laid end to end, it would extend 2 million miles, the equivalent of going to the moon and back six and a half times”—a sobering statistic that doesn’t include other building materials.

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Cook Park Amenities by Fox Johnston.  Sydney, Australia

Dutifully sorting waste, separating the metal and plastic from the paper for different recycling streams is part of modern life. Some areas even have food waste collection for community compost.

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Maunu Residence by Fung + Blatt Architects, Inc., Altadena, US

Architects and designers are taking notice of the opportunities offered by recycling and reuse. Using salvaged materials not only has a positive environmental impact by reducing waste, it also offers architects materials typically unavailable, such as old growth lumber.

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Shed No. 8841 by Ben Lepley Ed Henry. Tucson, US

The Lovely Louvers Of The House In Muko


House in Muko by Fujiwaramuro Architects. Kyoto, Japan.

Unique building sites call for unique design solutions. This was certainly the case for House in Muko, in Kyoto, whose location included a rather unusual obstacle: a strong curve in the road abutting the property. But instead of fighting this constraint,Fujiwaramuro Architects embraced it, coming up with an elegant design that incorporates both the historical and physical context of the home.

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House in Muko by Fujiwaramuro Architects. Kyoto, Japan.

The architects based their design on the traditional machiya, the “town” or “merchant” homes that partly define the region’s architectural style. Machiya often include wooden louvers and screens for the façade, but instead of using the louver as a singular aspect of the building program, Fujiwaramuro Architects made it the main event. The result is a home with an interior volume sliced by a dramatic repetition of oversized wooden slats.

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House in Muko by Fujiwaramuro Architects. Kyoto, Japan.

Homes With Moving Walls Let The Outdoors In


Casa O Chile by 01ARQ, Colina, Chile

Traditionally walls secure a home and provide privacy to its inhabitants. But architecture and technology have grown together to allow for different interpretations of what constitutes a wall.




Northland House by Parsonson architects ltd., Wellington, New Zealand

Sure, walls can keep prying eyes out, but materials and design techniques can be utilized to bring the surrounding environment into the home. Using walls that open completely is the most radical way to embrace the natural world and erase the distinction between interior and exterior space.

Read the complete article on Architizer here.


Godoy House by Hernandez Silva Arquitectos, Jalisco, Mexico