- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 15 May 2020
The term ‘modern’ is an ambiguous one that can be interpreted in a number of ways.
In historic terms however, the early modern period is considered to follow the late middle ages of the post-classical era, running from approximately c. 1500 to c. 1800. It is characterised by a period of exploration and globalisation and a move away from medieval systems of politics and economics.
The late modern period follows directly on from this, including the industrial revolution, and runs up to contemporary history, which is considered to include the period from around 1945 to the present day.
This is sometimes associated with the stylistic terms ‘modernism’ or ‘modernist’, however, these have a very specific meaning associated with a design philosophy that focussed on the function of buildings, approached from an analytical viewpoint, a rational use of materials, the elimination of ornament and decoration, and openness to structural innovation.
Modernism as a style was followed by post-modernism, also known as ‘pomo’; an architectural style that emerged in the late 1960s as a reaction against modernism, which was considered by some to be too bleak, formal and austere. Postmodern architecture is characterised by its highly-decorative, whimsical and kitsch aesethetic. It incorporates stylistic references that are often playful and symbolic, using shape and colour and applying structural forms from classical architecture to modern designs.
The phrase 'modern methods of construction' refers to ways of working more effectively to achieve more without using more, and centres around the use of off-site construction techniques that can benefit from factory conditions and mass production techniques. This emerged following the second world war due to the need to replace lost housing quickly, but it has seen renewed focus in recent years due to the modern housing crisis and a desire to reduce costs and improve quality, speed and health and safety.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Architectural styles.
- Art Moderne.
- BEST Products showrooms.
- Brazilian Modernism lecture.
- City beautiful.
- Demolishing Modernism: Britain's lost post-war gems.
- Form follows function.
- High-tech architecture.
- International Style.
- Louis Kahn.
- Modern methods of construction.
- Nineteenth century architecture.
- Postmodern architecture.
- Traditional building.
Featured articles and news
Smart mapping approaches for building better infrastructure.
The importance of emergency planning.
Eight forms of resource optimisation.
CIOB responds to Chancellor Sunak's announcement on jobs and the economy.
Revised guide to competition rules available.
Brick slip soffit systems and intricate brick features.
An innovative engineering approach could have had tragic consequence for NYC.
Some secrets behind how canals work.
Breaking down possible steps of pre-contract management.
ICE event includes comments from Welsh Government Minister Julie James.
Designing Buildings Wiki becomes the world's first website to adopt the new knowledge standard.