Contemporary house designs incorporate elements such as open floor plans, full-height windows, flat roofing and transitions between indoor and outdoor environments. Natural light, neutral color palettes and sustainability can also play a major role in the overall architectural scheme. We’ve put together a curated gallery of Contemporary house exteriors that explores many of the design options available.
1. Mid-Century Modern Design Favors Sustainable Solutions
The builders of this contemporary home in Amagansett, Long Island, New York, incorporated a parts kit for some of the on-site assembly, cutting down on costs. The house is a complete rebuild over an existing structure on the property and was designed to achieve maximum energy efficiency and sustainability. Solar roof panels are used to partially heat the home, but the high tree canopy around the property made it impossible to rely solely on the sun for HVAC. A pebble driveway leads down to a carport in this Mid-Century Modern version of a contemporary home.
2. Cantilevered Second Story Projects Out Over Adjacent Forest
A cantilevered second floor dramatically distinguishes this contemporary house in Cap-à-l’Aigle, Québec, Canada. Dubbed “The Flying Eagle,” the structure protrudes out over the adjacent forest and looks down to the river below. The exterior of the house is a combination of full-length glazing and gray wood cladding.
3. Pool Area Offers Infinite Number of Entertainment Options
Built on the southern tip of Biscayne Bay’s Dilido Island by Saota Architects, this contemporary residence has waterfront views of the islands, downtown Miami, and South Beach. The large outdoor area with an infinity pool and multiple lounge areas offers almost an infinite number of entertainment options.
4. Sydney Home Wrapped in Concrete and Sandstone
A contemporary home in Sydney, Australia, features concrete and sandstone cladding with a covered area on the main level that leads to an outdoor pool. Built into a hillside, the living areas are obscured from the street and oriented towards the expansive harbor views that can be seen from the back of the property.
5. Cape Town Summer Home Comfortable in the Wild
High winds are an issue in the area around this contemporary summer home southeast of Cape Town, South Africa. The structure is built on a slope overlooking a lagoon and has been designed as both a shelter from natural elements and to provide views of the surrounding environment.
6. L.A. Hillside Home Pays Tribute to California Modernism
Contemporary West Los Angeles residence built high up in the hills of Bel Air pays tribute to California Modernism with the constant interaction between private and public spaces. French limestone and bronze anodized aluminum screens are used on surfaces both inside and outside the home to provide continuity in the overall design.
7. Cedar Wood Slat Home Creates an Organic Presence
Canadian lakefront home, nestled into a woodland setting, features a cedar wood slat exterior with large windows to draw in natural light. The landscaping adheres closely to the surrounding environment, creating an extremely organic presence.
8. Each Level of Lakefront Home Given Its Own Identity
Another example of a contemporary home doing its best to co-exist with nature. Built on high, rocky terrain overlooking Lac de la Cabane, north of Montréal, Québec, Canada, the structural design has incorporated stone extracted during excavation of the site. Each level of the lakeside home has been given its own unique identity in terms of the materials used and how they interact with the overall scheme.
9. Graphite Solar Screen Developed on Lord of the Rings’ Film Set
Contemporary home in Sydney, Australia, features wood and cement cladding with a liberal use of full-height glazing on both floors and special graphite mesh screens (visible on the upper balconies). The screens are an architectural solar product that were originally developed for a completely different purpose by artistic director Kayne Horsham in New Zealand for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film productions. The material was used as chainmail amour for the actors instead of heavy steel. Actor Viggo Mortensen dubbed the mesh “Kaynemaile.”
10. Second-Story Canopy Built over Backyard Entrance
Modular contemporary residence in Sewall Point, Florida, features interlocking sections with a glass walkway connecting second-story towers. A wood and Corten steel canopy, supported by two pillars, is built over one back entrance into the home. The backyard has limestone stairs, a small patio for deck chairs, and concrete coping around the inground pool.
11. Modern Montana Farmhouse Features Miles of Glass
Contemporary Montana farmhouse features rustic wood barn siding with what seems like miles of glass walls and a metal and green sod roof. Built on a flood plain, the architectural placement of the house took into consideration the annual river flow of spring flooding.
12. Rooms Focused on Inner Courtyard of New Delhi Residence
Contemporary house in New Delhi, India, was constructed like a puzzle, with the structure planned around mature trees growing on the property. Brick, marble, and wood siding are combined with extensive glass on both floors, with many of the rooms focused on the greenery of an inner courtyard.
13. Black Accents Used Throughout Madrid Home’s Design
Stone overhangs distinguish this contemporary home in Madrid, Spain, designed by the A-cero architectural firm. A stone and black galvanized steel fence surrounds the property, with limestone and black glass incorporated into the exterior façade of the minimalist design.
14. Contemporary Design Makes Itself at Home Inside Tropical Rainforest
The concrete, stone, steel, and glass of this contemporary home have been designed to coexist with the tropical vegetation of the Gondwana Rainforest in Queensland, Australia, a massive, ancient ecosystem that is millions of years old. Each section of the house is supported by stilts, enabling it to follow the contours of the hilly landscape. Both floors of the home, lined with container gardens, access the outside through full-height glass doors.
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15. Futuristic Modernism Meets Natural World on Seoul Hillside
Futuristic modernism meets the natural world in this Seoul, South Korea, contemporary home built on the slopes of Bukhansan Mountain. Embracing both minimalist and organic aesthetics, the design combines angular shapes with vegetation planted on almost every surface: entrances feature steel staircases surrounded by moss, while fruit trees are scattered throughout the entire property. The interior itself is a contemporary sheen of metal, concrete, and glass, but open any window or door and you immediately enter another green world.
16. Metal Arched Beams Intersect Through Structure of Home
Unique contemporary home in Limassol, Cyprus, incorporates a series of metal-arched beams intersecting through the structure. Visually, the design is both pop art and brutalist in conception, with the metal I-beams winding around the stone and wood cladding. Wood and stone are also used extensively inside the home, while the interior beams, when visible, are painted white like the walls.
17. Palo Alto Residence Structured With Layers of Landscaping
The landscaping of this Palo Alto, CA, residence features hanging ferns, planted shrubs and grasses, as well as mature trees scattered throughout the property. The house is structured using different materials as the dominant element on each level: concrete in the basement, wood on the ground floor and dark zinc on the upper story.
18. Cube Design Provides Panoramic Views of the Mediterranean
Built on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Mediterranean in northern Catalonia, Spain, this contemporary home is designed to accommodate some extreme climate conditions, including high winds. Constructed into angular cube sections, each room of the house has panoramic views of the water. Wood decking surrounds the house and leads down to an infinity pool.
19. Wraparound Decks Maximize Outdoor Living
Contemporary home maximizes outdoor living with wraparound balconies on every floor. Full-height glazing is interspersed with cement, brick, and metal cladding throughout the structure. The landscaping features wood decking, a brick driveway, and an extensive grass lawn.
20. Energy-Efficient Design Inspired by Indigenous Pit Houses
Inspired by Indigenous pit house structures, this contemporary home in Austin, Texas, buries itself seven feet into the ground for maximum energy efficiency. Appropriately called the Edgeland House, the modern structure, built on a brownfield site, features a green sod roof and two separate sections extruding from the earth. Large overhangs provide shade and lead to an outside pool area.
21. Modern Clifftop House Designed to Age Well
Contemporary home built on the southern tip of South Africa takes full advantage of its geographical position, looking out over the area where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. The clifftop house has been designed to blend into its natural surroundings while providing world-class panoramic views and protection from the intense heat of the sun. The latter is accomplished with the use of sunscreens and performance glass on the full-height glazing. Thoroughly modern in design, the structure incorporates materials that will age with the house, including rough-textured off-shutter concrete, zinc metal roofing, as well as wood, stone, and exposed aggregate.
22. Wood-Slat Roof Rolls Through Center Section of Structure
Surrounded by a pine forest, this Mediterranean summer home in Saint-Tropez, France, clad in stone, cement, and glass, features two rectangular wings with a courtyard and pool. The central section of the roof is constructed of wooden slats that fold down and roll over the interior space, contrasting with the straight lines of the two wings.