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September 3, 2021

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What Is Mountain Modern Architecture, Exactly?

Mountain modern architecture is one of the hottest trends in new home construction right now. It is a very specific kind of architectural design that is easily distinguished from others if you know what you’re looking for. Unfortunately, ignorance leads people to believe mountain modern is something it is not.

To begin with, the ‘mountain’ aspect has little to do with the design of the structure itself. It has to do with location. For example, mountain modern is a specialty of Park City, Utah’s Sparano + Mooney architectural firm. They design luxury homes and various commercial structures throughout the mountainous state of Utah.

The fact that mountain modern is a type of architecture for mountainous environments means it doesn’t apply in flat states like Florida. A mountain modern home would look terribly out of place along Florida’s Gulf Coast.

Exterior Design

Sparano + Mooney says mountain modern architecture is easily spotted by looking for specific elements, beginning with exterior design. A mountain modern home has a distinctly modern exterior.

Traditional mountain homes haven’t changed much in the last century. Timber A-frames, cabins, and lodges say it all. Architects looking to design mountain modern are not afraid to embrace more contemporary exteriors. Squares, rectangles, and other nontraditional shapes are welcome.

Open Spaces

A key element of mountain modern interiors is open spaces. By their nature, mountains are difficult to build on. That is why cities tend to be built in valleys and across plains. In the mountains, you tend to have more open space. That concept is brought into the mountain modern home. Large rooms absent of clutter are the norm.

Lots of Light

Mountain modern architects tend to combine open spaces with as much natural light as possible. Therefore, it is not unusual to see floor-to-ceiling walls with fantastic views of the surrounding area.

Combining open space with natural light is based on the concept of blurring the lines between interior and exterior. Architects look to bring the outdoors inside as much as possible. Sometimes that means employing visual tricks. At other times, it means creating interior spaces that can be easily opened up to become full or partial outdoor spaces.

Visual Texture

When you look at a mountain, you can see its rugged nature without having to actually touch it. In fact, you can see a mountain’s visual texture from miles away. Mountain modern architecture seeks to incorporate that. As such, there is more emphasis on texture rather than color.

The emphasis on texture naturally encourages architects to use as much wood as possible. Natural wood has grain. Likewise, grain creates visual texture. That texture is enhanced by the fact that no two pieces of wood are exactly the same.

Mountain modern homes tend to make good use of natural wood and stone. Though material choices have a lot to do with visual texture, it doesn’t hurt that natural wood and stone are more easily sourced in a local mountain environment.

Low Maintenance

A mountain modern home looks thoroughly contemporary inside and out. Ye it generally doesn’t require a lot of maintenance. Designers consider everything from weather to wildlife in order to design homes that easily coexist with the surrounding environment. If they do their jobs right, architects design mountain modern homes that do not need a lot of high-maintenance TLC.

Mountain modern is all the rage right now. No one knows for sure what is driving it. Perhaps it is due to a growing desire to get out of the cities and back into nature. Nonetheless, mountain modern is a specific type of architecture that people seem to love.

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