Like everything else, house plans have also evolved with the times. Gone are the days when building construction plans included labyrinthine corridors, domes, and arches and carved pillars. When thick walls were the necessary support to erect anything beyond the ground floor and filigree work over the verandah was considered indispensable.
Factors behind modern housing
There are several factors that have driven the change to a modern system of architecture. The first of course, is the impact of modernity as a cultural movement. This movement, which has its founts in rebellion against the traditional during the later half of the nineteenth century, affected everything from poetry and literature to architecture and building construction plans.
The shift to a modern system of architecture is best captured by Ayn Rands famous book The Fountainhead. The book lays down the salient features of modern architecture though its emphasis on underlying construction plans of the building rather than the superstructure. The impact of modernity in this sense is essentially the impact of and ideology; peoples perception of how modern house plans should be made, changed.
But at the same time, much of this change was made practically possible by technological innovations. Stronger materials made thinner walls possible. The use of steel beams made arches redundant as supporting structures. The development of glass that was tough and hard to break led to its widespread use in construction; and so on.
Modern house plans take advantage of this innovation to save space and create clean uncluttered spaces.
To these two, let me add a third factor that led to the adoption of modern techniques in house plans: the modern lifestyle.
Just as industrial revolution made black suits fashionable, similarly, fast paced, high stress, modern lifestyles have resulted in minimal, no frills building construction plans, the use of soft and soothing colors in the interiors, and the use of simple geometric shapes in modern house plans.
The impact on design
If you look at some of the iconic modern structures, their common features would become clear.
(a) An emphasis on simple geometrical shapes in building construction plans.
(b) The materials used are all man made, they do not occur freely in nature. For example steel is an amalgam of iron, carbon, tin and some other materials.
Plastic, cement, and Glass, all processed also finds wide usage in modern house plans.
(c) Efficient space utilization is a key feature of modern architecture. Modern house plans leverage special materials to free more and more space which would have otherwise gone into creating supporting structures.
Modern architecture has for a long time been considered the art of building mere boxes. It is only now that building construction plans have evolved to give attention to the aesthetic aspects of building construction as well.