Moderne is a rare style with a flat roof and very shallow or no eaves. Its undecorated concrete or smooth stucco walls sometimes curve around corners, with horizontal banding and balcony railings to simulate streamlining. It has multi-paned fixed or casement windows that meet or wrap around at corners and octagonal or round feature windows (like portholes). Moderne houses often have substantial chimney blocks.
Moderne homes were mostly built between 1920 and 1940. Smooth surfaces, curved corners, and horizontal lines dominated the Moderne look. The machine age and the earlier Art Deco movement inspired the style. Industrial designs for ships, airplanes and cars also influenced its development. Moderne was a rejection of the revival styles, a reaction against post-WWI traditionalism. It rejected ornamentation and traditional designs that characterized much of the interwar architecture. Instead, it embraced the technological age. Although Moderne is a rare style in Vancouver, the examples that remain are striking.
- Flat roof
- Shallow or no eaves
- Horizontal emphasis (e.g. Horizontal grooves or lines in walls)
- Asymmetrical façade
- Smooth wall surface
- Usually stucco siding or concrete
- Steel balustrades
- Glass block windows and wrap-around windows
- Porthole windows and other nautical details
Stucco, nearly always white, prevails in Moderne homes. Decoration sometimes appears as vertical fluting on doorways, paneling, and fireplace mantels. To match the horizontal divisions of the window panes, some horizontal painted wood strips contribute to the “streamlined” look of these homes. Textured obscure or reeded glass is used where light and privacy is needed.