Contemporary architecture was a key architectural style in the United States from 1940 to 1980. Early contemporary houses were inspired by the organic aspects of Prairie Style or Craftsman Style houses while later contemporary houses drew influences from the International Style.
Architectural styles often reflect both dominant cultural trends and the technological innovations of their time. The contemporary style was no different, with houses reflecting technological innovations in the production of steel, glass and aluminum. Most contemporary houses were built out of non-traditional building materials including metal and concrete. However, the innovations of contemporary architecture were not limited to the use of new building materials. Contemporary houses were often unique, one-of-a-kind designs, lacking the formal and rigid standards of the International Style. This uniqueness has led some to describe later contemporary houses can as miscellaneous houses. Like International Style buildings, contemporary buildings were mostly architect-designed houses. The desire of owners for novelty, the willingness of architects to innovate, and the growing availability of non-traditional building materials resulted in a unique style marked by difference.