So in this sense “contemporary” is not limited to a single stylistic thread. And “modern” recalls the early- and mid-20th-century architecture embodying the ideals of the machine age: an absence of ornament, structures of steel or concrete, large expanses of glass, a whitewash (usually stucco over brick) or another minimal exterior expression, and open floor plans.
While this starts to define the difference, there is an evident use of the term “contemporary” that refers to a particular strain of design today, such that new postmodern, neo-Classical or other neo-traditional buildings are not included. The term’s use is clearly narrower than the literal definition, yet it is still rooted in the now; contemporary architecture is of its time, therefore innovative and forward-looking. In this sense it is rooted in the modern, even if it does not resemble it stylistically.
The photos that follow respond to the question, “modern or contemporary?” I hope the answers will elucidate the similarities and differences between the styles, further aiding the appreciation of both styles of architecture.