Close your eyes and picture a midcentury modern home. For many, the vision might be a striking example of California cool: glass walls, cantilevered balconies with a breathtaking view, a fabulous pool party out back.
With the revival of the midcentury aesthetic becoming nearly as popular as the original movement itself, certain styles and architects have been elevated within the culture at large. But the philosophy—and practice—of modernism was anything but stereotypical.
The Modernist Next Door is a series celebrating postwar architecture beyond the cliches and the coasts. These profiles, running every weekday in August, will highlight the often-forgotten regional architects who created modern designs in the second cities, suburbs, and small towns of the U.S.—not just the bold-faced names fashioning International Style glass boxes or the West Coast hotshots featured in the Case Study program.
These local practitioners, a more regionally diverse group than normally depicted, may not have designed nationally famous homes. But they did create stunning, site-specific examples of progressive architecture: local icons, or the homes that don’t march in lockstep with suburbia, many of which still stand out as valued prizes for today’s homebuyers.
Modernism, in its purest expression, turned to new technology and progressive ideas to not only build new homes, but to create a new lifestyle. Looking back on the careers of America’s lesser-known and forgotten midcentury architects, The Modernist Next Door aims to give these more diverse visions of the future a spotlight, and to show how they still inspire to this day.
August 1: Vladimir Ossipoff, Hawaii’s midcentury maestro
August 2: Abrom and Ben Dombar, sibling architects who helped shape Cincinnati
August 3: Bruce Goff, organic architecture and folk art fantasies
August 4: Alden B. Dow, designer of the Midwest’s most modern town
August 7: Avriel Shull, a self-made architect focused on livable midcentury design
August 8: Arthur T. Brown, Tucson’s desert modernist
August 9: Mary Lund Davis, a champion of modernism in the Pacific Northwest
August 10: Judith Chafee, dean of desert architecture
August 11: Roger Lee, Bay Area’s modern architect for the common man
August 14: John S. Chase, a trailblazing Texas architect
August 15: George & William Keck, sibling architects who saw the future
August 16: Albert Ledner, a New Orleans architect as playful as his hometown
August 17: Charles Haertling, modernism in the mountains
August 18: Edward Loewenstein, making way for minority architects
August 21: Paul Hayden Kirk, architect of Puget Sound style
August 22: Saul Zaik, keeping Portland modern
August 23: O’Neil Ford, Texas’s godfather of modern architecture
August 24: Robert Lawton Jones, Tulsa’s ambassador of International Style
August 25: Elizabeth Close, Minnesota’s midcentury pioneer
August 28: Elizabeth Wright Ingraham, master of architecture and ecology
August 29: Ralph Haver, modern visions for the Valley of the Sun
August 30: A.D. Stenger, Austin’s eccentric, self-made architect
August 31: Richard Isenhour, a Kentucky architect with a creative vision