Contemporary Living Needs and a Modernist Aesthetic, Meet in The Glencoe Residence

The newly built Glencoe Residence, designed by architect Mason Miller, successfully joins the contemporary living needs of the clients with a modernist aesthetic. The architect tells us about the project and his view on the modernist architecture legacy and importance today.

Contemporary Modernist house Glencoe Residence - Mason Miller - entranceContemporary Modernist house Glencoe Residence - Mason Miller - entrance

MCH: First of all, could you tell us a little bit about your background? What made you decide to become an architect?

MM: My passion probably goes back to when I was in High School, my parents got me some books about the masters of architecture as Le Corbusier and I found myself reading them before bed every night.

I think when you’re truly interested in something, you want to do it/think about it all the time. That just continued till the time when I headed off to college to study architecture.

MCH: Which part/s of a new project excites you the most?

MM: It’s usually the process of cracking the code of the house. Getting the plan to really work is very important and what I really enjoy.

Contemporary Modernist house Glencoe Residence - Mason Miller - livingContemporary Modernist house Glencoe Residence - Mason Miller - kitchen

MCH: Which part/s of a new project excites you the most?

It’s usually the process of cracking the code of the house. Getting the plan to really work is very important and what I really enjoy.

MCH: Can you tell us about the approach you had for this project?

For The Glencoe Residence we wanted to maintain a more opaque front and more open back: this is on a residential suburban street in Glencoe, IL. 

The client has three young boys and so an open floor plan was important along with some areas that could be closed off for home offices, guest suites etc. We wanted the house to be a happy place full of light and creativity.

MCH: How important was the contribution of your clients, if there was any?

The clients were great on this. They are a young couple who love modern art. Their feedback along the way was crucial to the final product. They were very responsive and often came up with small ideas that gave spark to some of the spaces.

Contemporary Modernist house Glencoe Residence - Mason Miller -Contemporary Modernist house Glencoe Residence - Mason Miller - fire place

MCH: Your approach seems to follow closely Modernist principles. If correct, why did you choose this architectural style over another approach?

MM: The site and clients’ lifestyle leaded the project to a very open, typically modernist, plan. Another architectural style, such as Prairie or Shingle Style would have been inappropriate to the neighbourhood which has several modern ranch houses from the 50’s and 60’s.

MCH: Which is, in your opinion, the biggest legacy we inherited from the masters of Modernism?

A love for natural light and a sense of playfulness and informality. To achieve this requires a lot of paring down and editing to it’s essential bits.

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mid-century inspired Benedict Canyon house - kitchen

Photo by Mark Haddawy

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Contemporary Modernist house Glencoe Residence - Mason Miller - exterior

Photos by Werner Straube

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