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Mid-Century Modern Architecture

 

Mid-century modern architecture, together with inspiring and enjoyable mid-century houses, is our focus.

We write about mid-century and contemporary architecture that represents modernist values as we believe that good architecture must be accessible to everyone and speak to people: like the projects we collect here.

In this section we feature a curation of the best works in 20th century’s modern mid-century architecture: Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies Van Der Rohe, Philip Johnson, Richard Neutra or Arne Jacobsen are only few of the architects you will find.

Richard Neutra VDL research house upstairs external

Richard Neutra’s VDL Research House

Richard Neutra’s VDL Research House is surely the building whose history best captures the life of its architect.

Named “VDL” after the wealthy Dutch industrialist Cees H. Van der Leeuw, Neutra’s early benefactor, it served as the architect’s own home and studio for much of his career.

Le Corbusier’s - La Cité Radieuse

Le Corbusier’s Radiant City Was Way Ahead of its Time

Le Corbusier’s “La Cité Radieuse” or Radiant City is an undisputed masterpiece of modernist design. Designed way back in 1929, and built between 1947 and 1952, the block featured one of the first instances of the architect’s path-breaking Unité d’Habitation (housing unit), a modernist residential design principle he developed in collaboration with painter-architect Nadir Afonso.

Modern Gem-filled Flat Overlooks Niemayer’s Ibriapuera Park

Modern Gem-filled Flat Overlooks Niemayer’s Ibriapuera Park

This São Paulo flat looks about as modernist as it gets. Filled with an expertly curated array of modernist furniture pieces and overlooking the Ibriapuera Park (designed by legendary Brazilian modernist architect Oscar Niemeyer and landscape designer Otávio Augusto Teixeira Mendes), it would come as no surprise to see the pictures displayed in a textbook definition of the style.

Saarinen GM technical center

Eero Saarinen: Modernist Style Meets American Dynamism

Situated in Warren, Michigan, just north of Detroit, the GM Technical Center has served as the heart of General Motor’s engineering research since it was finished in 1956. Built by the great mid-century modernist architect Eero Saarinen, along with his son Eliel, Life magazine hailed it as the “Versailles of Industry” when it was unveiled.

University of São Paulo - João Batista Vilanova Artigas

Vilanova Artigas’ FAU-USP: the fate of Brazilian Modernism

Discussion of modernist architecture in Brazil often ends up dealing with just one man: Oscar Niemeyer. One of the first truly international architects, Niemeyer is rightly lauded for putting Brazilian architecture on the map, beginning with his design, alongside his mentor Lucio Costa, of the Brazilian Pavilion at 1939 New York World’s Fair, and culminating in his design of Brazil’s capital Brasilia.

Saarinen Bell Laboratories

Eero Saarinen’s Bell Labs Holmdel Complex – Collaboration Reignited

Eero Saarinen’s Bell Labs Holmdel Complex, a majestic glass box appearing mirage-like amid the New Jersey countryside, was one of the architect’s last projects before he died in 1961. Constructed between 1959 and 1962 it represents a remarkably prescient model for the way many modern offices and educational facilities are now being constructed, with their specific emphasis on stimulating collaboration and fostering encounters between different departments.

Saarinen TWA Flight Center

Eero Saarinen’s TWA Flight Center

Saarinen’s TWA Flight Center A landmark airport terminal is not the first place that people are likely to look when looking for mid-century design. The style being mostly associated with furniture for the home. But to really get a flavour of where the the mid-century sits in the broader history of modernist design there are a fair few things to learn from the TWA Flight Center at New York City’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

frank lloyd wright - SC Johnson- campus and tower

Frank Lloyd Wright’s SC Johnson Wax Complex and Research Tower

A decade after finishing the SC Johnson Administration building in Racine, Wisconsin, Frank Lloyd Wright started the construction of the Research and Development Tower.
The 1950s building for SC Johnson was the home to many of the company’s most well-known inventions and was in need of lab facilities for their rising research and development department.

mies van der rohe architecture - lafayette park

The Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Architecture Legacy in Detroit: Lafayette Park

After more than fifty years the Ludwig Mies van der Rohe Lafayette Park built in Detroit, still is at its best. Michigan’s largest city was once known as the “Paris of the West.” In its prime, Detroit lived up to its European-influenced nickname by having sophisticated urban design and architecture. Today, in the shadows of empty high-rises is an overlooked, inspiring example of urban renewal.

mies van der rohe - crown - illinois institute of technology campus - chicago

The Mies van der Rohe Crown Hall in Chicago

Forced to leave his native country due to mounting political pressure, and the dwindling prospect of future commissions, Mies emigrated to the United States in 1937, where he was subsequently appointed head of the department of architecture at Chicago’s Armour Institute of Technology and for which he was later called to design a new master plan after Armour Institute and Lewis Institute merged in Chicago to create the Illinois Institute of Technology.