The Ultimate Guide To Mid-Century Modern Architecture

Learn everything you have to know about mid-century modern architecture below!
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said “Architecture begins when you carefully place two bricks together. That’s where it starts”. It could have been said by any other giant in the architecture scene. We have always felt the need to take cover and build a place that we can call our own, a place of comfort, and this has grown into a real art form and today we witness some of history’s greatest architectural achievements. This subject is so important to us that we are going to tell you everything you need to know about mid-century modern architecture today!

 

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THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO MID-CENTURY MODERN ARCHITECTURE

A work of architecture reflects the times we live in and has always done so. We keep changing the lines, shapes, and dimensions, along with the materials, in order to adapt to our ever-changing world. In the mid-20th century, architects were trying to reach something new, something different. In the 1940s and 1950s, many architects believed that their forward-looking style would be a vehicle for social change. An interesting fact is that this was the time when public garages first appeared, reflecting this social change.

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All of this began in Europe, in the north, where Scandinavian furniture also made its debut. Arne Jacobsen and Eero Saarinen were pioneers of this movement. From there, it was quickly imported into American lands, where it was immediately welcomed with open arms, especially on the West Coast, where Palm Springs would grow to be synonymous with all things mid-century, including mid-century design, mid-century homes, and mid-century inspirations in general.

 

How do I recognize the mid-century style?
  • Flat planes

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO MID-CENTURY MODERN ARCHITECTURE

In most of these homes, you will notice the geometric lines are very regular and rigorous. Probably the most regular feature of them all are the roofs. Throughout mid-century architecture, flat planes are very common, and they quickly became one of the most popular features, making them truly iconic.

  • Large windows

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO MID-CENTURY MODERN ARCHITECTURE

Many of the rooms had sliding glass doors and other expansive panes of glass to allow light into the rooms from all sides. Mid-century modern architecture valued the use of natural light, so the design of the house included a mix of nature and indoors. 

  • Changes in elevation

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO MID-CENTURY MODERN ARCHITECTURE

Even if the difference in height between the rooms is just a few inches, a split level will be created by steps leading up and down between rooms. The mid-century modern home usually consists of partial walls or cabinets of varying heights to create a sense of depth in the rooms. 

  • A bond with nature

Houses designed in the mid-century modern style are generally found in areas with lots of natural beauty. A benefit of these rooms is that they have multiple access points, or multiple outdoor views, resulting in an appreciation for healthy living, typical of a northern-European way of life.

 

There are the mid-century architects you need to know!
  • Eero Saarinen

An architect and industrial designer from Finland, Eero Saarinen was known for his mid-century modern design style and neo-futuristic aesthetic. A few of his most notable works include the now-closed TWA Terminal at JFK airport, as well as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri.

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO MID-CENTURY MODERN ARCHITECTURE

  • Alvar Aalto

It is interesting to see the different styles of Alvar Aalto’s work, which ranged from Nordic Classicism to a rational type of modernism known as international style in the 1930s to an organic modernist style in the 1940s.

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO MID-CENTURY MODERN ARCHITECTURE

  • Arne Jacobsen

Architect and designer Arne Emil Jacobsen is known for his contributions to architectural Functionalism. With a very typical mid-century design, most of his works are found in the North of Europe.

  • Mies Van Der Rohe

A German-American architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of modernist architecture along with Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius and Frank Lloyd Wright. The Farnsworth House is probably one of the most famous houses in the world, and it is one of his most noteworthy works.

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO MID-CENTURY MODERN ARCHITECTURE

  • Richard Neutra

Austrian-American architect Richard Joseph Neutra was a leading architect of the twentieth century. Living and working mostly in Southern California during much of his career, he was acknowledged as one of the most influential modernist architects.

THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO MID-CENTURY MODERN ARCHITECTURE

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