Mid-Century Modern Architecture
“Architecture starts when you carefully put two bricks together. There it begins”. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was the one who started this, but it could have been easily said by any other giant in the architecture scene. From the beginning, we felt the need to take cover and create a place to call our own, a place of comfort. This evolved into an actual art form and nowadays we witness some of the biggest architectural pieces of modern time. We feel so passionately about this subject that today we are going to tell you everything you need to know about mid-century modern architecture!
Architecture is and has always been a reflection of the times we are living in. The lines, shapes, and dimensions, as well as the materials, keep changing, trying to adapt to our ever-evolving world. During the mid-twenty century, architects were trying to reach something new, something different. The great architects of the 1940s and 1950s believed their forward-looking style could be a vehicle for social change to create a better society. In fact – fun fact – it was during this time that the public garages started to appear, trying to mirror that social change.
Europe was where it all began, in the north, where Scandinavian furniture also first saw the light of day. Architects such as Eero Saarinen or Arne Jacobsen were at the forefront of this movement. It quickly made its way across the ocean into American lands, where it immediately received a wide and warm reception, especially in the West Coast, where Palm Springs would come to be the pinnacle of everything mid-century: mid-century design, mid-century homes, and mid-century inspiration overall.
HOW TO RECOGNIZE THE MID-CENTURY STYLE?
It’s very easy to notice that most of these homes have very regular and rigorous geometric lines. One of the most regular features of them all is the roofs. It’s very common to see flat planes, and they instantly became one of the most popular features in mid-century homes, making them truly iconic.
Sliding-glass doors and other expansive panes of glass allowed light to enter rooms from multiple angles. Natural light was extremely important in mid-century modern architecture and so the design of the house brought that mix of nature indoors.
CHANES IN ELEVATION
Small steps going up and down between rooms create split-level spaces, even if the rooms’ height differs just a few inches. A mid-century modern home usually has partial walls, or cabinets of varying heights to create different depths in the space.
A BOND WITH NATURE
Mid-century modern houses are usually located in areas with a lot of natural surroundings. To enjoy this advantage, rooms have multiple outdoor views, or multiple access points, encouraging an appreciation of healthy living, mirroring a very northern-European way of living.
THESE ARE THE MID-CENTURY ARCHITECTS YOU NEED TO KNOW!
- EERO SAARINEN
Eero Saarinen was a 20th-century Finnish American architect and industrial designer noted for his mid-century modern and neo-futuristic style. Some of his most famous works include the now-closed TWA Terminal at the JFK airport, as well as the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri.
- ALVAR AALTO
Alvar Aalto’s career is reflected in the styles of his work, ranging from Nordic Classicism to a rational International Style Modernism during the 1930s to a more organic modernist style from the 1940s onwards.
- ARNE JACOBSEN
Arne Emil Jacobsen was a Danish architect and designer, probably best remembered for his contribution to architectural Functionalism. His works are mainly located in the North of Europe, with a very typical mid-century design.
- MILES VAN DER ROHE
Ludwig Mies van der Rohe was a German-American architect. Along with Le Corbusier, Walter Gropius, and Frank Lloyd Wright, he is widely regarded as one of the pioneers of modernist architecture. One of these most notable works has to be The Farnsworth House, which is probably one of the most famous houses in the world.
- RICHARD NEUTRA
Richard Joseph Neutra was an Austrian-American architect. Living and building for the majority of his career in Southern California, he came to be considered among the most important modernist architects.