Architecture is endlessly appealing to me. Houses, in particular, capture my imagination because they are so primal in their utility: They provide us with a safe place to sleep, eat, store food, and raise young’uns.
For the last 90 years in America, home architecture has been dominated by profiteering companies looking to churn out cheaper products for higher margins. Market demand and time constraints are generally at odds with innovation and creativity, and this is precisely why qualified architects are only responsible for a small fraction of American homes.
On one hand, this sucks because it means that most houses in America were conceived and built by people who truly don’t know a damn thing about the art of designing a home.
On the other hand, this extreme suckage has made it easier to spot the really good stuff—the houses designed by architects who had a purpose and thoughtful motive behind every last structural detail.
A cursory review of the architects and designers who shaped an emerging, twentieth century America will no doubt reveal classic names like Wright, Neutra, Eichler, Eames, Nelson, van der Rohe, and Saarinen. These artisans—real experts, you know?—are all associated with the most inspired period of design in American history: The mid-century modern era.
When I decided to buy a house in 2009, I went on an all-out mission to find the perfect mid-century modern home in Austin. After an exhausting three-month search, I managed to score a classic MCM that does everything right:
- At first glance, the home appears to be oddly situated on the lot, but closer inspection reveals that it’s built on the same axis as the four cardinal directions!
- Extra-tall windows bring in natural light and also serve to unite the house with the surrounding land.
- The flat roof, extended easements, huge windows, and indoor/outdoor feel are all characteristic of my favorite branch of MCM architecture that can be traced back to Richard Neutra.
- Just look at the place—it’s sexy as hell :D