Some homes reflect the era in which they were created. Mid century modern is the design created by those who thought the forward-looking style might be a vehicle for social change to make a better society. Characterized by horizontal planes, big glass windows and open areas, these homes which were built from 1945 to the 1980’s featured simplicity and integrated nature and encouraged people to learn more about the world in new ways.
They were created by a generation of modern architects, many who fled the rise of Nazi Germany, One of them was Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who headed the department of architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology, and who later started the Second School of Chicago.
With World War II came experimental technology and materials like steel and plywood, which were implemented for construction after the war. John Entenza, began The Case Study House Program in 1945 and created prototypes for postwar homes that become iconic.
The birth of mid century modern followed the war according to Sian Winship, president of the Southern California Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians. “The homes had open floor plans and large sliding-glass doors which encouraged people to be more “outdoorsy” and healthier. In a traditional home, the window height is 4 to 5 ft, and most children cannot see outside. With these walls of glass children became more engaged and their senses more stimulated.
Architect Frank Lloyd Wright, who helped train mid century modern architects such as Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler, was a huge influence. Kansas City has its share.
Mid century modernism is being more appreciated today than in decades. Many buyers are looking for homes that were either built mid modern or have been rehabbed to look mid century modern.