Midcentury Modernism - A Design Style Worthy Of Obsession

Following the austerity of the second world war era, a new architectural style in home design rapidly emerged. Midcentury modernism embraced clean lines and larger windows and was typified by a lack of cluttered design elements or heavy embellishment. While this more minimalist emphasis does not mean the designs were bland and unambitious it soon became apparent that homeowners appreciated the modern tendency toward functionality over decorative style elements.

The interior floor plans of the midcentury modern design were also mindful of maximizing functionality and space. Designs became more open plan with the interior and outdoor living spaces flowing better and complementing each other. These new muted design tastes persisted through the 1950s and 1960s before giving way to new artistic trends like postmodern contemporary designs. However, the major defining features of midcentury modern design have enjoyed a resurgence in recent times with a nostalgic resurrection of our former glory days portrayed in modern-day film and television. Modern homeowners are fascinated with midcentury modernism and its forward-thinking aesthetic design.

What defines midcentury modern home design?

Several central elements define American midcentury modern architecture:

·      Sharp, clean lines

·      Open plan design

·      Better flow through living spaces

·      Flat roofs

·      Oversized, dominating windows

·      Asymmetrical profiles

·      Minimal decorative features

At the time, the introduction of the new building and interior materials into the house design, like metal, glass, and vinyl, stimulated a new era of experimentation and creativity. Designers and architects dared to explore non-traditional materials and finishes for an inspired spectrum of novel interplay with traditional materials. The maxim 'form follows function' began to dominate, where shape and spatial conformation were dictated by the intended purpose. Rooms and floorplans began to evolve with an emphasis on function and spatial flow rather than artistic flair.

this American architectural building style that developed typically featured dominating windows, with large panes sometimes floor to ceiling in height, and glass external doors to facilitate a harmonious flow from the interior out into nature. The minimalist exterior is sleeker and unabashedly geometric while interiors are more utilitarian than stylish. Decorative elements are not overtly evident either externally or indoors. The interior floor plans favor spaciousness and flows with living areas that are designed as inviting and accommodating in function, conducive to a more modern style of living.

midcentury modern home design

Midcentury modernism proves to be a timeless concept

It is not hard to understand the broad appeal of this midcentury construction movement and realize why it still inspires homeowners even today. Admittedly, there are some aspects of the midcentury architectural movement that could be considered to have gone too far over to minimalism. The flat dimensions and lines are not as appealing as earlier house architecture, however, many of the designs typically feature angled roofs and outcroppings. These sharper, clean lines and contrasting angles are defining characteristics of the style and still strike a resonating chord with modern homeowners.

A central characteristic of this home design was how it embraced a oneness with nature, which is a defining requirement of the home design for most twenty-first century homeowners. And yet, this was a new concept in the 1950sand 1960s. The mid-century modern home design typically featured a single-level floor plan layout designed to present the house as an integral part of its natural environment. Ready access to the outdoors, both visual and spatial, is a dominating feature of the layout and was often achieved with a wall entirely of glass, or glass doors, overlooking the garden and back yard.

When you think of Frank Lloyd Wright’s “Falling Water”, you see how far this style of architecture strives to find harmony with its natural surrounds.

It is undeniable that the midcentury modern style remains a timeless architectural trend that will continue to dominate home design well into the twenty-first century. In today’s modern world of futuristic construction, designers, homeowners, and builders still keep coming back to the design fundamentals that dominated the middle of the twentieth century. Midcentury modern home design continues to prevail with its unique flavor of yesteryear coupled with its functional approach to unpretentious, comfortable modern living.