The modernist movement of the mid-twentieth century comprised some of the most rapid changes in architecture and design in history. Office towers ditched ornamental exteriors for plain, straight lines, while residential architects traded brick for glass and steel. And during the 1950s and ’60s, the Chicago suburbs became a proving ground for radical architects including Edward Dart, Henry Dubin, and William and George Keck.
Mid-century design remains popular, attracting buyers who not only appreciate sleek modernist flair, but who remain committed to preserving the homes in their original state. The Chicago area boasts a considerable inventory of modernist buildings that appear more or less as they did in their heyday. Here’s a look at a handful on the market right now.
The prolific Keck brothers designed numerous homes in the Chicago suburbs during the middle decades of the twentieth century, but firm lead George Fred got his big break designing the radical “House of Tomorrow” for the 1933 World’s Fair. Unfortunately, a number of Keck + Keck homes throughout the North Shore have been demolished, but this gorgeous four-bedroom in Flossmoor remains.
This Olympia Fields glass home is outflanked in notoriety by Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House in Plano, but it easily ranks as one of the greatest modernist homes around Chicago. Designed by H. P. Davis Rockwell as his personal residence, the concrete and glass structure earned the architect accolades when it was completed in the mid-’60s. According to records, the house last sold in February of 2016 for $605,000, and went back on the market last summer.
From the Water Tower Place skyscraper to the Joliet Correctional Center chapel, modernist architect Edward Dart left his mark on Chicago throughout the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s. But beyond his high-profile downtown and religious works, Dart designed dozens of homes throughout the region. This 2,500-square-foot four-bedroom in suburban Wheaton boasts much of its original modernist flair (plus a newer kitchen and bathrooms).
Tucked in the wooded hills of Barrington, this spectacular modernist home maintains many of its original finishes. Donning parquet flooring, glass walls, and lush grounds, the 4,000-square-footer exemplifies Midwestern modernism, blending in with its natural surrounding in a nod to the Prairie School.
Built toward the end of the mid-century movement in 1970, this John Vincent Anderson home exhibits Midwestern modernism on a grand scale. Located in far-flung Harvard, the eight-bedroom, seven-bathroom home covers 6,300 square feet on 12 acres of forested land. Adding to its credentials: an interior of earthy elements like a central stone fireplace and exposed timber rafters.
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