Modern in the Middle: Chicago Houses 1929-75

Category: Book
By (author): Benjamin, Susan
By (author): Sabatino, Michelangelo
Foreword By: Saliga, Pauline
Subject:  ARCHITECTURE / Buildings / Residential
  ARCHITECTURE / History / Contemporary (1945-)
Publisher: Monacelli Press
Published: November 2019
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 296
Size: 11.50in x 8.50in

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*The first survey of the classic twentieth-century houses that defined American Midwestern modernism.

Famed as the birthplace of that icon of twentieth-century architecture, the skyscraper, Chicago also cultivated a more humble but no less consequential form of modernism--the private residence. Modern in the Middle: Chicago Houses 1929-75 explores the substantial yet overlooked role that Chicago and its suburbs played in the development of the modern single-family house in the twentieth century. In a city often associated with the outsize reputations of Frank Lloyd Wright and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the examples discussed in this generously illustrated book expand and enrich the story of the region's built environment.

Authors Susan Benjamin and Michelangelo Sabatino survey dozens of influential houses by architects whose contributions are ripe for reappraisal, such as Paul Schweikher, Harry Weese, Keck & Keck, and William Pereira. From the bold, early example of the "Battledeck House" by Henry Dubin (1930) to John Vinci and Lawrence Kenny's gem the Freeark House (1975), the generation-spanning residences discussed here reveal how these architects contended with climate and natural setting while negotiating the dominant influences of Wright and Mies. They also reveal how residential clients--typically middle-class professionals, progressive in their thinking--helped to trailblaze modern architecture in America. Though reflecting different approaches to site, space, structure, and materials, the examples in Modern in the Middle reveal an abundance of astonishing houses that have never been collected into one study--until now.
Biographical NoteMichelangelo Sabatino is dean of the College of Architecture of the Illinois Institute of Technology. As an architect, preservationist, and historian, his research broadly addresses intersections across culture, technology, and design in the built and natural environment. Professor Sabatino holds the Rowe Family College of Architecture Endowed Chair and is the inaugural John Vinci Distinguished Research Fellow.Susan Benjamin is a noted historic preservationist and published architectural historian based in Chicago. Her office, Benjamin Historic Certifications, has initiated the landmarking of notable historic buildings of all periods, in Chicago as well as throughout Illinois. Benjamin lectures frequently on a wide variety of topics, from historic landscapes to Chicago's residential architecture of the nineteenth century to the present. She is coauthor, with architect Stuart Cohen, of two important books on historic residential architecture in Chicago: North Shore Chicago, Houses of the Lakefront Suburbs: 1890-1940 (Acanthus Press, 2004) and Great Houses of Chicago: 1871-1921 (Acanthus Press, 2008).