What Are The Best Things About Living In A Modernist House?

On Monday, May 9th, 2011, Triangle Modernist Houses posted the following comment and question on Facebook. The responses are excellent insights into the value and pleasure of modernist houses. And since our mission to preserve and promote modernist residential design, we’re giving them a permanent place here on the TMH news blog…

Modernist houses are generally more works of art than construction, and the general public has little taste for living inside art. What do you think are the best things about living in a modernist house?

Kristal Roebuck: “Can you say fabulous? That’s what modern is all about!”

Bob Volpe: “Pride. It’s like having a ’61 Corvette you just want to polish all the time.”

Mark McLawhorn: “I like a good modern design integrated seamlessly within natural elements.”

Danny Taylor: “I personally like it when the clean lines of architecture and the classic lines of good antique furniture meet with a nice mix of modern art and antique prints.”

Sarah Sonke: “Modernism can be an environment where limits and restrictions are taken away. That allows thought, more creativity, expression, and inspiration that can effect every aspect of your life.”

Jay Sikes: “While it is true that ‘the general public has little taste for living inside art,’ I would argue that any house that is ‘generally more works of art than construction’ is far from a successful architecture. In fact, it was that very aspect of International-style modernism that led to its backlash and downfall in the late ‘60s. That being said, the best thing about modernist houses is the dematerialization of the man-made environment into the natural environment.”

Kate Taylor Walker: “Living in Art! What could be better?”

Lee Trini: “I live in a classic Eichler with a center courtyard. It’s the most livable layout you can imagine. What makes it a work of art is it’s simplicity and ability to inspire.”

Katheryn OldShield Mukai: “Theoretically, I’ve liked the openness, the light — but I must admit there are needs for cozy retreats, too, and I think the view might matter, especially where privacy is an issue. But many of the houses I’ve visited have allowed for both.”

Joe Linus: “Some modernist structures derive from the perfection of the machine, but there are others that recognize the organic nature of humankind. These are the successful ones that scale properly, including the view and the cozy/private retreat, imbued with the fluid connection with nature on site.”

Jill Lewis Maurer: “I wake up every morning grateful to be surrounded by beauty.”

Matthew Griffith: “I live in a modernist house designed by A. Lewis Polier in 1954. It has better space and a more sophisticated connection between interior and exterior than 99 percent of houses built since. Modernist design is about integrating buildings to their places. My house serves our 2011 family of five beautifully! And, in line with Jay’s comments, my house is a masterpiece of function and domesticity that accommodates the barrage of three kids, is full of rich color and texture, and wears the patina of time gracefully. While Polier was less well known than his contemporary Matsumoto, our house has persisted against the elements and use much better than any of Matsumoto’s award-winners.”

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