The resurgence of Mid-Century Modern architecture

The resurgence of Mid-Century Modern architecture and how it lends itself to “Green Building” – ideal for Tampa climate:

America has had its share of enduring architectural movements, from Greek Revival to Spanish Colonial to Arts and Crafts.  Those are all styles, by the way, that describe both new and existing homes that you’ll see on the market.  For obvious reasons, architectural movements – unlike transitory fashions in clothing, for example – leave signs of that last for decades or centuries.

One of the most distinct architectural trends of the 20th century, though, is also one that has had a less prominent impact in America.  The Modernist movements in art and design probably make you think first of European names like Le Courbusier and Mies Van Der Rohe, whose minimalist buildings centered on open spaces, curtain walls, and innovative use of light.  While there are some remnants of the European modernist architects in the U.S., for instance the Eichler Homes in parts of California, naturally their work was less widespread here than back home.  Luckily, America had its very own modernists – Frank Lloyd Wright and his Prairie school, associated with names like Richard Neutra, William Krisel, and John Lautner, produced houses that minimized ornamentation, aimed to meld with the landscape, and made smart use of space and light.

mid-century modern home south tampa

Today, midcentury modern buildings continue to hold up as examples of some of the most beautiful architectural design anywhere.  But they’re more than just great-looking – the use of natural light, cantilevered roofs, and attention to landscape also make them some of the smartest and greenest houses ever built.  Here’s a great rundown from the architectural firm Build of 10 Forgotten Lessons of Mid-Century Design, including some decidedly ‘green’ features like roof eaves that provide shade in summer while letting in light during cold winters.

Maybe that green sensibility is why Midcentury Modern has been making such a comeback in both product design and architecture.  (Then again, the Mad Men factor doesn’t hurt, either).  South Florida has more than its share of surviving Modern homes and buildings, since the area boomed in the 1950s and 1960s when air conditioning made things a little more livable. That means Tampa Bay got hyperactive Atomic Age wonders like the Thunderbird and Bilmar Beach resorts on Treasure Island – but also more than a sprinkling of understated Prairie Modern homes, with flat lines and expansive views.

And appropriately enough, the Modern look isn’t confined to beautiful history pieces.  The lessons are being adapted to more and more new construction Modern homes in Tampa, too.  Keep an eye out, and you may find a modern new construction gem tucked in just about any corner of South Tampa!

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