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Mid-century modern homes in Midland, MI

 
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Paul Ringstrom



Joined: 17 Sep 2005
Posts: 4069
Location: Mason City, IA

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 4:19 pm    Post subject: Mid-century modern homes in Midland, MI Reply with quote

new website: https://midcenturymidland.org
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Owner of the G. Curtis Yelland House (1910), by Wm. Drummond
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 17200
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hooray ! We live in a wonderful time for the appreciation of our architectural heritage, don't we ?

Look at Dow in 1934; get going, Mr Wright, or you'll be left behind ! This house predates the earliest pure Usonian designs, Hoult and Lusk -- though it follows the LA Textile Block houses by a decade.

The only thing missing for our appreciation of Dow's achievement is a plan drawing . . .

https://midcenturymidland.org/listings/heath/

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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 6031
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2019 10:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Michigan is a treasure trove of modernism.
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Paul Ringstrom



Joined: 17 Sep 2005
Posts: 4069
Location: Mason City, IA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 13, 2019 11:21 am    Post subject: Mid-Century Modern Architecture: Why Midland, Michigan? Reply with quote

Here are a few articles that I ran across on Midland MidCentury Modern:

July 28, 2017
https://www.ourmidland.com/realestate/article/Midland-documenting-its-Mid-Century-Modern-11655789.php

February 21, 2019
https://www.ourmidland.com/lifestyles/article/Midland-nbsp-Mid-Century-Modern-architectural-13631395.php

April 6, 2019 Part 1
https://www.ourmidland.com/lifestyles/article/Creating-a-definition-How-Mid-Century-Modern-13745505.php?utm_campaign=Wright%2BSociety&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Wright_Society_144#photo-17181763

April 13, 2019 Part 2
https://www.ourmidland.com/lifestyles/article/Mid-Century-Modern-Architecture-Why-Midland-13764819.php
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BhamRuss



Joined: 13 Apr 2006
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding Michigan Modernism, one of the most insightful comments I've heard was from Gunnar Birkerts at a Cranbrook symposium. The general sense of it was that if Eero Saarinen hadn't died so young, post-modernism would never have evolved.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 17200
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, BhamRuss. How do you interpret that statement; can you envision a plausible scenario fleshing out Birkerts's suggestion ?

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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 6031
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Without having heard Gunnar Birkherts’ comments, I would imagine it in this way: Eero Saarinen was not afraid of symbolism (TWA, St. Louis Arch, Dulles Airport) or expressionist moves that placed him at odds with the purity of Miesian architecture and the coldness of the International Style. But he did this without resorting to the eclectic historicism, one liner jokes, and flimsy stage set building of much of postmodernism. He retained a reverence for quality and craftsmanship, taught to him by his father, Eliel, never designing a facade and fleshing it out with cheap filler. His way was possibly on the verge of winning out against the bottom line capitalist corporate box developers who abused the Mies “style” as an excuse for repetitive, boring boxes. Venturi rebelled against bad excuses of modernism, not the rich, expressive symbolic creations of Saarinen and others like Lautner, etc. I don’t think the decorated shed argument would hold water in the case of Saarinen.
A new school of late modernism might have dominated, making Venturi’s position somewhat irrelevant.


Last edited by peterm on Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:50 pm; edited 2 times in total
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
Posts: 17200
Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 6:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's very helpful. (I look forward to Reidy's response as well.) Could you expand on your last sentence ?

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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 6031
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I guess I would use a couple of examples. We might have had more of this:

https://www.archdaily.com/102060/ad-classics-dulles-international-airport-eero-saarinen/5037f4c728ba0d599b000677-ad-classics-dulles-international-airport-eero-saarinen-photo

https://www.chronicle.com/blogs/buildings/renovations-update-saarinens-landmark-yale-u-buildings/8713

...and less of this,
https://pin.it/j7mvkkxarfjtjt

had Saarinen lived.
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
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Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Sun Apr 14, 2019 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah---yes. The Yale rink sketch puts me in mind of the Mendelsohn thumbnails we looked at recently.





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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 8993

PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wonder how much Saarinen's Ingalls Rink (1953) influenced Kenzo Tange's Yoyogi National Gymnasium (1964)?
A longer life for Saarinen may indeed have led toward something finer than the silliness of postmodernism.

It should be noted that Saarinen's brilliant Dulles Airport Terminal (one of my favorite buildings on Earth) was more than doubled in size by extending both ends in precisely matching style.
So what modern photos show is much larger than what Saarinen designed.
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BhamRuss



Joined: 13 Apr 2006
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Peterm has pretty well nailed it! Gunnar had great respect for both Eero and Aalto, describing them as being non-dogmatic in their philosophies and work in contrast to the other modern masters. Eero might be thought of as the most radical modern architect as he never pursued a singular style, but instead let solutions organically evolve. PM evolved due to boredom from the Miesien tradition. Had Eero been able to provide more examples of non-dogmatic solutions, PM would have had a smaller audience. I'd be interested in knowing what attracted Venturi to Eero's office?
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SDR



Joined: 17 Jun 2006
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Location: San Francisco

PostPosted: Mon Apr 15, 2019 6:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Perhaps we give too much attention---and thus too much power---to Postmodernist architecture, by thinking and speaking of it as a wide-spread,
even an omnipresent phenomenon. How many practitioners took it up ? Yes, several big names are identified with the movement . . . and have
had their reputations stained in the process . . . but many or most others carried on as before, did they not ?

I don't suggest that we ignore the movement altogether, or isnist that it shouldn't have happened; certainly, it stands as some sort of object lesson.
But it didn't kill architecture. It was perhaps predictable, even inevitable ?

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