03 January 2008

Birth of the Modern

The world needs another blog. At last count there were only 39 billion of them in existence. So we’re starting this blog as a place to write about one of our enthusiasms -- modern houses, and the well-designed furniture and objects that fit in them.

We think that at their best, modern houses are beautiful, warm, inviting, and efficient in ways that are important in an era when energy consumption should be declining. And we think modern furniture and other objects are beautiful and functional, even when they’re not in modern houses.

What do we mean by “modern houses”? Generally we mean houses that were built from roughly the 1930s to the 1960s (our was built in 1939). Houses that are characterized by flat or gently-sloping roofs, an efficient use of interior space, a rejection of ornamentation for the sake of ornamentation, a connection (usually through large expanses of glass) with the natural world, and a sensitivity to the environmental conditions of the site they are built on – again, generally. But not always. Fantastic houses with a modern sensibility were built in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s, and are being built today (although not many).

Unfortunately many more are being knocked down, to be replaced by cookie-cutter monstrosities. This is particular issue in our former home, New Canaan, Connecticut (the Alice Ball house, below, which was designed by Philip Johnson, is threatened now) but it's a problem elsewhere too.

alice ball demolition notice 11/8/07

Our goal is to write not only about modern houses that are threatened, but also about particularly interesting ones that aren’t, about the architects who designed them and, if we can, about the people who live in them – and also about the sensibility that informs them.

Modernism was a good model for domestic architecture in the middle of the 20th century, and we think it can be a good model for the early 21st too.


meg said...

Yeah I love this idea! I'm happy to witness the start of the world's 39,000,000,001st blog!

Tamara said...

Ditto for me. One can never have too many blogs devoted to modern design and architecture!