Here in Italy people and authorities don’t think much about Mid-Century Modern architecture having failed completely to protect important buildings and hidden gems in the past – nationwide. 1960’s and 1970’s are mainly wiped off the map and more like candidates set to be demolished or replaced by anonymous, functional buildings without any sense for style and without respecting their surroundings. If you are lucky enough to live in one of the well preserved Mid-Century modern buildings, like we do here in Grado, you look back to this important period from a different point of view.
In our area there are still some important buildings left as some private owners or institutions like the University of Venice are trying to push on preservation and to focus on what’s still left.
Stazione Rogers Trieste, Richard Rogers, 1953
Lignano Pineta, Marcello d’Olivo, 1953
Villa Borlotto, Cervignano, Angelo Masieri, 1950
In recent years the IUAV Venezia began to collect images and data of interesting and endangered buildings as part of their student projects:
On their website you can find a map with buildings considered important in an architectural-artistic sense.
But when it comes to Mid-Century Modern in California we always thought that everything would be totally different there. History, climate, location, open minded people flocking in from all over the world and many other aspects made us believe that Mid-Century Modern architecture has reached kind of a monumental status – but it hasn’t!
On our journeys to California we’ve searched and visited many homes like the Stahl House, the Stevens Residence, the Chemosphere House, the Frey House II, the Kaufmann House, the Hotel Lautner or The Twin Palms Estate … just to name a few.
Stahl House, Pierre Koenig, Los Angeles, 1959
Chemosphere House, John Lautner, San Fernando Valley, 1960
Lately we realized that even there many iconic buildings have been demolished. Homes like the Maslon House in Rancho Mirage, California, Richard Neutra’s Sternberg Residence or John Lautner’s Woodland Hills building. Even there “neo-owners” of these structures start to battle for functional but ugly buildings without any sense for preservation of these masterpieces and are unable or not willing to create solutions to implement these icons into their new plans. Where there is a will, there’s a way too!
Sternberg Residence, Richard Neutra, Northridge, California, 1935
Even if it’s recent history, here or there, people should unite to preserve important examples in architecture sos history for the next generations and should be contious about how much they still influence our way of living until today. Maybe there’s no other period that influenced our way of living that much. Even today there is still a lot we can learn from these buildings and how they affect our way of living. What do you think?
…and here is a little food for thought to ponder built architectural history and its contemporary colloquial!