Crain’s Chicago: New Book Explores Chicago’s Best Modernist Homes, ‘Modern in the Middle: Chicago Houses 1929-1975’


“Michelangelo Sabatino says he understands why midcentury modern homes are so hot right now. With their informal layouts and big windows framing views of the natural surroundings, ‘they gave freedom, openness, distance from the density of the city,’ he says.

“At a time when people are feeling trapped at home by COVID, Sabatino said, the feeling of liberty at home helps explain why a midcentury house by Edward Humrich in Riverwoods listed at $589,000 attracted 57 buyers to an open house and was under contract five days after it went on the market in August.

“‘These homes have the optimism of the post-World War II years,’ Sabatino said, and perhaps a new generation of buyers in a challenging era “want to get back to that.”

“Sabatino is co-author of ‘Modern in the Middle: Chicago Houses 1929-1975,’ a new book that tells the stories behind a few dozen samples of the rich stock of 20th-century modernist homes in Chicago and the suburbs. Published Sept. 1 by the Monacelli Press, the 344-page book costs $60.

“A professor of architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology, Sabatino teamed up with Susan Benjamin, a writer and preservationist who has researched hundreds of Chicago buildings for her two previous books and countless nominations she has submitted to the National Register of Historic Places.

“While modern residential architecture certainly wasn’t limited to the Chicago area, it was especially good here and well accepted, the authors said, in large part because of the two Chicago titans of 20th-century architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. The two innovators had very different styles—Wright used brick, wood and concrete to create seemingly organic structures, and Mies used glass and steel in strictly rectilinear forms—but “they both embraced nature with their designs,” Benjamin said.” (Rodkin, 8/31/20)

Real the full story with photos at Crain’s Chicago Business

New book explores Chicago’s best modernist homes; One reason midcentury homes are so hot now is they embody an optimism that some people would like to recapture in this gloomy era, one of the authors said, Dennis Rodkin, Crain’s Chicago Business, 8/31/20

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