Southern California is home to so many iconic midcentury buildings thanks in large part to the Case Study House Program, an Arts & Architecture sponsored experiment in American residential architecture. From 1945 to 1966, the magazine commissioned some of the major, cutting-edge architects working at that time, like Richard Neutra, Craig Ellwood, Charles and Ray Eames, A. Quincy Jones, and Joseph Eichler, among others, to design and build inexpensive, easily replicated, and efficient model homes for the postwar housing boom caused by millions of WWII soldiers returning home to the U.S.
Not all of the original 36 Case Study designs were actually built, but most of those that were constructed are in Los Angeles, aka Hunker territory (another in San Rafael, Northern California, and one in Phoenix, Arizona, for good measure). Not all of those lucky enough to acquire such architectural gems know to carefully preserve the history of their home but when they do, the magic of simple post-and-beam construction may live and be passed on to the next generation, and the next, and the next. From California to Poland, here are 17 pristine examples of how to honor midcentury architecture.
1. Pasadena Paradise
2. Scandinavia Meets Santa Monica
3. A Midcentury Icon
4. It's All About the Furniture
5. Proof: Drama Leads to Good Architecture
6. Minimal, Earthy, and Amazing in NorCal
TAKE THE TOUR: "In this redesign, we aimed to have a reinterpretation of paneling: echoing the original concept, but making it more strategic," said the building Lab principal whose team optimized original wood paneling with better lighting, more natural materials, and less of a barrier to the outside world.
7. Detroit Home Returns to Its Former Glory
8. 360-Degree Desert Views, Anyone?
9. Odd (and Useful) Objects
10. How to Work with Midcentury Browns
11. Indoor Pool: A True Midcentury Must-Have
12. Texas Americana
13. Midcentury-Style Prefab Set in the Rocks
14. Always Keep the Midcentury Fireplace
15. Windows Galore!
16. West Elm Does Midcentury ... and It Works
TAKE THE TOUR: Palm Springs proves an ideal match for West Elm's modern, clean lines, with its midcentury modern architecture and vivid colors: Welcome inside the 2018 West Elm Pool House, a 2,700-square-foot pad built in the 1970s and ready for your next pool party (with a minimum 29-night rental and rates around $650 per night, no big).