The Challenge: Reimagining Post-Modern Architecture

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“Hello, Again.” This is the rallying cry of Lincoln Motor Company to embrace the past while simultaneously challenging convention to build for the future. This philosophy allows us to draw inspiration from the storied legacy of the motorcars from our past, as well as from art, design, and film.

To this end, we created the Hello, Again Re-imagine Mid-Century Design challenge in conjunction with Dwell Magazine. The vision that formed this cathartic shift of architecture in America and spawned Mid-Century Modernism holds a wealth of promise and potential for the 21st century.

We asked designers and architects around the country to explore the world following modern architecture and evolve the byproduct of the new industrial housing boom of post-World War II, an aesthetic that embraced the critical concept that form should follow function – a conceit responsible for bringing spatial design to an entirely new level.

Born of movements that included the International Style of architecture, Populist Modern and Neo-Expressionism, Mid-Century design embraced the nature and construct of blending light, air, wood, glass and concrete so that space intermingled from the interior and exterior worlds. It introduced a new way of seeing space.

Featuring clean horizontal and vertical planes, functionality and simple forms, Mid- Century Modernism sought to bring what was fresh and new to American homes, ushering in an era that imagined a new way to live.

From among the numerous entries, largely from working professionals, the top 10 were chosen and opened up to the Dwell online community for voting. The three top entries were selected and a winner was chosen from them.

In each instance, as shown in video interviews, careful thought and a deep connection to the history of design and architecture informed the entries.

“We believe it’s very important to reimagine the way things work because that’s what the nature of design is.”

The winning entry from architects Gregory and Elizabeth Kauffman’s winning entry, Hybrid House 3, blends between the forward-thinking designs of Mid-Century Modernism with the new aesthetic of sustainability and evolved connectivity to nature.

To this end, they seamlessly incorporated the elements that are typical of a Mid-Century Modern home – through construct and nature in an open space connected to the subtropic environment of Florida – where they intend to build and live in the house.

“The constraints of the modern world are ever-changing, so our response to those constraints and opportunities has to be changing as well.”

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Using features often found in the region – including keystone facings, metal roofing, terrazzo floors and cypress ceilings – they have embodied the feel of a Mid-Century Modern home while evolving it to include 21st century ideas: solar panels, green roof spaces and rainwater capture systems for applications around the property.

The second-place entry from designer Irene Hernandez-Sanchez, Sustainable Modernism, brought classicMid-Century Modernism into the 21st century through a concept known as urban in-fill coupled with a live-work design aesthetic that makes use of sustainable materials and techniques.

“We’re seeing a lot more abandoned lots or existing buildings that have been abandoned… I think it’s important to reimagine the way things work – it’s how we evolve and progress.”

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Irene’s study of Modernism is clearly reflected in her design. Yet it does not replicate the past so much use it as a way to achieve the creative solutions to the challenges of modernday construction.

As with Gregory and Elizabeth’s design incorporates modern technology and post-modern design aesthetics, Irene incorporates solar panels, electrochromic glass and wood panels in her design, bringing the 21st century’s innovations to the fore while building light, open, airy spaces to create a unique live/work home environment.

Ralph Tullie’s entry, the Rotate House, took third place. Ralph, an architectural designer who specializes in trade shows, small interior residential projects and outdoor spaces, created his modern interpretation of the Mid-Century Modern home design is inspired by early architects of the period whose work is considered to be one of the foundations of post-modern home design.

“To me, modern design is really about solving a problem, and doing it in a way that’s authentic and honest and the product is easy to read, easy to look at.”

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Ralph’s Round House draws inspiration from Mid-Century design, utilizing a circular design broken down into eight modules, each of which is connected to a green space. This reimagining, using a wealth of glass, incorporates the outdoors, natural daylight and indoor living areas which flow beautifully from one to the next for a feeling to true connection to the natural world.

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