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Ed Murchison

Dallas, Texas
Real Estate Agent
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Modern Architectural Styles

Mid-century Modern - Mid-century modern is the design movement in interior, product, graphic design, architecture, and urban development from roughly 1945 to 1975.  Author Cara Greenberg coined the phrase "midcentury modern" as the title for her 1984 book, Midcentury Modern: Furniture of the 1950s. In 1983, Greenberg had written a piece for Metropolitan Home about 1950s furniture, and an editor at Crown urged her to write a book on the topic. As for the phrase "midcentury modern," Greenberg has said she "just made that up as the book's title,".  

Mid-century modern architecture featured flat roofs, angular details and asymmetrical profiles. Expansive walls of glass, clean lines and wide open floor plans were also hallmarks of this residential style. This movement was also the first to use bi-level structures. The mid-century modern approach married indoor spaces to the outside, which made it extremely popular on the West Coast and warmer climates like Dallas. 

Mid-century modern style appealed to a wide array of people. The well heeled hired the best architects of the day to design and build impressive custom homes. At the same time, suburban developers brought modern style to the masses, creating tract homes using the same design principles.  This is represented right here in our area by the amazing Mid-century Modern homes found in upscales neighborhoods like Highland Park and Preston Hollow to smaller more affordable working class neighborhoods in Garland, Irving, Richardson and Arlington.  

The Dallas/Fort Worth area has such a magnificent collection of mid century homes because the DFW area expanded so rapidly during this era. 

Mid-century Modern Architectural Elements

• Low-pitched or flat roof line
• Expansive glass windows 
• Soffits frequently with cutouts for nearby trees
• Clerestory Windows
• Clean Lines
• Exposed Beams
• Courtyards
• Open floor plans
• Vaulted ceilings
• Terrazzo, Cork or Wood Floors
• Redwood or Walnut Wood Panels
• Japanese-inspired screens
•Exposed Brick or Stone Walls
• Jack-and-Jill bathrooms
• Floor-to-ceiling windows
• Abundant outdoor views and natural light








International/Bauhaus - Just like it sounds, the international style came from overseas. Notable European architects including Rudolf Schindler and Richard Neutra from Austria and William Lescaze from Switzerland arrived in the United States in the early 20th century.

They were followed by “the elite of Europe’s great Bauhaus School — Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe and Marcel Breuer — all fleeing Hitler

The Bauhaus, a German word meaning "house of building", was a school founded in 1919 in Weimar, Germany by architect Walter Gropius. The school emerged out of late-19th-century desires to reunite the applied arts and manufacturing, and to reform education.  Bauhaus style houses feature a very streamline art deco look.  Homes in this style are generally from the 1920's to the 1930's and this eye catching architectural style typically features curved wall and glass block walls, round windows, and corner steel casement windows.  There are a few good examples around the Dallas area including 6851 Gaston Avenue in Lakewood, 4401 Beverly Dr. in the Park Cities, 5102 Pershing in Cochran Heights and 1302 Cedar Hill in Kessler Park all of which were featured on the Preservation Dallas Art Deco Home Tour held in Spring of 2018.  

Ranch House - Ranch is a domestic architectural style originating in the United States. Ranch style homes were mostly built from the 1940's through the 1960's.  This style of house is one of my favorites since they are well built with quality materials and have flexible floors plans that are easy to modify.  Mid-century Modern houses generally fit within the Ranch style.  I find that a nice Ranch style house with clean lines is often one of the best buys when someone either can't find or can't afford the quintessential "Eichler or Cliff May style" Mid-century Modern home.

Since the Dallas/Fort Worth area grew so much during the '50's and '60's, there is a wide variety of Ranch style homes from expansive custom executive homes to modest tract homes.   

Organic Architecture - I see Wright’s Fallingwater in Pennsylvania as “the most famous and intrinsically organic house.” It’s built over a waterfall, and its cantilever design complements the rock formations around it.

An organic house fits its surroundings, so that one built in upstate New York looks far different from one in the desert.

Another great example is Dragon Rock, Russel Wright's famous hand-crafted home in upstate New York.  The house, studio and 75 acre Woodland gardens have been designated as a National Historic Landmark.  The property offers tours.  This is on my bucket list since I am a huge Russel Wright fan.    

Texas Modernism -  In the 1920s and '30s, architects like David Williams and O'Neil Ford pioneered Texasmodernism, a movement defined by steel, big windows, limestone, and a straightforward boxiness. ... Today, architects still practice the style.  The style is often referred to as Farmhouse Modern. 

Modern Architecture - Modern architecture, or modernist architecture, is a term applied to a group of styles of architecture which emerged in the first half of the 20th century and became dominant after World War II.  Modernism is the single most important new style or philosophy of architecture and design of the 20th century, associated with an analytical approach to the function of buildings, a strictly rational use of (often new) materials, an openness to structural innovation and the elimination of ornament.


Ed Murchison | 214-395-7151 | Contact Me
5950 Sherry Lane Suite 200 - Dallas, TX 75225
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