Many consider the movement in America a reflection of the International and Bauhaus movements in Europe, led by Walter Gropius, Marcel Breuer and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright is also seen as a major influence, training architects like Richard Neutra and Rudolph Schindler. Names like Joseph Eichler, John Entenza, George Fred Keck, his brother Willam Keck and Henry P. Glass were also instrumental in bringing the style to different parts of the country.
Mid-Century design was frequently deployed in the architecture of the American post-war suburbs. It is characterized by flat planes, clean lines, large glass windows and open spaces and floor plans. While the style is easily distinguishable from other architectural styles, functionality is also a critical component, as average American families of the post-war era were the target of the movement. The modern designs of the movement were not only sleek and minimalist, but with an eye on being functional for the average family.
Here are some key elements:
- Flat planes: Homes feature geometric lines with flat or shed roofs and pronounced overhangs to give a geometric, angular appearance.
- Interior themes: A unified central area is the focus of wide-open, flowing floor plans that feature changes in elevation. Changes in elevation via small steps between rooms create split-level spaces.
- Healthy lifestyle: Rooms feature large windows and sliding glass doors for natural lighting and multiple outdoor views.
While there are many examples of Mid-Century Modern throughout the United States, many of the most historic examples reside in Southern California. Classic examples can be found in communities like Silver Lake, the Hollywood Hills, Pasadena, Palm Springs, Bel-Air, Pacific Palisades, Encino and Studio City, among many others.