Elizabeth Close: Midcentury Modern Master
September 10, 2017 9:35 PM   Subscribe

Uncompromising in her designs and single-minded in her approach, it was said that the word "decoration" was like a swear word to her. But Minnesota has benefited from her clean lines. And midcentury modernism has an open-air museum in Columbus Indiana which is full of outstanding buildings by architects lured there by the head of the Cummins Engine Company. And it's celebrating itself with Exhibit Columbus.
posted by MovableBookLady (9 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Thank you for this post! I (an Aussie) have spent quite a bit of time in Minneapolis in recent years, and I love the MCM appreciation groups and architecture culture there. I did not know about Close and am super impressed to read about her.
posted by honey-barbara at 10:56 PM on September 10, 2017

Thanks for this! I took a number of classes in architectural history some years ago, and never heard of her!
posted by foonly at 4:00 AM on September 11, 2017

Good for her on snubbing Neutra's "offer" to work at his firm - and pay him to do so! Thanks for the post.
posted by yoga at 4:51 AM on September 11, 2017

Columbus, Indiana is really somewhere you should see if you're into architecture. I mean, there's an elementary school by IM Pei. Cool stuff is everywhere.
posted by kevinbelt at 5:22 AM on September 11, 2017

I grew up in a neighborhood with quite a few of her homes. They are truly special, though I'm still not certain I'd want to have a flat roof in a Minnesota winter.
posted by Think_Long at 8:42 AM on September 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Very cool. I live a few blocks from university grove, and it's one of my favorite walks because I like gawking at the houses. I do agree that flat roofs can be a huge problem here though.
posted by Molly Razor at 8:56 AM on September 11, 2017

As a fan of vernacular architecture, I agree that flat roofs in snowy/rainy climates make no sense. But we do get pretty buildings from them. Also, we have an I.M. Pei building here in Asheville NC, one of the uglier buildings I've seen and one that pays no attention to the vernacular of the town. They tore down a whole side of the central square to put the monstrosity up. Aaarrrgh.
posted by MovableBookLady at 10:50 AM on September 11, 2017

How cool! The house I grew up in, until I was twelve, was built for my parents by Elizabeth Close in University Grove. They were on a tight budget and it's a relatively small and modest house, but in retrospect I'm struck by the quality of the design and by my good fortune in having grown up in it. (When I was twelve, we moved to a different house in the Grove, a vast rundown quasi-Tudor mansion that was pretty much the antithesis of the Close house. Fun to live in as a teenager, though.)
posted by Kat Allison at 10:50 AM on September 11, 2017 [2 favorites]

There's a new film set in Columbus, IN by the video essayist Kogonada(previously) set in that town and largely about architecture. Trailer.
posted by octothorpe at 10:57 AM on September 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

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