"It’s a non-academic approach that I think is interesting"
June 14, 2021 12:23 PM   Subscribe

I have no idea what Midwest Modern is as an architectural style, but I dig photos of other places and some of these are pretty cool and others are terrible and unfortunately way too familiar. Awesome!
posted by The_Vegetables at 2:29 PM on June 14

There is a Michigan Modern as a recognized style (e.g., Minoru Yamasaki, Eero Saarinen and others), but I think he's just using "Midwest Modern" as a catch-all for what he documenting. Some of it is definitely more kitsch (the novelty signage and things like that).

But unsurprisingly, a lot of Yamasaki crops up in his feed.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 2:37 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]

I appreciate his Alden B Dow fixation--I went to school in goofy set of buildings designed by Dow and didn't really know anything about him other than he was one of those Dows.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 3:02 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]

I really am enjoying this characterization of “Midwestern Modern” that is more inclusive of vernacular architecture. Midwestern small towns often have a stripped-back quality that should be recognized as a “real” aesthetic that comes from local culture and place. I’ve moved out to the coast but these images pull at my soul as evocative of home.
posted by q*ben at 3:17 PM on June 14 [6 favorites]

I like when architects try to follow local traditions of style and materials, but lots of structures aren't very well served by whatever the local stone is -- e.g. the yellow limestone at Target Field, which looks sickly and stained on TV and which seems really popular in a lot of institutional buildings built around the Midwest in the early 2000s.

But that bonkers red variegated sandstone is perfect for the Presbyterian Church in Ohio and the font on the sign by the door is doubly-so.
posted by theory at 6:31 PM on June 14 [4 favorites]

@theory: LOL, the font in that sign jumps out at me, too. I would call it... ecclesiastic Comic-Sans??

Love the "Midwest Modern" umbrella for thinking about architecture. As a Chicago/Midwest immigrant, I don't have any particular nostalgia for these places. Still, these buildings seem both familiar (vernacular?) enough and distinct enough that they really poke at me to examine the subtle differences between my home-home (northeast US) and now-home (Midwest).

Also agree that there is some roadside kitsch lumped in with the architecture. My categorizing brain wants to break this into two blogs with two themes: "Midwest Modern" and "Route 66 Diaspora".
posted by Theophrastus Johnson at 8:56 PM on June 14 [2 favorites]

I like the kitch! The parking lot kiosks sidetrip in twitter is cool.
posted by The_Vegetables at 7:36 AM on June 15

I would call it... ecclesiastic Comic-Sans??

It kind of says "Presbyterianism, but for wizards."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:06 AM on June 15 [3 favorites]

As someone who is known to vacation in the Midwest mostly to take photos of buildings in small towns this is up my alley. I have to say though that Twitter, with its text limitation, limited photo size, no organization tools, lack of discoverability, etc., is an odd choice as a home for these photos.
posted by plastic_animals at 6:13 PM on June 15

Yeah, a blog would be the ideal home for it, with the Twitter feed just leading back there. It would mean being able to sort by location, topic, etc.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:50 AM on June 16

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