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Mies van der Rohe’s celebrated dictum “less is more” encapsulates the principles of a movement that turns its back on artifice in the search for the simplest way to design a structure, always keeping in mind the goal of achieving the highest functionality with the most basic elements. In minimalist architecture, design elements convey the message of simplicity. The basic …

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Jens Risom was one of the first designers to introduce Scandinavian design in the United States.Defined by sharp Scandinavian lines and fused with the rustic aura of Shakerism and American arts and crafts, the armless, affordable chair that became Mr. Risom’s signature (Risom Lounge Chair pictured on main page) in 1942 was one of the first mass-produced modernist furniture pieces …

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who was first? minneapolis v.s. st. paul skyway system

A few years ago I listed a mid-century home in St. Louis Park that was designed by architect Ed Baker. One of my favorite things about specializing in modern properties is the exposure I get to different architects and designers of these cool houses. As I was delving into the background and history of Mr. Baker, I discovered that he …

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modern prefab housing, cabins and studios

Gropius decided to create prefab homes as well after he became concerned about the housing shortage in Germany after the end of WWI. His homes were styled in a similar design to Art-Deco and were very modern. Gropius’ prefabricated homes inspired the design style of prefab houses for many years along with the entire architecture world. With this ensemble of buildings, …

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a. quincy jones / warner brothers records

Much of the work of A. Quincy Jones, FAIA, from the 1960s has been in the design of buildings for university campuses and of office buildings. But he first gained recognition in residential work in the postwar era when the need for housing was acute. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1913, Jones was a professor of architecture at the …

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cedar square west / cedar village

Or, as it is now referred to as Riverside Plaza. Yes, there it is. That beautiful collection of buildings bursting with multi-colored panels that greets everyone entering Minneapolis from the east on I 94 and from the north on 35 W. What an interesting story behind this group of 11 buildings known as the 1st stage of a proposed 10 …

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the modern house and television commercials

Of course, car companies are not the only industry big hitters that appear to like using modern homes in their ads but they are my focus for this blog. If you haven’t noticed before, just start paying attention to television commercials’ use of the modern home for promoting their products. Tell me if you see a dutch colonial. How about …

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modernism and the summer home

I just spent the past weekend closing up our northern Wisconsin cabin for the winter. It’s a very modest family cabin that was built in the 50’s and other than taking the dock out, doesn’t really require that much effort to ready for our upcoming winter. The weather was cooperative which left me plenty of time to get started on …

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what defines modern architecture?

The terms— modern and contemporary — have been intermingled in the design world, resulting in a bit of confusion. A kind of confusion that leads us to ask: Is contemporary architecture/design the same as modern architecture/design? The answer is no, and a little bit of yes.  To be very literal, contemporary means now, while modern refers to technological and engineering …

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national modern architecture symposium coming to the twin cities

This June 3rd – June 7th, Docomomo US and Docomomo US/Minnesota will launch the third annual Docomomo US National Symposium–Modernism on the Prairie: Rural to Metro Regional Interpretations of the Modern Movement. This is a pretty big deal in the world of modernism for the Twin Cities area to be hosting such an event. Congratulations go out to the local Minnesota chapter …