Aerial Modernism

written by:
January 20, 2010

Some of the most famous modern buildings are now preserved as public landmarks, which anyone can visit and tour. Others remain private, viewed only through architectural photography and magazine features. Those that are in historical registries can at least be located on maps, which means through the magic that is Google Satellite, they can be seen from high above in the context of their landscape.

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  Richard Neutra's Lovell Health House was designed and built in the late 1920s in Los Angeles for doctor Philip Lovell. An example of International Style, the influence of industry and technology is apparent in the clean, white house.

    Richard Neutra's Lovell Health House was designed and built in the late 1920s in Los Angeles for doctor Philip Lovell. An example of International Style, the influence of industry and technology is apparent in the clean, white house.

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  Walter Gropius's Hagerty House (designed with Marcel Breuer) was built in 1938 in Cohasset, Massachusetts (and covered in Dwell in January 2009). The house sits just steps from the coastline, and is named for its original owner, Josephine Hagerty, whose son was a student at the Harvard Graduate School of Design when Gropius came to teach there from his native Germany.

    Walter Gropius's Hagerty House (designed with Marcel Breuer) was built in 1938 in Cohasset, Massachusetts (and covered in Dwell in January 2009). The house sits just steps from the coastline, and is named for its original owner, Josephine Hagerty, whose son was a student at the Harvard Graduate School of Design when Gropius came to teach there from his native Germany.

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  Charles and Ray Eames built their own home, known as Case Study House No. 8, in Pacific Palisades, California, in 1949. Originally designed with input from Eero Saarinen, the house incorporates prefabricated parts, steel framing, and a colorful facade. The Eames's lived in the house until they passed away.

    Charles and Ray Eames built their own home, known as Case Study House No. 8, in Pacific Palisades, California, in 1949. Originally designed with input from Eero Saarinen, the house incorporates prefabricated parts, steel framing, and a colorful facade. The Eames's lived in the house until they passed away.

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  Pierre Koenig's Case Study House No. 22 is perhaps best known through the famous photo taken by Julius Shulman of the living room windows stretching out toward the city below. Built in 1960 in Los Angeles, the house has inspired many designers and is often used to illustrate the romance of mid-century living in southern California.

    Pierre Koenig's Case Study House No. 22 is perhaps best known through the famous photo taken by Julius Shulman of the living room windows stretching out toward the city below. Built in 1960 in Los Angeles, the house has inspired many designers and is often used to illustrate the romance of mid-century living in southern California.

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  Craig Ellwood's Hale House in Beverly Hills is another in the southern California modernist legacy. Built in 1949, the design exposes the Texan-born architect's penchant for sharp geometry and the influence of Mies van der Rohe and Charles Eames on his work.

    Craig Ellwood's Hale House in Beverly Hills is another in the southern California modernist legacy. Built in 1949, the design exposes the Texan-born architect's penchant for sharp geometry and the influence of Mies van der Rohe and Charles Eames on his work.

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  Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois, is one of the most classic and iconic houses among modernist buildings, exemplifying the steel and glass construction that remains popular in modern architecture today. The white structural pieces and walls of windows leave plenty of room for the green midwestern landscape to take center stage.

    Mies van der Rohe's Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois, is one of the most classic and iconic houses among modernist buildings, exemplifying the steel and glass construction that remains popular in modern architecture today. The white structural pieces and walls of windows leave plenty of room for the green midwestern landscape to take center stage.

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  John Lautner's 1960 Malin House—often referred to as the Chemosphere—captures the best of the retro-futuristic aesthetics often seen in buildings from that time. Standing high in the Hollywood Hills, perched atop of large concrete stem, the place resembles a UFO taking off over the trees.
    John Lautner's 1960 Malin House—often referred to as the Chemosphere—captures the best of the retro-futuristic aesthetics often seen in buildings from that time. Standing high in the Hollywood Hills, perched atop of large concrete stem, the place resembles a UFO taking off over the trees.
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  Philip Johnson's Glass House sits in the midst of the green expanse of New Canaan, Connecticut. The house was Johnson's own private residence and is now a 47-acre campus dedicated to historic preservation, modernism and art. Each year at the Glass House, leading thinkers gather to discuss design and culture.

    Philip Johnson's Glass House sits in the midst of the green expanse of New Canaan, Connecticut. The house was Johnson's own private residence and is now a 47-acre campus dedicated to historic preservation, modernism and art. Each year at the Glass House, leading thinkers gather to discuss design and culture.

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  Marcel Breuer's Chamberlain Cottage was built in 1940 in Wayland, Massachusetts. Unlike many of the steel and glass houses chronicled in modernist archive, this was an organic structure made from American timber.

    Marcel Breuer's Chamberlain Cottage was built in 1940 in Wayland, Massachusetts. Unlike many of the steel and glass houses chronicled in modernist archive, this was an organic structure made from American timber.

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  Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater is arguably the most famous work of 20th century American architecture known outside of the architecture and design circles. Embracing and emphasizing nature and organic architecture, Fallingwater was built in the late 1930s in rural Pennsylvania. The building, which hovers above a waterfall, was featured on the cover of Time Magazine in 1938.

    Frank Lloyd Wright's Fallingwater is arguably the most famous work of 20th century American architecture known outside of the architecture and design circles. Embracing and emphasizing nature and organic architecture, Fallingwater was built in the late 1930s in rural Pennsylvania. The building, which hovers above a waterfall, was featured on the cover of Time Magazine in 1938.

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