20 of the World's Most Beautiful Midcentury Modern Buildings
From private residences to airport terminals, these structures are the epitome of chic and sleek design.
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While midcentury modern design as we know it today was developed mainly on this side of the Atlantic, its origins can be traced to Europe's modernist movement after World War II. Architects and product designers such as Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Le Corbusier, Florence Knoll, and Eero Saarinen were interested in creating pieces and structures devoid of any ornate embellishments that were more streamlined and more in sync with nature. In fact, the connection with the environment became a significant feature of midcentury modern design. That's why most residences from the ‘50s and ‘60s tend to be a single story—or at most, two-stories high—and seem to blend in with nature rather than overpower it.
Other highlights of this period's structures include oversized windows, and geometric forms, open floor plans, and sliding windows that made it easier to bring the outside in.
This clean, even abstract and futuristic at times, aesthetic was a welcomed reprieve of the complicated, overly decorative styles that were popular in the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. It was also a more practical and fast approach to building—a necessity in the booming post-war American economy when suburbs started sprawling all across the country.
Ultimately, the beauty of midcentury modern design—and the reason for its success—is in its simplistic, less-is-more aesthetic that emphasized function. Here, we rounded up the brightest and most beautiful examples of midcentury modern architecture in the U.S. and around the globe.