Dennis Domer and Bill Steele on a site visit

In 2009, we began an extensive survey of midcentury modern houses in Lawrence, one of only a few studies of its kind done in the United States. After identifying nearly 40 significant houses (as determined by our panel of “experts”), we set out to visit each one and evaluate them using criteria we developed. (See example below.) In total, we visited 33 houses over the course of two summers in 2009 and 2010. We met with the owners, took interior and exterior photographs, examined any architectural plans or related documents, and conducted exhaustive background research on each site. From there, we picked 13 houses — a “Baker’s Dozen” — to highlight.

Key to the success of the project was getting full access to the home. One of our criteria measures a home’s affective quality as inspired by Golfweek Magazine’s “walk in the park” test used to rate golf courses. While this may seem incongruous, there are similarities between residential and golf course architecture. How does the architecture fit into the landscape? How does the space flow? Does it excite the senses? We gave numerical values to support our individual critiques, but in the final analysis evaluating houses, like most anything, is highly subjective. Despite this, our rating panel scored houses quite close to each other. We plan to revisit our choices and conduct an updated survey in 2020.

—A sample of the form we used to evaluate houses—

3 Comments

  1. Lucy McAllister
    Posted June 23, 2011 at 11:12 pm | Permalink

    Beautifully designed, informative and educational website.

    • Lawrence Modern
      Posted December 8, 2011 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Thank you Lucy. We appreciate the positive feedback.

  2. Lawrence Modern
    Posted January 1, 2012 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Thank you Lucy.


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