About

We’re passionate about Mid-Century Modern residential architecture. This website celebrates that innovative, exciting period in British housing design, when young architects began to express new ideas about urban and suburban living against a backdrop of post war optimism and prosperity. We review Mid-Century Modern house and bungalow designs, from custom homes by leading architects of the time to examples of both speculative private housing and public sector work. We discuss the built form and its architectural influences, plans, elevations, the choice of building materials, and themes underlying the design of interior spaces. Where possible, we name the architect who designed the home, and the year it was built. As a source of buildings for review, we use property currently for sale in the UK

Our aim is to promote a wider interest in and appreciation for Mid-Century Modern residential architecture in the UK. So, if you share our passion, why not buy a Mid-Century Modern house and help to conserve our built heritage?

All properties reviewed are listed on UK property portals, and we encourage users to seek out further information there. We don’t link directly to portals because, over time, these links become stale. We leave the choice of which portal to search to the user.

In the context of this website, we use the term Mid-Century Modern to broadly cover the post war period 1955 to 1975. This is slightly later than the US equivalent movement, which started in earnest after the Second World War, due to the fact that before the mid-50’s building restrictions in the UK inhibited private sector development.

British Private Sector Housing - 1955 to 1975

With a strong desire to escape the revivalist traditions of British housing and look to a future that utilised new building techniques and materials, British architects adopted the idiom of Modernism in the aftermath of World War II. Mock Tudor and neo-Georgian styles lost favour in a society that was more interested in the future than nostalgia.

Beginning in the 1920’s, Modernist architects embraced the concept of pure forms, viewing a building as a volume rather than a mass, and allowing interior functions to dictate exterior forms. The machine age aesthetic rejected the superfluous use of adornment and decoration, and instead concentrated on the simplicity of line, integrity of expression and the honest use of materials. The geometric forms created by architects such as Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius and members of De Stijl would influence a generation of young architects in what would subsequently become the International Style.

As residential building restrictions were finally lifted in 1954, British architects looked to Scandinavian and American designs for inspiration. The houses of Alvar Aalto and Marcel Breuer presented a softer form of Modernism, one which embraced vernacular materials in a manner which was perceived as more accommodating to the conservative tastes of the British public. Weatherboard and hanging tile were applied to the facades of houses in modern abstract arrangements. Open plan flexible interior spaces accompanied the shift to informal living, whilst the carport showcased the family car.

At the same time, the houses of the Case Study programme in the US offered exciting new designs by architects including Richard Neutra, Raphael Soriano, Craig Ellwood, Charles and Ray Eames, and Pierre Koenig. Flat roofs allowed for much more complex and expressive plans than could be accommodated with a pitched roof, and large walls of glazing blurred the boundaries between house and garden.

This mid-century form of Modernism left a bold imprint on British residential architecture from the 1950s through until the 1970s, when Post-Modernism saw a changing of styles. Against a backdrop of deeply rooted conservatism amongst homeowners, town planners and mortgage providers, the canon of mid-century residential architecture is remarkable. Though many fine custom and speculative houses remain they are unfortunately imperilled by unsympathetic alterations which undermine the integrity of the original design.