Not many cities can compete with Palm Springs when it comes to sheer quantity of Midcentury Modern architecture – yet there are a fair number of homes and commercial buildings in Kansas City with a distinct Midcentury Modern flare.
One example is the Broadmoor Ranch Historic District, a subdivision of Midcentury ranch style homes built between 1953-1959. There are also several banks, professional buildings, and even houses of worship in the area that feature Midcentury Modern architecture. Many of these iconic structures can be viewed here courtesy of a KCUR – FM 89.3 article. With a host of leading architects and builders calling the KC area during the heyday of Midcentury, it’s no surprise to discover a nice variety of Midcentury Modern masterpieces throughout Kansas City neighborhoods.
Among the well-known practitioners of the Midcentury style in Kansas City at the time were iconic names like Don Drummond, Bruce Goff, Sam Symons, and David Runnells (these are also great names to use online when searching for Midcentury Modern architectural style and design).
Spotting Midcentury Modern architecture in Kansas City
Watch for sharp clean exterior lines, nearly flat roof panels off-center roof peaks, and also large ornate glass doors – some homes even feature double front doors, often with centered doorknobs. Varnished wood is a common building material – inside and out. Windows may be tall and narrow – or placed above head, like long narrow ribbons of glass adding brightness to the room while still lending privacy and a solid inner wall perfect for placing art, shelving, cabinets and more.
Notice the changing elevation elevations and low-rise roof peaks. Wide, stacked stone fireplaces characterize many Midcentury Modern homes – often quite wide and built with variety of stone or faux stone fascia. Midcentury homes are often sparse in decor, their owners preferring simple period designs – less is more, drawing one’s eye to the beautiful wood panelling, fireplace hearths, natural light and splashes of bright colors throughout. Many Midcentury Modern homes were influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright’s high prairie style, embracing large open spaces and natural and organic construction materials such as stone and wood. Easy access to simple but well kept outdoor entertainment areas is a must, so expect to find multiple doors and windows connecting the indoors to outdoor living spaces.
One of KC’s classic Midcentury Modern homes in was featured in a 2018 article in MidCenturyHome.com. With classic elongated windows and beautifully consistent interior design, this house was designed and once inhabited by the well-known MidCentury architect Sam Symons. Renovated with care in 2016, the home still retains its authentic Midcentury Modern vibe. Read that full article here.
Ashley and Sarah Kendrick – Midcentury Modern Home Enthusiasts
Although fans of the nuances of most all styles of architecture, when it came time for Ashley and Sarah Kendrick to choose their own home, it was a classic Midcentury Modern masterpiece on a corner lot on High Drive that drew them in. According to Ashley, “I love pulling up to our home from both the front and the side of the house. It never gets old – it’s got a one-of-a-kind uniqueness to it. It’s almost like it’s its own person, you know? And I love that about it.”
Ashley continues, “Although I also appreciate the more stark Midcentury style, Sarah and I both have always gravitated to more of the Midcentury nature theme – wood, plants, water. There is just this warmth in our house that feels like a giant hug to us. And there’s elements of nature everywhere. We love the warm wood. It’s very earthy and organic. And I think it’s a very spiritual place for me. I had never felt like that walking into a place before – I just really, really feel at home.”
It’s quite likely there are homes or businesses or places of worship in your own community that have been influenced by or designed in the Midcentury Modern style. Take a drive through your own neighborhood with fresh perspective and keep a sharp eye out for those organic materials, geometric lines, and the iconic embrace of nature!