When we think about Mid-Century Modern design we think about some of the great names like Walter Gropius, Florence Knoll, Bauhaus and Le Corbusier. Images of their sleek lines and innovate use of space are what we choose to remember, in addition to the political and social factors that were part of their aesthetic movement.

What we tend not to dwell on are what many people consider to be massive design fails that are an inherent part of the mid-century modern design.

Mid-century modern is used to identify developments in architecture, interior design and urban development for the period between the early 1930s and the mid 1960s.

Consider that the early 1930s marked the end of the Depression and the early rumblings of World War II. The period in between encompassed the Second World War, and economic prosperity of the late 1940s and early 1950s, a surge in population that gave us the Baby Boomer Generation, the Korean War, The Kennedy Era and the foundation of what would become the Vietnam War.

As an artist and aesthete, that’s a lot to work with!

Despite the vision and innovation that should be recognized in mid-century modern design, here are what are considered some of its greatest design failures.

Glass, Glass, and More Glass

Mid-century modern in Houston, deserves a closer look 😉SEE MORE: https://buff.ly/2yCGwdR

Posted by Mid-Century Home on Friday, October 20, 2017

Walls made entirely of glass, windows that span from floor to ceiling, glass houses – glass is a design component of mid century modern design resulted in looks that were great in concept but failed in practically.

Some theorize that the excessive use of glass represented the elimination of boundaries and constraints after the Second World War. Symbolizing an openness and transparency in society.

Whatever the reason, glass is not a good form of insulation, so unless your house happens to be built in an entirely temperate controlled zone, you are going to have trouble controlling the indoor environment.

Open Floor Plans

Beautiful renovation lead by love for mid-century design.Via IG user @johnsimeonhooks

Posted by Mid-Century Home on Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Frank Lloyd Wright was a game changer when it came to designing living space, and many of the mid-century designers followed his open design concept.

Gone were the walls and restricted spaces that defined a house, the new cool called for a totally open living space.

Are you noticing a trend here, as with the use of glass?

Perhaps it was tearing down social walls, or a need for transparency in living, but the practical use of walls provides not only structural support but also privacy for rapidly expanding families.

Additionally to the lack of privacy, concerns such as heating and cooling are more expensive. Not to mention more difficult to control in open spaces, unlike in rooms where the heat is more contained.

Open Structures

Midcentury modern renovation.More here: http://bit.ly/2oyhapC

Posted by Dwell on Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Given the lack of privacy inside your mid-century modern home’s open floor plan, you may go outside to the balcony. Seeking privacy, for a little quiet time. Alas, your safety may be compromised there due to the mid-century aesthetic that favored open ledges and unobstructed platforms that “floated” in mid-air.

Many of these spaces had few walls or railings visually lightening the design. but the practical use of this no-wall/no barrier aesthetic could (and did) cause injuries and falls.

Consider too that the floating staircase was also a popular mid-century element.

Floating oak stair

Posted by Staircase Renovations Scotland on Friday, November 3, 2017

Now imagine getting a building permit today with such a plan, or even passing code inspections.  Not likely…

The World Is Flat, And So Is The Roof

Be fly like a butterfly roof in your new mid-century modern home. #palmsprings #butterflyroofs #leaskoupartners #johnwhiterealtor

Posted by John White – Realtor on Friday, September 22, 2017

Mid-century design conjures the look of future homes imagined in “The Jetson’s” cartoons. They eliminated anything interrupting the line of the horizon. That included pointed roofs or other vertical elements.

A flat roof is great if you live in the desert. However, a sloped roof allows snow, rain, and debris like leaves or branches to fall for easy removal.

Snow is heavy. Leaves clog drainage systems. Branches on the roof can be ugly. Wait, doesn’t that interrupt the line of the horizon?

A flat roof is an enormous maintenance problem for much of America where they have seasonal elements like snow.

Too Much Outdoors Indoors

Black Mid Century Modern Fireplace Dealer #3333$975Lucas Street Antiques Mall2023 Lucas Dr. Dallas, TX 75219

Posted by Lucas Street Antiques on Friday, November 10, 2017

Mid-century modern designers favored bold focal points in the form of a fireplace or indoor pond.

Likely intended to provide a calm place to reflect, huge design features made spaces cramped. They seemed like giant outdoor nature formations which also required upkeep. They were difficult to clean, and oftentimes, were dangerous for young children.

While Mid-century modern made a lot of mistakes, it still has a place in contemporary design. The past few years have seen a resurgence in people who favor mid-century design for their homes.

But hopefully, this new generation of modernists will learn from these mistakes. Finally fixing the flaws in mid-century modern design.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This