Midcentury fans push for people to live glass houses

September 23, 2011

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You don’t have to look very hard to see Chicago’s tradition of midcentury modern architecture. A Mies here, a Frank Lloyd Wright there; we’re lousy with ‘em. Classics like Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City are on full display in the city (and through January, in a marvelous exhibit in the Art Institute’s Modern Wing that is the architect’s first retrospective).

But for every IBM building there are a number of smaller gems scattered throughout the region: private homes, many if not most of which are in the suburbs.

Gary Gand founded the group Chicago Bauhaus and Beyond to document and preserve the architectural heritage of these homes, and he and his family practice what they preach. He and his wife, Joan, live in the Minsk House, a low glass box of a home in Riverwoods, Ill. The house was built in 1955 by Chicago architects Keck & Keck, best known for their contributions to the Century of Progress World's Fair, the House of Tomorrow and the Crystal House.

When Gand spoke at the Chicago Architecture Foundation last year, he was there to celebrate the release of Bauhaus and Beyond’s first publication: a book of Chicago Midcentury homes captured by legendary architectural photographer Julius Shulman. And in the talk as in the book, Gand’s own home was very much on display. During the talk Gand described “what it’s like to live in a glass box” (answer: “We love it”) and explained why, when they moved in, they had to buy all new furniture to match the house. You can listen above.

Dynamic Range showcases hidden gems unearthed from Chicago Amplified’s vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Gary Gand spoke at an event presented by the Chicago Architecture Foundationin June of 2010. Click here to hear the event in its entirety.