Why Modern Illinois?


It’s true: Chicago is known for great architecture. But most people, especially those visiting,   think of the city’s skyscrapers and other big, downtown buildings. Marina City. John Hancock Center. IBM Plaza. All wonderful examples of modernism in Chicago. But what about things on a somewhat smaller scale?

The Chicago area and, in fact, much of Illinois is home to pockets of some of the most engaging examples of mid- to late-century modern residential architecture and design.

In the years before the McMansion epidemic hit, there were plenty of lots on which were built one-off designs imagined and carefully planned by architects for individual clients.

This site is dedicated to those homes. The random structures that catch my eye as I drive down tree-lined streets. Sometimes these architectural gems are visible from main roads, but often they’re hidden just out of site, behind a berm or a fence or a strategically placed cluster of trees, making the homes invisible except to those intrepid explorers and (sub)urban archaeologists.

My focus will be on homes designed for the most part between 1950 and 1980. During these years in particular, many modern architects designed homes that conveyed a sense of hopefulness, style and artistic creativity that really speaks to me.

I hope these homes speak to you, too, and that you’ll enjoy what you see here. Hopefully, something you see will inspire you in your own discoveries or, better yet, in your plans to have your own modern home built some day. One that, 50 years from now, will draw in somebody to discover, admire and write about it.

Lou Zucaro – Realtor with Baird & Warner and Founder of Modern Illinois

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