Images courtesy Ben Anders
The House of Tomorrow modernist architecture website launched in June of 2012, reviewing Mid Century Modern properties for sale in the UK in order to promote a wider interest in and appreciation for this style of residential architecture. There are now hundreds of reviews on the site and we positively love it. MidCentury magazine catches up with founder Jeremy Tracey to find out more.
What inspired you to launch modernist architecture website The House of Tomorrow?
I’m drawn to the fusion of cool rational Modernism with the vibrancy of post-war optimism, so essentially a website on modernist architecture is an outlet for a passion of mine. When it comes to housing, we Brits as a nation are deeply conservative in taste. British post-war residential architecture represents a rare moment in time when we eschewed our preoccupation with the past. No more neo-Georgian and mock Tudor. Instead, utilising new materials and influenced by American and Scandinavian design, we briefly embraced an innovative, exciting future underpinned by the tenets of Modernism and the International Style, before once again returning to our innately conservative ways by the end of the 1970s. That’s what, in my opinion, makes modernist architecture so interesting.
What function did you intend modernist architecture website The House of Tomorrow to fulfill?
Whilst Mid Century Modern furniture and fashion have seen a popular resurgence in recent years, the modernist architecture of the period remains an enigma to the younger generation, and an anathema to an older one. My hope with The House of Tomorrow is to promote a wider interest in and appreciation for residential modernist architecture in the UK. Against a tide of unsympathetic alterations, I hope that more examples of the period’s architecture can be conserved for the benefit of future generations.
Can you name a few favourite examples of modernist architecture that you’ve seen?
I love finding great mid century properties to review. It’s what keeps me trawling through page after page of the mundane, searching for that rare gem. Particularly cool custom-designed houses that I’ve reviewed include the Michael Manser house in Cheam and the Peter Aldington/John Craig steel house near Colchester. Great speculative houses and flats that I’ve reviewed are too numerous to mention, but a few personal favourites include Brooklands Park and The Lane by Eric Lyons for Span, the Apex Drive development in Frimley by Lawrence Abbott, and The Ryde by David Randall and Peter Parkes of Peter Phippen and Associates.
Do you have first-hand experience of living with modernist architecture?
Yes, we live in a development of three storey townhouses in West London designed by an architect called D S Roberts and completed in 1968. We purchased the property from the original owner and fortunately many original Mid Century Modern features remain intact. Sourcing vintage furniture for the house remains a constant source of joy.
If you fancy living in your own mid century home, fantasy or reality, check out thehouseoftomorrow.co.uk for some serious inspiration.
Check out Jeremy Tracey’s article for MidCentury magazine Mid Century Modernism: The new ‘new’?
Michael Manser house