For over three decades, I have been involved in home tours and have watched the number of home tours proliferate each year. Every now and then a tour will really resonate with me as it is informative, has a point of view, and offers houses that otherwise I might not see. Cliff Welch chaired an AIA Home Tour Committee ten years ago that did just this. Cliff named the tour 50s Cool because just recently, the public was unfamiliar with midcentury modern. This tour helped introduce and validate the importance and design of architect designed homes built in the 1950s.
This year AIA Dallas introduced a first to-be annual Modern Home Tour. This selection of homes was juried and represented a wide range of styles and locations from Oak Lawn to far North Dallas gated communities. Represented were well-known architects like Gary Cunningham, who designed a home on the unknown street of Spanky Branch Court.
Here you see his inventive use of materials, choice of a remote forested city sight, and an open linear floor plan lined with windows to take advantage of the sight. A person was able to see an award-winning pool house by Russell Buchanan that reminds us that a secondary structure can capture our imagination as easily as a primary structure.
Paul Janek, a principal with Zer03 Design, www.03design.com, designed a spectacular modern home in the most unlikely location, a gated street, Green Park Drive, off of Keller Springs Road. The home was designed with three unique sleeping environments and a series of connecting indoor and outdoor spaces. I am not a proponent of media rooms, but here Paul Janek designed one incorporating fabulous furniture from Scott+Cooner, www.scottcooner.com.
Cliff Welch was able to show in a single-family attached home what we have previously seen in his single family modern homes – his ability to use horizontal planks of wood and horizontal grout lines and deep overhangs reflecting early modernism with design technology materials that express 21st century modernism. Other fabulous houses by Lionel Morrison and Bob Meckfessel were found in Urban Reserve and a home designed by Thomas Krahenbuhl was found on Abbott.
A tour of this quality becomes a resource for people who plan to have a modern home designed and built. It becomes an inspiration for architects to see their colleagues work and it elevates the understanding and desire for those who are just aesthetically greedy.
This tour will have a major impact on the architectural landscape for years to come just as the 50s Cool Tour did ten years ago for midcentury modern homes.