Join Mr. Modernism George Smart and crew as they talk and laugh with people who enjoy, own, create, dream about, preserve, love, and hate Modernist architecture, the most exciting and controversial buildings in the world. USModernist Radio is backed by the nonprofit educational archive USModernist, the largest open digital archive for Modernist residential architecture in America. www.usmodernist.org
#178/No More Federal Modernism: Classicist Catesby Leigh + Musical Guest Lucy Woodward
Some Classicists are so passionate about Modernist architecture they create a well-financed, highly effective organization to point out the flaws of Modernist buildings and actively discourage new Modernist projects. Every Classicist we talk to mentions today’s guest, Catesby Leigh, who has written about architecture for over 30 years. He co-founded the National Classical Art Society, headed by past podcast guest Justin Shubow, which advocates the classical tradition in Federal buildings and monuments. He's a gifted writer and essayist and organizer, and we're surprised he hasn't won the Henry Hope Reed Award, the Oscar of Classicism, because no one is more deserving. If they accept nominations from us Modernist heathens, we’d like to be first to put his name in the hat. Later in the show, we sing to, and listen to, the charming Lucy Woodward.
#177/Mies, Edith, and the Farnsworth House: Alex Beam + Scott Mehaffey + A Few Minutes with Frank Harmon
Architect Maria Ludwig Michael Mies changed his name. He added his mother's maiden name Rohe and the Dutch “van der” to become, drum roll please, Mies van der Rohe. Most of his fans just refer to him as Mies – like Cher or Moby or Beyonce, he’s still one of the most famous architects in the world some 50 years after his death. Today we talk about his greatest house – the Farnsworth House – with Alex Beam, author of the new book Broken Glass: Mies Van Der Rohe, Edith Farnsworth, and the Fight Over a Modernist Masterpiece - and Scott Mehaffey, Executive Director of the Farnsworth house in Plano IL, which you can visit. Later on, a few minutes with Frank Harmon, reading from his book Native Places.
#176/Where No Furniture Has Gone Before: Dan Chavkin + Brian McGuire plus Special Musical Guest Jennifer Warnes
In 1966 the first episode of Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek launched a franchise still going strong over fifty years later. Sequels, movies, toys, fan films - there’s just no end to Star Trek’s bright, progressive, optimistic future where Earth has transcended national and international politics. Something architecture fans may have missed, and we certainly did, is that Star Trek adapted midcentury Modern furniture for the set design, from the Bridge to the Conference Room, to the alien buildings on the planets they landed on. Today we meet authors Dan Chavkin and Brian McGuire about their new book: Star Trek - Designing the Final Frontier - The Untold Story of How Midcentury Modern Decor Shaped Our View of the Future. Later on, legendary singer Jennifer Warnes, who you’ve loved for I’ve Had the Time of my Life, Right Time of the Night, Up Where We Belong, and a vast treasure of songs with and by Leonard Cohen.
#175/Festivus and Gene Leedy: Celebrating with Saffie Leedy Farris + Max Strang + Co-host Erin Sterling Lewis plus Musical Guest Laura Ridgeway
Ho Ho Ho, get out the Festivus Pole, it’s our holiday show spectacular celebrating with returning guest co-host Erin Sterling Lewis. If your world is Florida, Gene Leedy was one of the masters of Modernism in the 20th century, bursting on the scene as one of Architectural Record's most successful young architects of 1965. With us is his daughter Saffie Leedy Ferris and architect Max Strang of Miami, who grew up in a Gene Leedy house, and worked for Gene Leedy. Later on, special musical guest Laura Ridgeway and the story of the legendary jazz nightclub, the Frog and Nightgown. This show is dedicated to Peter Ingram, co-founder of that club, who died in November 2020.
#174/New Modernist Developers + Holiday Gifts + Frank Harmon
Mack Paul is a Raleigh real estate attorney who focuses on land use and public policy. He owns a sweet Modernist house designed by Brian Shawcroft, and he's an investor in several new Raleigh Modernist projects. Charlie Miller is a real estate broker in Charlotte who expanded to building exciting new Modernist houses – lots of them. We’ll also check in with Matt Bliss and Greg Kelly for unique Modernist gifts to think about for the holidays, Later on a few minutes with Frank Harmon, reading from his book Native Places.
#173/Triangle Modern Architecture: Victoria Ballard Bell
Victoria Ballard Bell's new book, Triangle Modern Architecture, documents the rich history and unique cultural significance of the Triangle region in North Carolina, one of the most important on the national map of modern design. Over the last 75 years, the Modernist architecture in this area has grown to creatively combine innovation and technology with the area’s history, culture, unique landscape, and built context. Includes profiles on midcentury architects including Harwell Hamilton Harris, Leif Valand, Milton Small, George Matsumoto, Eduardo Catalano, Jon Condoret, and Brian Shawcroft, plus current Modernist modern architects including Kenneth Hobgood, Phil Szostak, Phil Freelon, Turan Duda, Ellen Cassilly, Ellen Weinstein, and Frank Harmon who wrote the foreword. It’s an outstanding history of Triangle architecture, and then there’s also some dude who wrote the epilogue. The book is Triangle Modern Architecture, published by ORO Editions, available at your favorite local bookstore or through USModernist.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I drive a lot between homes in LA and Las Vegas and because I know that I will have at least 4 hours each way to listen to these podcasts, I now so look forward to those drives. This podcast is a must listen to for anyone interested in Modernist architecture in the US. I previously considered myself pretty well versed in Modernist architecture until I started to listen to this podcast. From further exploring the great and well known architects (often through intensely interesting interviews with their adult kids) to illuminating lesser known regional Modernist architects - this podcast has it all. But I am getting nervous that I am going to soon run out of episodes in this podcast. And it’s always great to then use their extensive documentation for further research on their website. Bravo!
I’m listening to previous years episodes, waiting for each new week!
US Modernist Radio
This is my Favorite podcast of all time. Enjoy the interviews from Modernism week and Sarasota Modern. Hope to get to Modernism Week some time.