Washington, DC's suburban neighborhoods are largely defined by their early to mid-20th century detached dwellings reflecting a wide variety of Revival-style buildings from the popular Colonial Revival styles to more picturesque Tudor and Mediterranean-style residences. Within these traditional neighborhood settings, however, are pockets of Mid-Century houses that were either privately commissioned or part of speculative developments. Largely constructed between the late 1940s up through the early 1970s, most of these houses were designed by locally and nationally acclaimed architects, many of whom taught at or were former students at the Howard University School of Architecture.
This tour takes you to several such neighborhoods where clusters of Mid-Century Modern houses can be found tucked into wooded sites or banked into hillsides. The houses share common design features based upon a Modern aesthetic, such as open floor plans, low-lying massing with flat and/or sloped roofs, expansive use of windows and minimal ornamentation. They also emphasize the use of a variety of materials and textures and are often designed around landscaped courts and terraces and are oriented to take advantage of expansive views, cross ventilation and the rays of the sun.
Generally modest in size, these Mid-Century Modern houses are now increasingly threatened by demolition and replacement by newer and larger houses.
The loss of many of the District's Mid-Century Modern houses has inspired the DC Historic Preservation Office to identify and document those that do survive. Those findings have contributed to this tour.