Mid-Michigan Modern: From Frank Lloyd Wright to Googie

Today on the show we continue what’s become a bit of a series on midwestern architecture in conversation with Susan J. Bandés to discuss the expanded paperback edition of her book Mid-Michigan Modern: From Frank Lloyd Wright to Googie. Thanks for tuning in.

From 1940 to 1970, mid‐Michigan created an extensive and varied legacy of modernist architecture. Based on archival research and oral histories, Susan J. Bandes’s Mid-Michigan Modern explores that legacy in both the work of renowned architects, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Alden B. Dow, and the Keck brothers, and in the buildings of regional architects whose work was strongly influenced by international modern styles. In the growing optimism and increasing economic prosperity following WWII, the automobile industry, state government, and Michigan State University served as economic drivers enormously expanding the Mid-Michigan area. Government, professional associations, and private industry all sought an architectural style that spoke to forward‐looking, progressive ideals. Smaller businesses picked a Prairie style that made people feel comfortable, and modernist houses reflected the increasingly informal American lifestyle rooted in automobile culture.

In this expanded volume that includes 36 new illustrations, readers encounter buildings of various types, from residences to sacred spaces. This new edition also adds over twenty architect-designed residences along the various rivers and creeks that traverse the area as well as on man-made lakes, and it introduces several popular architectural designers not previously discussed. The epilogue briefly considers disappearing modernist inventions and buildings. With a detailed narrative discussing more than 150 buildings and enriched by hundreds of illustrations, Mid-Michigan Modern is a vibrant reclamation of the history of modernist architecture in this part of the state.

The expanded, paperback edition and the original hardcover version of Susan J. Bande’s Mid-Michigan Modern: From Frank Lloyd Wright to Googie are both available at msupress.org and other fine booksellers. You can connect with the press on Facebook and @msupress on Twitter, where you can also find me @kurtmilb. For more about Michigan Modern Tours visit: http://www.michiganmodern.org/tours

The MSU Press podcast is a joint production of MSU Press and the College of Arts & Letters at Michigan State University. Thanks to the team at MSU Press for helping to produce this podcast. Our theme music is “Coffee” by Cambo. 

Michigan State University occupies the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary Lands of the Anishinaabeg – Three Fires Confederacy of Ojibwe, Odawa and Potawatomi people. The University resides on Land ceded in the 1819 Treaty of Saginaw.

Thank you all so much for listening, and never give up books.

MSU Press