By Marisa Swenson, June 29, 2020
By Marisa Swenson, June 29, 2020
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, most traditional in-person home tours have been canceled or postponed. However, the changing times have allowed for innovative virtual 3D tours of historic mid-century homes and they’re happening all over the country. Here is a list of tours that I personally enjoy!
First and foremost, some noteworthy tours hosted right here in Portland by Restore Oregon, a local preservation organization. They were founded in 1977 as the Historic Preservation League of Oregon. Restore Oregon takes care of places that make Oregon special—churches, historic homes, neighborhoods, and much more. From now until July 26th, they are virtually hosting their 10th annual Mid-Century Modern Design Series, which is their largest educational and fundraising event of the year.
Tickets are $50 and can be bought here through July. The ticket grants access to a 360° Virtual Home Tour of the Pacific Northwest’s three most celebrated mid-century homes. These iconic homes include:
The virtual tour starts off with the revolutionary Sutor House, which is one of the most iconic examples of the developing Northwest Regional Modernism Style. It was designed by renowned architect Pietro Belluschi, the leader of the Modern Movement in architecture. Built-in 1938, it is located in Portland’s Southwest Hills on Skyline Blvd. Key features include curved zebrawood walls, natural materials, abundant light, and fine craftsmanship; all elements that have made Belluschi so renowned. Remarkably, each owner of the home has kept the house as original as possible out of respect and in homage to Belluschi.
The monumental Watzek House is the second house on the virtual tour. It was designed in 1937 by Portland architect John Yeon, one of the early practitioners of the Northwest Regional style of Modernism. Located in the Southwest Portland hills, it has stunning views of Mt. St. Helens, Mt. Hood, and the Tualatin Valley. The house perfectly blends into the surrounding landscape, which was strategically planned by Yeon. The house instantly became an icon of the Modernist movement. Today the Watzek House is managed by the University of Oregon’s John Yeon Center for Architecture and the Landscape.
Next, is the Copenhagen House which was designed by Portland architect, Walter Gordon, in 1953. Located in Lake Oswego, it is another great example of the Northwest Regional style. The house has all the standard mid-century modern characteristics such as an open floor plan, floor-to-ceiling windows, and an extension of outdoor space. A feeling of privacy and seclusion was retained despite having close neighbors, which is created by careful landscaping.
To learn more about this tour, click here.
If you are interested in free virtual 360 degree home tours, there are a few that are being offered by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. The foundation was established in 1940 by well-known modern architect Frank Lloyd Wright and is committed to the preservation and stewardship of Wright works and collections.
You can check out their Wingspread building, located in Racine, Wisconsin, which was once the home of Herbert Fisk Johnson, Jr. of SC Johnson. They host private events and conferences, and as of 2018, offer space to businesses and organizations for their meetings and retreats. The virtual tour features the Wingspread Great Hall and gives viewers an opportunity to learn and appreciate the iconic design and history of this 14,000-foot building.
To view their virtual tour, click here.
Taliesin West is the first Frank Lloyd Wright property that was made available online for free using the new 3D immersive technology. Located in Scottsdale, AZ, it is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a National Historic Landmark. Blending in with the desert, it was built and maintained by Wright himself and his team. In this virtual tour, you can wander the living room and the hallways that are filled with structural desert masonry or go to the bridge to view the desert landscape.
To check it out, click here.
Whether you are interested in learning about architecture or just looking for inspiration for your own home, don’t miss out on these unique 3D virtual opportunities!