Blog Events How to Tour Iconic Midcentury Homes in 2020

How to Tour Iconic Midcentury Homes in 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:

1938 Sutor House

Photo courtesy of

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.

1937 Watzek House

Photo courtesy of

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.

1953 Copenhagen House

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.


Photo courtesy of

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

Photo courtesy of

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!


Contact me to find your mid century dream home:
Marisa Swenson – Specializing in Modern Home Sales

Marisa Swenson

Broker Licensed in OR & WA

Marisa is a Portland native, born and raised in the heart of the Hollywood district, she possesses a wealth of knowledge about the Portland Metro area. Over the past decade, Marisa has sought out the best in local mid-century and contemporary modern architecture and design around the city. Her website Modern Homes Portland is a labor of love where she shares her enjoyment of all things modern including a curated list of modern homes for sale in the Portland area. In her past, Marisa worked with a company that provided home contractor services. She worked closely with contractors identifying, evaluating and correcting common maintenance issues in homes and commercial buildings. Pairing this experience with many years of client service and a love of homes made the transition to becoming a REALTOR® seamless. She is a member of the Architectural Heritage Center, Doccomomo's Oregon Chapter, Restore Oregon where she also sponsors their Mid-Century Modern tour each year.  Working with these organizations, she hopes to help preserve buildings from the modernist movement mid century and beyond, and to help spread awareness of their importance. She currently lives in the suburbs of Portland with her family and is working on restoring her Northwest Regional Style custom-built 1960's time capsule home that will be added to the historic registry in 2017.When she’s not working with clients or scouring the city for hidden architectural gems, Marisa likes to spend time with her family, play soccer, hike in the beautiful Pacific NW forests, visit new restaurants and coffee shops.
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