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Courtesy of Craig Wakefield

Philly's top 10 midcentury modern homes

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When people make their midcentury modern pilgrimages, it's often to the west coast or the idyllic estates in New England like those in Connecticut. But Philadelphia? Not so much.

Yet this region also experienced a burst of midcentury modern architecture during the late 1940s and 1950s, a time of great creativity in art, architecture and design in America post-World War II. "The Philadelphia midcenturies stand out among those across the country because of the bucolic settings many are found in, and quality of materials used such as the use of locally quarried stone," says Craig Wakefield, a local dentist-turned-modern homes real estate agent.

Wakefield has been shedding light on the Philly region as a midcentury modern mecca at his website Modern Homes Philadelphia for the past eight years. Here, he shares the best 10 examples of midcentury modern residences, all designed by prominent architects between 1950 and 1958.

"I feel each of these homes are exceptional examples of classic modern architecture in our region," says Wakefield. "Each home on the list is innovative and unique in design. They have amazing settings, open floor plans, very strong connections to the outside, and are carefully oriented to maximize light."

Note: The following homes are listed in chronological order.

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The Bernard Weiss Residence

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Talk about brotherly love: This residence was designed and built in 1951 by local architect Frank Weise for his brother, Bernard Weiss (Frank changed the spelling of his name to Weise). Weise had good coaching: He trained under Walter Gropius, the former director of the Bauhaus school. Located in Abington, the steel frame supports the second story, which was designed to look like it's floating. The 4-bedroom, 4-bath home sold in 2014 for $627,500.
Photos by Dinofa Photography for Marion Dinofa

The Genel Residence

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Louis Kahn designed this 4-bedroom, 5.5-bath home for Samuel and Ruth Genel in 1951. It’s often been compared to the Weiss House, since it used similar materials of cedar and stone, but Kahn once said the Genel Residence was far more superior. Kahn, who went on to become a famed architect, trained under Paul Cret at the University of Pennsylvania.
Marshall David Meyers Collection, Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania

The Leibowitz Residence

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This colorful and boxy midcentury modern in Rydal was designed between 1950-51 by Arthur White, who trained under Paul Cret at Penn. The expansive set of floor-to-ceiling windows look out to the home’s acre of land that's shrouded by trees. It sold in 2015 for $524,900 to none other than Wakefield himself.
Courtesy of Craig Wakefield

The Gutman Residence

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Designed by Armand Carroll in 1952, the Gutman Residence last sold in 2007 for $750,000. Since then, the owners have completely restored the 4-bedroom, 5-bath property with the help of Michael Ryan Architects. It’s a stunning, angular wood and stone home both inside and out.
Courtesy of Craig Wakefield via Michael Ryan Architects

The Maitin Residence

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Irwin Maitin, who once worked for Louis Kahn, designed this 4-bedroom, 2-bath midcentury modern for his own family in 1953. He once described it has having “simplicity at its essence,” meant to evoke calmness. Like many midcentury moderns in the Philadelphia region, the home is tucked away in a wooded area with views of a stream on the property.
Courtesy of Craig Wakefield

Mon Reve

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Alan Berkowitz came to Philadelphia from abroad in 1913, and already had envisioned his plans to design a family home. Dubbed “Mon Reve” or “My dream,” the home was built in 1954. Berkowitz lived here for 20 years, and went on to design many other modern residences and buildings in and around Philly.
Courtesy of Craig Wakefield

Mitchell Residence

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Ehrman Mitchell of the firm Mitchelle/Giurgola designed this family residence in 1956 just on the edge of city limits and Fairmount Park. The stone home is spacious, clocking in at 3,249 square feet and boasts four bedrooms and 3.5 baths. It listed for the first time ever in 2009 and sold for $875,000.
Courtesy of Craig Wakefield

The Winkelman Residence

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Located right on the edge of Fairmount Park, this glassy home was designed by Montgomery and Bishop and features an impressive seven bedrooms. Wakefield says it has “one of the most dramatic living spaces” he’s ever seen. It dates back to 1957. Interestingly, Louis Kahn had plans to design a residence on this same lot.
Courtesy of Craig Wakefield

D’Onofrio Residence

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Arthur Tofani aimed to design a home for the D’Onofrios in 1958 that offered excitement and pleasure. It’s the curved roof that really wows, but the fact that every room is south-facing (with Mondrian-like windows) can’t be beat, either. The home last sold in 2013 for $636,750.
Courtesy of Craig Wakefield

Hassrick Residence

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No roundup of midcentury modern homes would be complete without a Richard Neutra-designed residence. He designed this home in East Falls for a family of four in 1958 on a low budget using local materials. The large living room looks out to the wooded landscape via long wall of glass. It’s since been restored by the new owners.
Courtesy of Craig Wakefield

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The Bernard Weiss Residence

Photos by Dinofa Photography for Marion Dinofa
Talk about brotherly love: This residence was designed and built in 1951 by local architect Frank Weise for his brother, Bernard Weiss (Frank changed the spelling of his name to Weise). Weise had good coaching: He trained under Walter Gropius, the former director of the Bauhaus school. Located in Abington, the steel frame supports the second story, which was designed to look like it's floating. The 4-bedroom, 4-bath home sold in 2014 for $627,500.
Photos by Dinofa Photography for Marion Dinofa

The Genel Residence

Marshall David Meyers Collection, Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania
Louis Kahn designed this 4-bedroom, 5.5-bath home for Samuel and Ruth Genel in 1951. It’s often been compared to the Weiss House, since it used similar materials of cedar and stone, but Kahn once said the Genel Residence was far more superior. Kahn, who went on to become a famed architect, trained under Paul Cret at the University of Pennsylvania.
Marshall David Meyers Collection, Architectural Archives, University of Pennsylvania

The Leibowitz Residence

Courtesy of Craig Wakefield
This colorful and boxy midcentury modern in Rydal was designed between 1950-51 by Arthur White, who trained under Paul Cret at Penn. The expansive set of floor-to-ceiling windows look out to the home’s acre of land that's shrouded by trees. It sold in 2015 for $524,900 to none other than Wakefield himself.
Courtesy of Craig Wakefield

The Gutman Residence

Courtesy of Craig Wakefield via Michael Ryan Architects
Designed by Armand Carroll in 1952, the Gutman Residence last sold in 2007 for $750,000. Since then, the owners have completely restored the 4-bedroom, 5-bath property with the help of Michael Ryan Architects. It’s a stunning, angular wood and stone home both inside and out.
Courtesy of Craig Wakefield via Michael Ryan Architects

The Maitin Residence

Courtesy of Craig Wakefield
Irwin Maitin, who once worked for Louis Kahn, designed this 4-bedroom, 2-bath midcentury modern for his own family in 1953. He once described it has having “simplicity at its essence,” meant to evoke calmness. Like many midcentury moderns in the Philadelphia region, the home is tucked away in a wooded area with views of a stream on the property.
Courtesy of Craig Wakefield

Mon Reve

Courtesy of Craig Wakefield
Alan Berkowitz came to Philadelphia from abroad in 1913, and already had envisioned his plans to design a family home. Dubbed “Mon Reve” or “My dream,” the home was built in 1954. Berkowitz lived here for 20 years, and went on to design many other modern residences and buildings in and around Philly.
Courtesy of Craig Wakefield

Mitchell Residence

Courtesy of Craig Wakefield
Ehrman Mitchell of the firm Mitchelle/Giurgola designed this family residence in 1956 just on the edge of city limits and Fairmount Park. The stone home is spacious, clocking in at 3,249 square feet and boasts four bedrooms and 3.5 baths. It listed for the first time ever in 2009 and sold for $875,000.
Courtesy of Craig Wakefield

The Winkelman Residence

Courtesy of Craig Wakefield
Located right on the edge of Fairmount Park, this glassy home was designed by Montgomery and Bishop and features an impressive seven bedrooms. Wakefield says it has “one of the most dramatic living spaces” he’s ever seen. It dates back to 1957. Interestingly, Louis Kahn had plans to design a residence on this same lot.
Courtesy of Craig Wakefield

D’Onofrio Residence

Courtesy of Craig Wakefield
Arthur Tofani aimed to design a home for the D’Onofrios in 1958 that offered excitement and pleasure. It’s the curved roof that really wows, but the fact that every room is south-facing (with Mondrian-like windows) can’t be beat, either. The home last sold in 2013 for $636,750.
Courtesy of Craig Wakefield

Hassrick Residence

Courtesy of Craig Wakefield
No roundup of midcentury modern homes would be complete without a Richard Neutra-designed residence. He designed this home in East Falls for a family of four in 1958 on a low budget using local materials. The large living room looks out to the wooded landscape via long wall of glass. It’s since been restored by the new owners.
Courtesy of Craig Wakefield