Montgomery Modern: Mid-Century Modern Architecture in Montgomery County, Maryland

posted Jan 9, 2016, 6:15 AM by Bill Marzella   [ updated Jan 9, 2016, 6:16 AM ]
A Lecture by Clare Lise Kelly
Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Montgomery County, Maryland’s suburban built environment reflects major themes of the Modern Movement as translated to a region located at the northern border of Washington, DC. Architects designed housing that promoted contact with nature for office workers who, in contrast to previous generations of farmers, were not living off the land and who yearned for a connection with the earth. For individuals seeking contact with nature, the county’s rolling often rugged landscape was a strong attraction, as was its extensive stream valley park system and abundance of available farmland. Federal installations for national defense agencies, and scientific and medical research brought modern design into the county landscape. A new population of well-educated citizens promoted cooperative communities and institutions, local government, and equal opportunities while skilled practitioners affiliated with progressive government programs employed new experimental materials and construction and built affordable housing. At the same time, steel frame high-rise offices and apartments created skylines that spoke to a new age of commerce and technology. Jewel-tone curtain walls of glass and ceramic presented a starkly modern face to the public, while interior, open floor plans promoted camaraderie and cooperation. Modern design, therefore, stands as testimony to the spirit of this age as reflected in the county’s built environment and its landscape.


Richly illustrated by photographers Carol M. Highsmith and the late Robert Lautman, Montgomery Modern: Modern Architecture in Montgomery County, Maryland 1930-1979 is a new book by Clare Lise Kelly, architectural historian with M-NCPPC Montgomery County Planning Department. She is the recipient of the AIA Kea Medal (Potomac Valley Chapter) and the author of the award-winning Places from the Past, a history of Montgomery County’s built environment through the early 20th century. A board member of Docomomo-DC, Kelly established the M-NCPPC Montgomery Modern initiative to raise awareness of mid-century modern architecture, earning education awards from the Maryland Historical Trust and Montgomery Preservation, Inc.


The First Congregational United Church of Christ
945 G Street NW, Washington, DC 20001 
6:30 pm – reception, 7:00 pm – lecture


Reservations are not required. $10.00 for Latrobe Chapter members, student members (full time) free with ID, $18.00 for non-members.
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Bill Marzella,
Jan 9, 2016, 6:15 AM
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