The mid century architectural movement was heavily influenced by International and Bauhaus style movements of the time, as well as by Scandinavian and Brazilian designs. Mid century modern home exteriors tend to focus heavily on clean lines and integrating people with nature. You'll find that these homes are very geometric in design with flat planes and unique roof lines - including both flat and gable roof designs.
When it comes to achieving this style of exterior, it's important to not only get the architectural details right, but also the choice of siding. Mid century modern siding options varied, but for many architects wood was the favored material.
Playing upon the natural versatility of wood
(Black Ridge House, by Neil Dusheiko Architects, photo by Tim Crocker)
A significant reason why mid century modern wood siding is an excellent route to go is the limitless options for color, tone, and texture. You'll find that many homes designed in this era heavily promote interaction with nature, clearly seen by the trend of numerous windows and expansive glass walls, breaking down the barriers between interior and exterior living space. Wood is as organic as you can get, therefore adds to the wholesome appeal of the mid century home.
That being said, architects didn't solely rely on natural wood. Playing with colors and variances in tone was just as popular then as it remains today. The above Victorian home was given a mid century modern facelift with the use of vertically placed Shou Sugi Ban Kebony boards.
Shou Sugi Ban is a Japanese technique of charring wood siding, giving it a burnt effect while also increasing its durability. The end result is a very appropriate mid century siding option. When you know you want the natural grain and character of wood but need to create contrast, choosing modified wood with a surface method like Shou Sugi Ban is a great idea.
Extend and heighten with purposely placed boards
(Passive House, by Kontur arkitektur + konstruksjon)
The above home is a beautiful example of how a mid century home can be rather simple in design, yet still visually impressive. This classic flat-roofed home is two structures combined. The main body is clad in long vertically placed Kebony boards, while the shorter addition is clad in horizontal Kebony siding. You'll also note that the addition's roof is actually a deck, with the horizontal siding continuing up with a gradual spacing between boards to function as the railing.
Rather than trying to balance out the differences in height of this home, instead the architect made it even more dramatic. As a general rule, if you want to make your home seem taller, opt for vertically placed boards. If you want to make a home seem wider, do the opposite and go for horizontally placed boards.
When trying to achieve a mid century look, don't be afraid to mix up the directions of the cladding boards, especially if you’re looking to make your home appear a bit larger that it actually is.
Mix up siding materials while maintaining clean lines
(27 Hurst Avenue, by Bliss)
Although mid century modern homes certainly must have specific characteristics in order to be classified as such, there aren't any rules regarding the use of mixed materials when it comes to siding. In fact, you'll find that there were plenty of mid century homes that incorporated various building materials, such as masonry, wood, stone, adobe, metal and more. The key to using a variety of different siding is to do so sparingly and ensure you maintain clean, easy to follow lines.
This home would be a treat for any mid century architecture lover to reside in. You'll see that the majority of the exterior is Kebony wood cladding placed horizontally to extend the width of the home. There are three floors to this residence, with the first floor having a half stone wall for privacy. The stone selected isn't overly bold, but rather a light, neutral color and made of rather small rocks. The first and second floors are given contrast from the third story with white plaster.
Large glass walls are very period-appropriate and help create a seamless transition when you're in the home looking out, especially with the use of clear glass railings. A panel of decorative Kebony siding covers roughly a third of the glass wall, which will allow for light to come in while still maintaining privacy.
Mid century modern homes offer a unique view into what architects at the time were trying to accomplish. Many of the same attributes of this style, such as the vision of integrating indoor and outdoor life through the use of glass walls, continue to shape modern architecture. The use of Kebony modified wood siding ensures that your mid century home will not only look the part, but will also provide beauty and durability for years to come.