Shining the spotlight on some of the region's distinctive 20th-century homes
An angular dwelling built in the 1960s. A tall contemporary house tucked into a Highlands neighborhood. A small metal abode from the post-war period.
Each of these Louisville area houses tout their own distinctive style, but together they exemplify the modern style of building that took hold in 20th-century America.
The three homes are among more than 40 featured in “Modern Houses of Louisville” by local architect Steve Wiser and photographer Dan Madryga.
While Louisville is known for its prominent collections of traditional-style houses — Victorians, shotguns, bungalows, Tudors, Georgians and Classical Revivals — “modern” houses are often solitary examples in less visible locations, Wiser said.
“We had 10 or 15 houses, and we thought that was it,” Wiser said. “We started driving around and contacting folks, and the next thing you know we had up to 50 houses. If we were to do a list today, it would probably be up to 100.”
The modern houses in the book are ones built over the past 75 years. They were selected for “their distinctive quality of design and historical significance,” Wiser writes. Some represent general styles from that era, such as Art Deco and Bauhaus.
-- Martha Elson
2027 Bonnycastle Ave., Highlands
Architect Eric Hansen had been living in a house he designed and built on a double lot in 1984 on Bonnycastle before he sold it and built a completely different-looking house for himself and his family next door in 2009.
“This is my dream neighborhood and my dream house both,” said Hansen, who lives there with his wife, Julie. It was on the Kentucky Chapter of the American Institute of Architects tour in 2009 and was a runner-up in the urban infill category in the Dream Home Awards, a national competition whose winners were announced in the Wall Street Journal.
The three-story structure features decorative brick on the outside and expanses of wood inside. It has large windows in the front and back to let in natural light, while maximizing privacy from the sides. Hansen's aim was to make the house look contemporary but also fit into the neighborhood, he said.
His term for the style is “Queen Anne Modern.”