Cincinnati has its fair share of architectural gems, including some fine examples of modernism. But it’s rare to get glimpses inside the coolest and most distinctive residential architecture in town.
But Sept. 8, the Austin, TX-based brand Modern Home Tours makes its debut in Cincinnati, linking fans of modern architecture to some of the Queen City’s best examples of the aesthetic represented in private residences.
Four years ago, a group of friends (a realtor, special events expert and journalist) founded Modern Home Tours to seek out Austinites who were interested in exploring modernism in residential architecture. Together they formatted an exclusive tour of Austin’s premiere modernist residences, growing the concept to 27 cities across the country.
Cincinnati is the first city in Ohio chosen for the tour. The one-day event speaks to the evolution of modernism from the perspective of perhaps the most intimate type of structure, a person’s home.
“Bringing the tour to Cincinnati was an obvious addition,” says tour co-founder Matt Swinney says. “At first glance, you might be surprised at how many 20th
century treasures are in this city, and now residents can get a glimpse into how this movement translates into private homes.”
Ingrid Spencer, curator of the tour and former managing editor and current contributor to Architectural Record,
explains that cities are chosen based on a number of factors. She says that in a city that is on a nationally recognized ascent toward reinvention, it makes sense.
“The transformation happening in Cincinnati lends itself to modernism,” she says.
The tour realizes both similarities and differences in how modernism is represented in different cities, she says. “The idea is to present attendees with a range of beautifully designed houses, from modest to grand, a few years old to just completed, each with their designers’ distinct vision of Modern, and each a unique environment.”
Decidedly not a realty excursion, the Modern Home Tour showcases how real people have chosen to apply the modern aesthetic to daily living.
“This tour is not about opulence or extravagance,” Spencer says. Tour participants can expect to see uncluttered designs that utilize the latest building technologies as well as sustainable design techniques and materials.
Homes by local firms such as SKL Architecture, Terry Boling, Jose Garcia Design and others feature prominently on the tour. The venerable Jose Garcia, who has been featured in Soapbox
for his cutting edge designs and his connection to Cincinnati, is looking forward to showcasing two of his residential designs on the tour.
“I think it’s a great idea,” he says. “[The tour] promotes the modern aesthetic and creates an awareness of incorporating space with design.”
Garcia’s home at 564 Locust Run Road is “an exercise in simplicity; a building designed around a specific way of life.” Taking cues from the owners’ lifestyle as well as the home’s natural surroundings, the home is a serene stop along the tour. Alternatively, his condominium design at 2801 Erie Avenue is situated as a modern enclave in the middle of Hyde Park, a very traditional Cincinnati neighborhood.
Designed for architecture buffs, or for anyone who wants to learn more about modernism, the tour is self-driving, and is conducted in a single day.
Destinations along the tour can be mapped relative to each participant’s point of origination – GPS is helpful in getting folks from one home to the next. Once there, participants can walk through the homes and meet the architects.
And maybe even leave inspired to start your own modern journey. “You don’t have to live in a traditional space,” Spencer says. “You can have the modern home of your dreams.”
The Modern Home Tour of Cincinnati
takes place Sept. 8, starting at 11 am. Check the webstie for tickets and the most up-to-date listing of homes.
By Deidra Wiley Necco