Award of Excellence
An Inventory/Survey Award of Excellence is given for Modern in the Middle: Chicago Houses 1929-75. Published by The Monacelli Press in 2020 and co-authored by Susan Benjamin and Michelangelo Sabatino, this scholarly yet accessible book explores the substantial yet overlooked role that Chicago and its suburbs played in the development of the modern single-family house in the twentieth century. In a city often associated with the skyscrapers that define its skyline and the outsize reputations of architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies van der Rohe, the examples surveyed in Modern in the Middle expand and enrich the story of the region’s built environment. The authors made a deliberate point to include spouses or partners as clients and to present homes designed by underrepresented groups, such as Black architect John W. Moutoussamy’s family home (1954), the Ruth Koier and Laurence Sjoblom House (1960) designed by Jean Wehrheim, one of the few women architects practicing at the time, and the Ming Djang and Chung Kuo Liao House (1966), designed by Chinese-American architect Y.C. Wong. Equal parts architectural, cultural, and social history, Modern in the Middle provides accessible research in an enjoyable format that will help homeowners, preservationists, and the general public to better understand and protect Chicagoland’s modern residential legacy.
"The breadth and depth of entries make for a delightful and informative read.”
- Marcel Quimby, FAIA, 2021 Jury chair
"Unsung stories and testimonials provide concrete support for the broader story.”
Susan Benjamin (co-author); Michelangelo Sabatino (co-author); Nancy Mangum McCaslin (editor); Pauline Saliga (foreword); Serge Ambrose (contributor, essay); Alan Rapp (in-house editor, Monacelli); Michael Vagnetti (production director, Monacelli); William Zbaren (Photographic consultant); Bud Rodecker and Alyssa Arnesen – Span (graphic designers); Alphawood (additional funding); IIT College of Architecture (additional funding); AIA Chicago Foundation (administration)