Midwest Architecture Journeys

One of "28 books you should read right now."—Chicago Tribune fall literary preview

"A vital collection of essays." —Curbed, "101 Books About Where and How We Live"

"A perfect coffee table book." —Curbed Chicago

Edited by Zach Mortice, with an introduction by Alexandra Lange
October 15, 2019

Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright may be the Midwest’s (and the nation’s) most famous architects, but the region has always been a fertile ground for builders master and amateur. Midwest Architecture Journeys takes readers on a trip to visit some of the region’s most inventive buildings by architects such as Bertrand Goldberg, Bruce Goff, and Lillian Leenhouts. It also includes stops at less obvious but equally daring and defining sites, such as indigenous mounds, grain silos, parking lots, flea markets, and abandoned warehouses. Through dozens of essays written by architects, critics, and journalists, Midwest Architecture Journeys argues that what might seem flat is actually monumental, and what we assume to be boring is brimming with experimentation.

Zach Mortice is a design journalist who focuses on architecture and landscape architecture. He’s written for Metropolis, CityLab, Architectural Record, Architect Magazine, Places Journal, Chicago Magazine, and is the web editor for Landscape Architecture Magazine. Zach lives in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago, and if you listen closely, you can hear the rumble of the red line el train in his interview tapes. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @zachmortice.


Praise for Midwest Architecture Journeys

"The Midwest finally gets its due through essays penned by architects and critics, who shine a much-deserved spotlight on the region’s architecture, from its celebrated landmarks to its lesser-known projects." -- Metropolis Magazine's Gift Guide 2019

"Those who dismiss it as flyover country likely picture wide open spaces — flat and unexciting. Those who know slightly better but haven’t spent any serious time pondering the area probably first think of Frank Lloyd Wright or big glass buildings. But the architecture in the Midwest is so much more: weird, innovative, sophisticated and above all, diverse, ranging from the oddball designs of Bertrand Goldberg (who designed Chicago’s famous Marina Towers) and the socially conscious work of Lillian Leenhouts to unheralded anonymous gems like flea markets, grain silos, rest stops, indigenous mounds and parking lots." -- Bonnie Stiernberg in Inside Hook

"Have you ever discovered a unique building or a special place and asked: why have I never heard of this before? This enthralling collection is a reminder to all of us that art and culture can be what happens when people get up day after day and simply get to work. Together, these essays expand our idea of what American architecture is, and send us out on the road with our eyes wide open." --Michael Bierut, partner, Pentagram Design and co-founder, Design Observer

"There's poetry in these descriptions of our flat, fertile places, and reading them is a meditative way to wallow in Midwesternness. These stories are both a fantastic guide for lazy weekend road trips, and invitations for much deeper study into the Midwest's singular architectural legacy." --Carol Ross Barney, founderRoss Barney Architects