July 18, 2014 Mid-Century Modern

MIT Thesis Becomes Reality in Falls Church

Wenner Smith

Quoting architecture critic Lewis Mumford, W. Wenner Smith II submitted his undergraduate thesis in 1953 to Pietro Belluschi, then dean of MIT’s school of architecture.  The thesis became reality the same year when this untouched mid-century modern house (now under contract)  in Falls Church City was built. I recently took an architect client to see the house and the current owner provided us with a trove of plans to review. Smith, the architect, designed the home for his brother and his wife and their young daughter. I went online to see what I could find about Smith and up popped his thesis, which lays out the design philosophy for “A Small House,” the title of the paper. The original part of the house was the one-level ranch with the two-story tower added by Smith later as the family grew.