Modern architecture, like modern art, has always been a bit of a mystery to me. Though I can appreciate the clean lines and minimalist, uncluttered spaces, they’ve also never been spaces I’ve wanted to live in but on a tour through West Vancouver a few years ago, I had a realization that “modern” architecture, as applied to Vancouver, means something much different than what I had envisioned in my mind. In many aspects it is still about minimalism and open spaces but it’s also about communing with the nature around you and living in a space where the outdoors feels like an extension of your living quarters. Turns out this approach to modern architecture, though not exclusive to the west coast, has really taken a hold here and Coast Modern explores the architecture and ideas that have developed from LA to Vancouver.
Peppered with interviews of prominent modern architects, writers and the individuals that call some of these spaces home, directors Mike Bernard and Gavin Froome have pieced together a fascinating and beautiful account of the movement, its importance and why it never quite took hold. With the sentiment that “Modernism is a beautiful failure,” Bernard and Froome introduce the pioneers of the movement, the Case Study Houses that caused such a stir of attention but never quite took off and explore the modern ideal with a focus on the human connection. It’s not just about the beautiful homes but what they instil in the people that live in them. There’s a feeling of wanting to be part of nature, of living a healthier life when you surround yourself with so much nature and tranquility.