The Breezeway


Wikipedia defines that quintessentially pre-central air-conditioning, midcentury modernist architectural feature known as The Breezeway, thus:

A breezeway is an architectural feature similar to a hallway that allows the passage of a breeze between structures to accomodate high winds, allow aeration, or provide aesthetic design variation. Often a breezeway is a simple roof connecting two structures (such as a house and a garage); sometimes it can be much more like a tunnel with windows on either side. It may also refer to a hallway between two wings of a larger building -- such as between a house and a garage -- that lacks heating and cooling but allows sheltered passage.

One of the earliest breezeway designs to be architecturally designed and published was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1900 for the B. Harley Bradley House in Kankakee, Illinois. However, breezeway features had come into use in vernacular architecture long before this, as for example with the dogtrot breezeway that originally connected the two elements of a double log cabin on the North American frontier.

Nevertheless, the popularity of the Breezeway in residential design and architecture took after World War II, when the automobile became an increasingly central fixture in American life. Suddenly, most homeowners had a car; and it was not only important to park the car within easy access to the house, but to shelter it as well -- even if only from the sun and rain -- and to show it off, right next to and on full par with the fireplace in the Living Room, visible through the picture window.

The Breezeway literally -- and visually -- connected the living space with the formerly utilitarian function of the old garage that used to sit at the back of the yard, half-hidden. In doing so, The Breezeway became one of the defining features of midcentury modernism.

In the age before more sophisticated air conditioning systems were available, let alone standard, Ford Motor Company - through its Mercury-Edsel-Lincoln Division - introduced the Turnpike Cruiser series, launching with the 1957 models. In addition to the vent and side windows, the rear window rolled down as well. Despite flying objects and dubious child passenger safety issues, the feature remained an available option on production models through 1966.

Unfortunately, when modernism began to fall out of fashion, and more traditional design elements began to find renewed favor, many U.S. homeowners began to view The Breezeway as wasted space; at best, to be inclosed, pressing the square footage into makeshift dining areas or rec rooms.

But with the resurgence of interest in modernist architecture - in general, and midcentury period modernism, in particular - and signature period design elements and materials, such as pony-walls, planters, stone veneers, and stencil block - The Breezeway is back.

Right next to the carport, where it should be, making a bold statement at the main entry.

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