Modern in the Middle: Chicago Houses, 1929-1975

Link to Lecture on YouTube

Join Riverside residents and authors Michelangelo Sabatino and Serge Ambrose for a presentation of their new book Modern in the Middle: Chicago Houses, 1929-1975 (co-authored with Susan
Benjamin) followed by a conversation with Kim Freeark and architect John Vinci about Riverside’s
Freeark House – one of the homes profiled in the book.

Register at the Riverside Public Library website. You will be sent a link to this Zoom presentation after you register.

Serge Ambrose is an architect and engineer focused on contemporary design and the conservation
of 20th Century architectural heritage. He has worked on building projects in Florida, Texas and
Illinois and has presented conservation research at several Docomomo US Symposia and other
conferences. Serge is a member of the Association for Preservation Technology and has served on
the Riverside (IL) Historical Commission. Serge served as the Docomomo US/Chicago Board
Chair from 2016-2020. He is currently working on the restoration of the 1930’s modernist Benda
House and landscape in Riverside, IL.

Michelangelo Sabatino trained as an architect, preservationist, and historian. Professor Sabatino
currently directs the PhD program in architecture and is the inaugural John Vinci Distinguished
Research Fellow. Throughout his career Sabatino has focused new light on larger patterns of
design discourse and production during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries: his book Pride in
Modesty: Modernist Architecture and the Vernacular Tradition in Italy (2011) was translated into
Italian and won critical acclaim and multiple awards, including the Society of Architectural
Historians’ Alice Davis Hitchcock Award. His recent books include Canada: Modern Architectures in History (with Rhodri Windsor Liscombe, 2016), Avant-Garde in the Cornfields: Architecture, Landscape, and Preservation inNew Harmony (with Ben Nicholson, 2019), and Making Houston Modern: The Life and Architecture of HowardBarnstone (with Barrie Scardino Bradley and Stephen Fox, 2020).

John Vinci is an award-winning architect, author, and preservationist. He grew up a child of Italian
immigrants on Chicago’s South Side and attended the Illinois Institute of Technology, which was
then under the direction of the legendary Modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Vinci’s
pioneering restoration projects include Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House and Home Studio,
Sullivan’s Chicago Stock Exchange Trading Room and the Carson Pirie Scott Building, and Root’s
Monadnock Building. His design work, meanwhile, includes notable buildings such as the Arts
Club of Chicago, numerous award-winning residences including the Freeark House in Riverside,
and more than fifty major exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago and other museums.

Kim Freeark is a retired IT consultant who has lived in Riverside since 2016. That year, she
purchased her parents’ “international style” home, which was designed by architects John Vinci
and Lawrence Kenny and built in 1975. Kim enjoys gardening, reading, and traveling.