Time and Place

Time: 5:00pm (Central)
Location: Architecture and Urban Planning Room 110 – UWM Campus – 2131 E Hartford Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53211

Urban Edge Award Lecture


IIT College of Architecture PhD Program in Architecture

Modern in the Middle: Chicago Houses, 1929-1975 (History and Preservation) presentation by Michelangelo Sabatino + Serge Ambrose

Lecture Summary:

Modern in the Middle Chicago Houses, 1929-1975 (History and Preservation) weaves lessons of history, preservation, and stewardship of single-family house into a captivating story for professionals, students, and enthusiasts interested in modern architecture and landscape in America and beyond.


Michelangelo Sabatino is a publicly engaged architectural historian, curator, and preservationist whose research and writing focuses primarily on modern architecture and the built environment. He is Professor of Architectural History and Preservation at IIT’s College of Architecture where he directs the PhD program and is the inaugural John Vinci Distinguished Research Fellow. Since arriving in Chicago in 2014, Sabatino co-authored Modern in the Middle: Chicago Houses 1929–1975 (with Susan Benjamin, 2020), which recently won the “Modernism in America Award” from Docomomo US. He is currently co-editing a book Building, Breaking, Rebuilding. The Illinois Institute of Technology’s Campus and Chicago’s South Side. The book is the basis of short films and a new exhibition.

Sabatino’s first book, Pride in Modesty: Modernist Architecture and the Vernacular Tradition in Italy (2011), won multiple awards, including the Chicago-based Society of Architectural Historians’ Alice Davis Hitchcock Award. More recent books include Canada: Modern Architectures in History (with Rhodri Windsor Liscombe, 2016), Avant-Garde in the Cornfields: Architecture, Landscape, and Preservation in New Harmony (with Ben Nicholson, 2019), Making Houston Modern: The Life and Architecture of Howard Barnstone (with Barrie Scardino Bradley and Stephen Fox, 2020), and Carlo Mollino: Architect and Storyteller (with Napoleone Ferrari, 2021).

Sabatino and his partner Serge Ambrose recently restored their late 1930s modern home in the Chicago suburbs. Their forthcoming book is entitled Modern, Again. The Benda House & Garden in Chicagoland (2024).

Serge Ambrose is trained as an architect and engineer and is focused on contemporary design and the preservation of modern architectural heritage. Serge served as a commissioner on the Riverside Historical Commission and as the Docomomo US/Chicago Board Chair from 2016-2020. Currently he is a Board Member of Docomomo US / Chicago.

Questions, comments?

All lectures are free and open to planners, students, staff, faculty, and friends of the University. Please contact Karl Wallick, Department of Architecture