You don’t see homes designed by Dallas midcentury architect Arch Swank come on the market very often because they tend to stay in the family for generations.
Swank was a protégé of architect O’Neil Ford, and they partnered from 1937 to 1941. He was a man ahead of his time, concerned with environmental and social responsibility. He regularly challenged the Dallas establishment in the 1940s and 1950s on issues ranging from eliminating racially divided entrances at Parkland Hospital to saving Turtle Creek from becoming a highway. Can you imagine?
His many accomplishments with Ford include the Little Chapel in the Woods in Denton, San Jose Ranch on St. Joseph’s Island for Sid Richardson Jr., and the restoration of La Villita in San Antonio. Swank also designed the semiconductor complex for Texas Instruments in Richardson and the Preston Center branch of Neiman Marcus. These projects are the proverbial tip of the iceberg in one of the most innovative architectural careers of the century.
He began an individual practice in 1952, and if you’re one of the lucky individuals that own a Swank-designed residence, you have the benefit of living in a home that is not only built with creativity, but also with a sensitivity to both environment and materials. In other words, Swank was a midcentury modernist in the best sense.
Here are some of the fantastic homes Arch Swank has designed that’ve captured our fascination through the years.
Did Arch Swank Design This Newspaperman’s Home? Blueprints and Research Say So
Address: 10405 Eastlawn Drive in Northway Hills
When we took a look at the 1953-built midcentury modern home, our Spidey Senses started tingling when we get the notion an architect had a hand in this home. Of course, we were thrilled to have found a previously undiscovered Arch Swank home, a four-bedroom, three-bath with 3,571-square-feet, on Eastlawn Drive in Northway Hills. A deep search of the address pulled up the University of Texas’ collection of 323 Swank projects and blueprints, including this address for the newspaperman Robert L. Solender residence.
The galley kitchen is another design treat with custom cabinetry, a stained glass window, stainless steel backsplash, and stainless appliances including a gas cooktop, double oven, built-in microwave, built-in refrigerator/freezer, and dishwasher.
This Arch Swank-Designed MCM in Keistwood Is Under $400K
Address: 3454 S. Franklin Street in Keistwood
The classic design of this 1,656-square-foot three-bedroom, two-bath home is clean yet playful, with strong horizontal lines, vaulted ceilings, and exposed beams. The entrance is marked by a dramatic outdoor front entry, with a tree soaring through an enclosed fern garden. Beautiful, large windows in every room, with classic midcentury metal frames.
The sensitively updated kitchen overlooks the streetscape while capturing the verve and imagination of Swank’s approach. The star of the kitchen is the original, beautifully-restored Wedgewood stove boasting its original salt and pepper shakers, Wedgewood insignia, handy warming serving shelf, and futuristic light.
Midcentury Modern Arch Swank-Designed Home is a Rare Find
Address: 6216 Town Hill Lane
Sometimes you get lucky, and an original midcentury modern Arch Swank-designed home falls into your lap. This seldom happens, because they tend to stay in the same families for years, and Swank didn’t build a lot of personal residences. To find one, you have to get creative or have an innovative pal helping you. That’s what happened to Dallas Realtor John Weber.
Weber really was lucky. He purchased a custom midcentury modern Arch Swank home, built in 1957, from the original owners. And they just happened to be related to Swank. You can bet Swank pulled out all the stops because we all know how judgy relatives are, so everything had better be just right!