Dennis Blair, architect, apprenticed with Frank Lloyd Wright. During the years of 1944-45 he worked on the Guggenheim Museum model.
Best known for his design of Adlai Stevenson High School in Libertyville, Blair designed dozens of modernist homes around the North Shore including a home for music producer Dick Marx, father of pop music star Richard Marx. In the early 1950’s he was recognized as an “architect to watch” by Architectural Record magazine for his work at Case Western University in Cleveland Ohio. Harry Weese was also on that list.
Blair homes range from beautifully executed flat-roof post and beam modernist structures, to more freeform designs using various rooflines, including his own home in Barrington, Illinois which features a multi-level plan around an atrium. His office is located in the home; visitors walk through the plant-filled atrium below grade to the large office space with stone wall.
Blair is a practical designer and is cognizant of severe Midwest winters in his designs. He used signature granite stone walls that appear solid but are actually hollow in the center to provide air insulation as a thermal break between outside and inside. He always locates the kitchen at the front of the house with a view of the driveway, sometimes using vertical slats as a “security screen” to block the view from outside, but allows the homeowner to see out. He felt it was important to “know who is coming up the front walk” while working in the kitchen.