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Alison King’s Modern Phoenix

March 16, 2015 - By Kristen Gioscia

Founder of and the well-known Modern Phoenix home tour, Alison King, is working to connect “modern-minded” people in the Valley.

Alison2009 (1)For those that have never visited, it is the leading internet source of information for mid-century modern design in central Arizona. The website originated when King and her husband were on the hunt for a home in Phoenix. After being away from the Valley for 10 years, she and her husband searched for their ideal neighborhood and ideal style of home.

It eventually became clear that that the minimalist and “unfussy” detailing of mid-century modern homes was what attracted King’s family the most. In order to personally keep track and organize the inventory of the local mid-century modern homes and to utilize her web publishing skills, King created a website. People immediately started to respond to her published content. This was just the beginning of

“So very quickly it went from a personal quest to a community quest to not only educate ourselves, but to educate other people.” — Alison King

The website transformed into a platform to educate and provide resources for people interested in mid-century modern (MCM) homes. Eventually King added pricing, availability and historical context on MCM homes in the area to the website. Within months, people started to inquire about putting together a home tour.

King reflected on the first annual home tour of basically being a “block party” with about 100 people.

“Immediately after the first home tour ended people were asking about the next one.”

Midcentury Modern HomeFor those unfamiliar with mid-century modern design, it is known to be very “clean and uncluttered” and pays great attention to light. As Arizona’s greatest natural resource, light, “mid-century modern architecture plays to that aspect very well,” stated King.

King discussed how post-war homes in Arizona became more open, much more minimal and used daylight as a resource. Hence, the growth in MCM style homes in the Valley.

Another attractive aspect of MCM homes is its affordability. King stated “you can really enter the modern lifestyle at any price point. We have apartments, condos, single-family homes, custom homes, and luxury homes.”

In order to spread awareness and visibility on MCM, King engages closely with the community on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. For those that want to sell their MCM home, the sales section of the website provides an appropriate platform. This allows for the seller to connect with a “modern-minded” buyer.

“Maintaining casual ties through social media is a real important role that I’m totally happy to do, to help people feel connected and feel like they are a part of a larger community.”

King also conducts private lectures for groups and neighborhood meetings where she talks about the historical context of the neighborhood.

As a professor of Art History at the Art Institute of Phoenix, she often includes her students in projects to create a love for mid-century modern architecture in the next generation.

MCM2Aside from getting other people to appreciate MCM design, a goal that King has been working on for the past couple years is to motivate people to designate their own homes as historic. For unknown reasons, she has faced challenges in accomplishing this. However, recently she has seen more multi-family homes, rather than single-family homes, like apartment complexes and condos interested in nominating the property for historic recognition.

After 11 years, King has reached a lot of her goals for Modern Phoenix. The impact she has created and her involvement in important discussions of historical preservation has created visibility and consciousness about Phoenix on the national and international radar.

“People are referencing Phoenix as a mecca of modernism more than ever before.We’re getting recognition from Chicago, Los Angeles, Palm Springs and Sarasota.”

If you want to learn more about mid-century modern design in the valley, visit The 11th annual Modern Phoenix home tour week will kick off April 19th. For more information on the home tour, check out our blog post on the Valley’s spring home tours here: Phoenix Spring Home Tours