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Portrait of Architect, David B. Runnells taken by Life Magazine in 1950

Portrait of Architect, David B. Runnells taken by Life Magazine in 1950


David Benton Runnells, Architect 1913-1973


Architect, David B. Runnells traveled extensively in Europe after graduating from the University of Illinois. He was heavily influenced by the work of Alvar Aalto while traveling through, Finland and Sweden on a scholarship to the University of Stockholm.


Runnells was a student of Eliel and Eero Saarinen, studying city planning at Cranbrook, a hotbed of modern design education. Other students attending at that time were Charles and Ray Eames, Florence Knoll, Harry Bertoia, Benjamin Baldwin, Harry Weese and Jack Lenor Larsen. Runnells worked in the Saarinen offices during part of World War II and did competitions with co-worker and Case Study House Architect, Ralph Rapson.


Runnells eventually settled in Kansas City sometime around 1941 as head of the industrial design department of the Kansas City Art Institute. He was a director of planning with the Kansas City Planning Department from 1943-46. He became an architect in 1946 and partnered in Runnells Clark Waugh and Matsumoto Architects. Together, they did one of his best known projects, the new Art School building for the Kansas City Art Institute. The only other project known to have come from that partnership is the James I. Clark Residence.


After the partnership dissolved, with Waugh and Matsumoto leaving to teach, Runnells went on to do merchant home builder designs and custom homes, many of which were built by modern builder, Don Drummond. The Revere Homes are his best known merchant builder design. The Reed Residence is the best surviving example of his large custom residential work. The two custom personal residences that he designed for himself and for Don Drummond have both been demolished. His 1966 design for the Alpha Kappa Lambda Fraternity in Lawrence, Kansas has also been demolished.


We are posting information about the Tour and Architect,

David B. Runnells almost every day over at our blog so be

sure to visit


KCMODERN presents:

When Mid-Century Modern was GREEN

David B. Runnells Climate-Wise Home Tour & Patio Party

Saturday, September 19, 2009, 7:00-9:00 PM

200 W. 94th Street & Wornall Road, Kansas City, Missouri

Park at the Temple at 9400 Wornall and cross street to 94th.

Meet other Modern enthusiasts and experience a unique

Mid-Century Modern “Country Home” designed by David B.

Runnells to be sustainable in 1950. Enjoy campfire food and

yard beer at this special “recession proof” KCMODERN

event. Limited advance reservations are available for $10

per person until Thursday, September 17th. A separate ticket

is required for the Sunday tour.


Cranbrook To Kansas City

David B. Runnells Mid-Century Modern Homes Tour

Sunday, September 20, 2009, 2:00-5:00 PM

This tour will require driving to multiple homes so start early.

Start at 7300 Roe Circle, Prairie Village, Kansas.

Park at Baptist Church at 75th & Roe, walk north to Roe Circle.

Or start at 2400 W. 86th Terr. & Lee Blvd. Leawood, Kansas.

There will be limited parking on 86th Terr. Cul-de-sac

See at least 8 cool examples of Mid-Century Modern

homes designed by Architect, David Benton Runnells.

Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 the day of the tour.

Limited tickets will be sold at the event registration tables

on a first come first served basis, so buy your tickets now!


Order Your Tickets Today

Make your checks payable to KCMODERN and send payment

to KCMODERN, 5301 W. 66th Terrace, Prairie Village, KS 66208.

All advanced tickets to be picked up the day of the events at the

registration table. We will tour the homes regardless of weather.


More info at 913.262.5056 or


KCMODERN raises awareness and promotes preservation of

Modern Architecture and Design. Proceeds from this event will

fund future KCMODERN events and modern activities.

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Taken on September 1, 2008