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A first class study of the background to the Case Study Houses project created by the southern Californian Arts & Architecture magazine. This book was originally published in conjunction with an exhibition of the program at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in 1989-1990. It has plenty of photos and plans (though some the photos are just a little too dark) to illustrate the eight main essays. Editor Elizabeth Smith and Amelia Jones devote forty-two pages to the actual houses with succinct descriptions, plans and photos. The rest of this marvellous book has a huge amount of information relating to housing and the post-war environment and how the thirty-six prototype houses had a wide influence on the domestic architecture that followed.
I particularly enjoyed the two essays by Thomas Hine and also Dolores Hayden's essay: 'Model Houses for the Millions: architects' dreams, builders' boasts, residents' dilemmas'. The back of the book has six contemporary architects ideas and plans for housing in 'Extending the Case Study Concept', followed by biographies, chronology, bibliography and index.
Was the project worth it? Architectural writer Esther McCoy summed it up as... `Perceived as a prototype that was to be enacted on a mass scale, the Case Study House program was a failure. Perceived as a prophetic statement, however, as a demonstration of trends and influences that would in one way or another achieve realization, the program must be judged a success. Perceived as art, finally, an approach suggested by their presence in The Museum of Contemporary Art, the Case Study Houses have won the right to be recognized and respected in the history of American design'.Read more ›
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Nuetra, Soriano, Ellwood, Koenig - Blueprints for moder living is the catalogue for a major exhibit at the LA MoCA in the late 80's. It is an excellent sourcebook for those intersted in post war residential architecture. Modern Architecture (with a capital A) was going to change the world, as these bold case-study house designs show. This book contains a great deal more than just documenting the Case Study Building Program of the 50's. There are essays by noted historians Esther McCoy, Thomas Hines and Reyner Banham and others as well. These essays provide the background for the case study program and the mood of the public (especially in Califonia) after WW2. There is also an essay on publisher Joh Estnza and the Arts and Architecture Magazine that sponsored the program. The last chapter "Extending the Case Study Concept" documents the exhibit of six new designs (1987) commisioned by the Museum for a multi family housing project. Architects include: Eric Owen Moss, Toyo Ito and Hogetts & Fung. Lastly there are bio's on the architects, a timeline of events for the program and resourcefull bibliography. As always, the Julious Shulman photographs are stunning. This is a must have for the student of Modernism.
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