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Case Study Houses (Jumbo) Hardcover – February, 2002

4.7 out of 5 stars 46 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The first thing you notice about Case Study Houses: The Complete CSH Program, 1945-1966 is its size: it's big. Contained within its 16-inch frame is the history of Arts & Architecture magazine's famed program created to inspire the building of low-cost modern homes in America. The brainchild of magazine editor John Entenza, the program drew well-known architects including Charles Eames, Eero Saarinen, and Richard Neutra. Throughout the book are spectacular photographs of modernist glass- and patio-filled homes. Most of the homes were built in the Los Angeles area and make wonderful use of the surrounding scenery. A 17-foot-tall front door opens up onto a canal; streamlined Herman Miller furniture fills out a living room that overlooks a breathtaking panorama. While not all the projects were built, each received a detailed spread in the magazine, including drawings and models. Some of the architectural drawings are lovely, drawn with the movement and fluidity of a master. Included are short biographies of each architect, a provocative epilogue by photographer Julius Shulman, and the reprinted original magazine pages that announce the birth of the Case Study idea. This book is a true gem, and considering its size it's the Hope diamond. --J.P. Cohen

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Perhaps what's most fun here is the flavor of the period captured by the photographs. -- Newsweek.com, 3/9/02
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Product Details

  • Series: Jumbo
  • Hardcover: 440 pages
  • Publisher: Taschen; Ill edition (February 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3822864129
  • ISBN-13: 978-3822864128
  • Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2.6 x 18 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,410,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
A sumptuous 440 page visual record of this southern Californian house design program. It is a big book (at a big price) weighing twelve pounds and the landscape format opens up spreads thirty-four inches wide, beautifully printed with English, German and French text.

Each of the thirty-six houses is covered in the same way with:
1 A short introduction by editor Smith
2 The relevant editorial copy from Arts & Architecture magazine about the house.
3 Photos, plans, diagrams, illustrations. Lots of the photos are by the brilliant Jules Shulman and I doubt you will see them this big anywhere else.
4 Color photos of the house today.

Some of houses only have a spread or two (the unbuilt ones) while others have several spreads, Pierre Koenig's famous Stahl House (#22) has twenty pages. I was intrigued by a photo on one of these, it shows the living room with a small table on which are the obligatory selection of magazines, two of these are 'America', the Russian language publication put out in the sixties by the US Information Agency, were these on display when the house was open to the pubic or did Shulman put them there just for the photo session? I have given this glorious book only four stars because it is not as complete as it should be, the focus is rather narrow, essentially a visual history of the Study Houses and that's it! What is missing is any historical and contemporary background and surely the reason the whole project was important was the influence it had on other architects, house builders, planners, the public and manufacturers.

To get a perspective you will have to get Elizabeth Smith's earlier book 'Blueprints for Modern Living' published in conjunction with an exhibition in Los Angeles in 1989-1990.
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Format: Hardcover
A sumptuous visual record of this southern Californian house design program. Original published by Taschen in a jumbo edition. This reprint celebrates their twenty-fifth publishing anniversary and it's slightly smaller than the original book but still beautifully printed with English, German and French text.

Each of the thirty-six houses is covered in the same way with:
1 A short introduction by editor Smith
2 The relevant editorial copy from Arts & Architecture magazine about the house.
3 Photos, plans, diagrams and illustrations. Plenty of the photos are by the brilliant Jules Shulman.
4 Contemporary color photos of some houses.

Some of houses only have a spread or two (the unbuilt ones) while others have several spreads, Pierre Koenig's famous Stahl House (#22) has twenty pages. I have given book only four stars because it is not as complete as it should be, the focus is really a visual history of the Study Houses and that's it! What is missing is any historical and contemporary background and surely the reason the whole project was important was the influence it had on other architects, house builders, planners, the public and manufactures.

To get a perspective you will have to get Elizabeth Smith's earlier book Blueprints for Modern Living: History and Legacy of the Case Study Houses, published in conjunction with an exhibition in Los Angeles in 1989-1990. As the sub-title to the book says: 'History and Legacy of the Case Study Houses'. I found this a marvelous book though there are only forty-two pages of text and photos on the actual houses the rest of the 256 pages place them in the context of Californian living and mid-fifties American architecture.

*** I have done a Listmania on books about Case Study Houses.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've had my eye on this book in the original format for a few years now, but could not part with the $$$ for it. When I saw this 25th Anniversary edition I got so excited that I had to order it right away. Ok, I know it's not the "real" version of the book, but for less than half the price who cares. To be honest with you, this smaller version of the book is so big I do not think I could handle a larger book. You definitely have to set this book down on a table to read it, otherwise it is unmanageable. As for content, wait, let me go over to my bar and make a martini. Yeah, that's better. The beautiful photography of Julius Shulman truly transforms you back to a better time! There are also floor plans, sketches, notes, and of course the text of the book. You can tell they used the original plates for this book, since the font is quite small, but definitely readable. I'm sure in the original format the text would appear normal size. In most cases though, you won't be looking at the text in this book, this is a PICTURE book, and what a picture book it is! A ring a ding ding! Oh, wait that's the martini kicking in. Once I started looking at this book, I watched a documentary on Julius Shulman, called Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman, which had many of these houses in it and so accompanies this book, it should be included with it. Since it is not though, you should order it WITH the book. For any fan of Modernism, this book is a must, I love it! This is where it starts. Now if they would only come out with a cheap version of that Arts & Architecture magazine set that started the Case Study House program....
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