Nestled in the verdant seaside hills of the Pacific Palisades in southern California, the Entenza House is the ninth of the famous Case Study Houses built between 1945 and 1962. With a vast, open-plan living room that connects to the backyard through floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors, the house brings its natural surroundings into a metal Modernist box, allowing the two to coexist as one harmonious space.
Like its peers in the Case Study Program, the house was designed not only to serve as a comfortable and functional residence, but to showcase how modular steel construction could be used to create low-cost housing for a society still recovering from the the Second World War. The man responsible for initiating the program was John Entenza, Editor of the magazine Arts and Architecture. The result was a series of minimalist homes that employed steel frames and open plans to reflect the more casual and independent way of life that had arisen in the automotive age.
The third Arts & ArchitectureCase Study House has a noticeably different sensibility to that of many of the other designs in the series. While equally engaged with the goal of maximizing enjoyment of the natural surroundings, in this design the architects show more concern for privacy and protection.
The approach from the street is somewhat forbidding; aluminum siding presents an impenetrable front. Besides the front and garage doors, the small, high kitchen windows are the only visible openings, though it is possible to peer over the fence of grape stakes into the children’s private garden.
The second house in Arts & Architecture magazine’s Case Study Houses program shows the hallmarks of the series: an emphasis on light-soaked living areas, indoor-outdoor living, strong horizontal lines dominated by a flat roof, and so on. It is distinguished, though, by particularly creative details linking the indoor and outdoor areas, and by a strong awareness of function.
The Bailey house—one of Richard Neutra’s four Case Study designs for Arts & Architecture—forms one of five Bluff houses, standing high above the ocean. The brief was to create a low-budget home for a young family, with just two bedrooms, but offering the possibility of expansion as time went by (which did in fact transpire; additional Neutra-designed wings were later built).
Neutra employed the same indoor-outdoor philosophy that can be seen at work in his unbuilt Alpha and Omega houses, using large sliding glass doors to create light and a visual sense of space, as well as ensuring that the house physically opened up to, as he put it, “borrow space from the outdoors.” With this sunny Californian ocean-view setting, it made perfect sense to use the back garden and terrace as living and dining room.
In designing his (unbuilt) house for the Arts & ArchitectureCase Study program, Whitney Smith, like Richard Neutra, prioritized the connection to outdoor space. His motivation, however, was more specific than a desire to extend the living area of a small house. Rather, he wanted to create a highly personal space, geared to the passion of his hypothetical client. Seeing conventional plans as a straitjacket for residents who craved appropriate working space within their home (be it a sewing studio or a photography darkroom), he aspired to fit this house to the needs of a keen horticulturist.
Of the four homes designed by Richard Neutra for the Case Study Houses program, post-war thought experiments commissioned by Arts & Architecture, only one was ever realized. In the imaginary village of the program's many unbuilt homes, next to #6, the Omega house, stands #13, named Alpha. Archilogic’s 3D model gives us a unique chance to experience this innovative concept home.
Each of Neutra’s projects was designed for a family of five, and each reveals his psychoanalytic approach to architecture, in which the house itself is an intimate part of family relationships, as important as the personalities involved. (Neutra was personally acquainted with Freud, and a committed follower of birth trauma theorist Otto Rank.) Underlining this Freudian view, his imaginary clients are not just neighbours—they are related; Mrs Alpha being sister to Mrs Omega.
As A Quincy Jones rightly said, “There’s no unimportant architecture”. The late architect worked alongside his colleague, Frederick E. Emmons, putting their hearts and souls into the design of Case Study House #24, but sadly it was never built. The location in which Case Study House #24 was to be constructed was once a part of the Rolling Hills Ranch, the area which is now popularly known as San Fernando Valley.
The design of the house started with the surrounding environment, which is richly brought out in the architectural drawings by the architects. The region with its lush green vegetation invites swimming, barbecuing, horse riding and other such outdoor activities.
For those of us that aren’t based out of a university—and even for many who are—finding research resources that cover the topic you're interested in can be a challenge. But they can be found, and thanks to the internet your search no longer needs to be limited to nearby libraries. In fact, many world-renowned libraries and magazines are now working to digitize important parts of their collection, while a number of online organizations have sprung up with missions to improve access to information. To help you identify some of the most useful, we’ve put together a list of 18 free websites that offer scholarly articles, publications, photos, videos, and much more.
The biggest surprise in this Archilogic model is the spectrum of color. Anyone who has visited the Case Study House 26 in San Rafael, California during the last 40 years would be familiar with the building’s classic all-white steel frame look, but the architect, Beverley David Thorne, had originally picked a very different color scheme: “Dull Gold” for the steel, saffron and other more vivid colors for the interiors. “The choice of exterior colors,” wrote Thorne in Arts & Architecture magazine, “was dictated by the climate and the character of the surrounding landscape.” This Archilogic model recreates the original 1963 conditions, down to the bedroom wall and tile colors.
http://www.archdaily.com/790103/a-virtual-look-into-beverley-david-thornes-case-study-house-number-26Madlaina Kalunder and Cord Struckmann, Archilogic
This month's Archilogic model is a virtual tour of the very first Case Study House being featured in Arts and Architecture Magazine's program, designed by Julius Ralph Davidson. After World War II, American soldiers returned home from battlefields in Europe. They had to cope with traumatic experiences during the war and probably just wanted to rebuild their life and settle down.
It must have been hard to get back to normal. Certainly people wanted to live the American Dream: The pursuit of happiness, the intention of all Americans. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was first proclaimed in the United States Declaration of Independence in 1776 and became a sort of “doctrine” for American citizens. This was an idea often reflected in the Hollywood film and television industry. The films that were produced in Hollywood after 1945 were stories that suggested that every hard-working person would succeed. Hollywood seemed to repeatedly produce stories of the American Dream.
http://www.archdaily.com/785051/a-virtual-look-into-julius-ralph-davidsons-case-study-house-number-1David Tran and Florian Meier, Archilogic
This month's interactive 3D floor plan shows a simple and beautiful steel frame structure designed by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen. The Case Study House Program, initiated by John Entenza in 1945 in Los Angeles, was conceived to offer to the public models of a low cost and modern housing. Predicting the building boom after World War II, Entenza invited renowned architects such as Richard Neutra to design and build houses for clients, using donated materials from manufacturers and the building industry.
Entenza was the editor of the monthly magazine Arts & Architecture, in which he published the ideas of the participating architects that he had invited. Two of those architects were Eero Saarinen and Charles Eames, who for Case Study House number 6, Entenza commissioned to design his own home. The house was built just a few meters away from Charles and Ray Eames’ house which the duo also constructed as part of the Case Study program.
This 3D model is as close as you can get to the real thing, as Omega House is one of the few Case Study Houses that was never built. Presented early in the case study program of Arts & Architecture magazine in 1945, it presents one of the most innovative design concepts in the series, one you can now explore in your browser.
Without a doubt, it’s among the most famous houses in Los Angeles. The house is easy to describe: a steel framed L-plan, divided into bedrooms and the communal living spaces, all wrapped around a turquoise pool seemingly impossibly poised above the city. But words don’t do it justice. Julius Shulman’s 1960 photograph of Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House 22, perhaps better known as Stahl House, changed the fantasies of a generation.
http://www.archdaily.com/778021/a-virtual-look-into-pierre-koenigs-case-study-house-number-22-the-stahl-houseMadlaina Kalunder and David Tran, Archilogic
Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House 21 (Bailey House) represents an icon in the Case Study program, the visionary project for reimagining modern living developed by John Entenza for Arts & Architecture magazine. On being completed in 1959, Arts & Architecture applauded it as “some of the cleanest and most immaculate thinking in the development of the small contemporary house”, and it remains an influential single family house for architects worldwide. Now Archilogic has modelled this icon in 3D, so you can explore it yourself.
http://www.archdaily.com/776262/a-virtual-look-into-pierre-koenigs-case-study-house-number-21-the-bailey-houseDavid Tran and Pascal Babey, Archilogic
“Nestled into the desert landscape that defines Nevada’s visage, Ascaya feels as if it were shaped by the elements. [...] Where stone rises up to meet the sky, there is a place called Ascaya.” - The Ascaya promotional website
Not quite, according to Michael Light’s soon-to-be released book, Lake Las Vegas/Black Mountain. Covering the advance of suburban Nevada into the desert, this two-part book looks at Lake Las Vegas, a then-abandoned victim of the 2008 real estate crash which has since emerged from the other side of bankruptcy, and nearby Ascaya, a high end housing estate that is still in the process of being carved into Black Mountain. Light’s photography doesn’t so much question the developers’ summary as it does, say, blast it, scar it, terrace it and then build a large housing development on the remains. Featuring beautifully composed aerial shots of the construction sites and golf courses covering the desert, the book is a clear condemnation of the destructive and unsustainable development in Nevada. Much more than that, though, Light is highlighting a wider philosophy behind developments like Ascaya and Lake Las Vegas that fundamentally fail to connect American society with the American landscape in a non-destructive way.
Ten of Los Angeles’ Case Study Homes have been deemed historically significant an worthy of being included on US’s National Register of Historic Places. Despite the Los Angeles Conservancy’s belief that all of them deserve “equal preservation protections,” the 11th home was not included due to “owner objection.”
The Case Study Houses spawned from a post-WWII residential experiment, presented by the Arts & Architecture magazine in 1945, which introduced modern movement ideas for affordable and efficient housing. The homes - designed by the likes of Richard Neutra, Charles and Ray Eames, Pierre Koenig, Eero Saarinen and others - redefined the modern home. And, with the help of Julius Shulman, placed Los Angeles as an epicenter for mid-century modernism.