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.
The San Fernando Valley is one of the commuter towns of LA where temperature variation is a huge factor in the construction of houses. During the post-war era, in 1945, many of the designs were being selected for community purposes and San Fernando provided an excellent place to start one. Case Study House #24 was actually a communal plan for 260 homes in all. The complete design consisted of a shared park and recreational facilities. However, it all commenced with the plan of the 1736-square-foot house, proposed by Jones and Emmons and sponsored by the post-war estate developer, Joseph Eichler.
The design was planned as a partially underground structure to control the temperature in the area and provide a certain level of privacy to the home owner. The Hammer Museum in LA holds a model of the original plan put forth by Quincy and his associate. Apart from the semi-underground trick, another idea that made #24 a part of the 36 case study designs, was the fact that it held a water reservoir on its roof. Again, this was intelligently done in order to naturally control the temperature during the hottest LA weather. This reservoir was to be connected with an irrigation system which could water the trees and plantation. The above-ground portion of the facade was to be covered with sliding glass doors, offering access to the courtyards created within the retaining walls for the indoor-outdoor lifestyle many post-war buyers wanted.
One element where a great deal of experience and insight from Jones came through was the kitchen. Notably, this space included the introduction of a scullery. According to A Quincy Jones, the kitchen was the heart of most family activities and presented the need for multiple experiences, and was therefore split into two. The main space was intended to be servant-less, while a secondary space, the scullery, could be barred off from the living room and the kitchen. This arrangement allowed the owner to close off the untidy part of the home and easily receive guests, at any time. All the dishwashing and similar dirty chores would take place in the scullery while the sitting area would be in the “actual” kitchen.
Lastly, Jones and Emmons made the growth of trees a part of the design. According to their thought process, a calming atmosphere within the household could only be created if the trees were grown in such a way that they blocked both sound and light.
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- Case Study House #24 / Beverley David Thorne
- Case Study House #1 / Julius Ralph Davidson
- Case Study House #9 / Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen
- Case Study House #6 / Richard Neutra
- Case Study House #22 / Pierre Koenig
- Case Study House #21 / Pierre Koenig
- Case Study House #8 / Charles & Ray Eames
- Farnsworth House / Mies van der Rohe
- Barcelona Pavilion / Mies van der Rohe