The editorial notes on Arts & Architecture’s 11th Case Study House set out the “basic principles of modern architecture”: an emphasis on “order, fitness and simplicity.” Livability and practicality are key, and “sham” is frowned on. As with other houses in the series, this design by JR Davidson adheres to these goals with clean, horizontal lines, an open floor plan, and integration of the outdoor space.
It’s a modest, compact home, less high-concept than some of the other houses in the programme—no indoor plantings or reflecting pools; no complicated backstory for the imagined clients (think of the next two, #12 and especially #13)—but arguably more successful in providing a model for the average American home. Its value doesn’t depend on dramatic landscaping or views, but on thoughtful design and attention to solving everyday problems. Walking through Archilogic’s 3D model reveals the elegance of Davidson’s approach.
The tenth Case Study House wasn’t actually intended for the Arts & Architecture programme. It was added on its completion in 1947, to fill out the roster, as many houses remained unbuilt. Clearly, the Nomland design earned its place on the list, having many features in common with other Case Study homes and, most importantly, meeting the stated aims of economy, simplicity, new materials and techniques, and indoor/outdoor integration. The different departure point, however, can be seen in the layout. Whereas Case Study homes were designed primarily for families, this plan is for “a family of adults”—which is to say, a childless couple.
The name Niemeyer stands for one thing above all: curves. Whether undulating lines, soaring domes, or swooping pillars that repeat in perfect rhythm, his designs reject “the straight line, hard and inflexible, created by man” in favor of “the curved Universe of Einstein,” as he wrote in his 2000 memoir The Curves of Time. Indeed, a late interview with him was headlined “the architect who eradicated the straight line.”
But what happens to an artist who becomes wedded to a certain philosophy of form and pursues it exclusively for decades; does it become restrictive? I wonder whether Niemeyer ever questioned his monogamous dedication to the curve. Perhaps a certain restlessness drove the uncharacteristically sharp-edged plan of the Tel Aviv house he designed for hotel magnate Yekutiel Federmann—or perhaps it reflects the political and personal upheaval of the moment.
The seventh house in the Arts & Architecture Case Study program was built with real clients in mind: a family of three with creative hobbies. The result, designed by Thornton M Abell, is a flexible home with a distinctive functional character.
The house divides neatly into three separate areas: to the left of the entrance, working spaces make up nearly half of the full floorplan, with living and sleeping areas off to the right and extending forward into the garden. Sliding panels between the roomy central reception/dining area and the cozy living room create the option of privacy or extra space, as required, with the terrace and splash pool beyond offering further possibilities for summer entertaining. A small planting area beside the sliding door blurs the line between indoors and out.
The fourth house in Arts & Architecture’s Case Study program departed from the trend with a noticeably more introverted design. Intended for a modestly sized urban lot, rather than the dramatic and expansive canyon or forest locations of so many other Case Study homes, it couldn’t borrow drama from the landscape, nor would the residents welcome curious glances from their close neighbors—so the house looks entirely inward.
Rapson called his design the “Greenbelt House” for the glass-covered atrium that divides the living and sleeping areas. In his original drawings and model, as in Archilogic’s 3D model shown here, this strip is shown filled with plant beds in a striking geometric pattern. However, Rapson imagined that it could be put to many uses, according to the residents’ tastes: a croquet court or even a swimming pool could find their place here. This “brings the outdoors indoors” rather more literally than, for instance, Richard Neutra’s expansive, open-door designs.
What might the futuristic home of Tony Stark (AKA Iron Man) look like in our more mundane world? In this fun exercise, Archilogic imagines a for-sale version the Malibu mansion. Explore it for yourself in the 3D model!
Ever dreamed of a real superhero lifestyle? We have a rare opportunity to buy in this secluded Malibu location, thanks to a change of heart by the former owner. Dramatic views, spectacular entertaining areas, plus a huge workshop/garage and helipad – it’s all here.
Lovingly rebuilt after an unfortunate accident, this stark white clifftop mansion once again has all its original features. Buyers who enjoy a rich social life will appreciate the glamorous history of the house, in which the celebrity former owner enjoyed a lavish party lifestyle, as much as its spectacular design.
Only three of the Arts & ArchitectureCase Study Houses were built outside Los Angeles, and those three formed a united concept. The Triad Houses in La Jolla, a seaside suburb of San Diego, share a single driveway, motor court, and design vocabulary, while being created to meet different needs.
In keeping with the Case Study mission, all three houses used open-plan design, affordable modern materials (such as aluminium and concrete with wood frames), and plenty of glass to create a fresh and open mood. The emphasis was on strong geometric forms, careful detailing, horizontal lines (with perfectly flat roofs) and – this being the Californian coastline – dramatic views and outdoor living space, creating the illusion of more interior space than was actually present.
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.
Some unbuilt designs—the hopes they reveal and the reasons they stayed unbuilt—tell a powerful story. So it is with the home Frank Lloyd Wright designed for Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller. Or perhaps it’s what we think we know about Marilyn that makes it so poignant?
The union between a quiet-living intellectual and the world’s greatest sex symbol was baffling to the public, and the conflict between their aspirations and personalities seems to have played out in their plans for this Connecticut home. After moving into Miller’s country retreat, Monroe asked Wright to design a new house for them on this vast piece of land.
The last house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright was never built, with its plans being delivered to the client just days after Wright’s funeral. But the realization of his vision is tantalizingly possible, as those plans, and the parcel of land it was designed for, are still held by the same family—and are for sale, along with the adjoining plot and an existing Wright house.
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.