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The Case Study Houses Program

Los Angeles is full of fantastic residential architecture in styles running all over from Spanish Colonial Revival to Streamline Moderne. But the modernist Case Study Houses, sponsored by Arts & Architecture and designed between the mid-1940s and mid-1960s, are both native to SoCal and particularly emblematic of the region (thanks in huge part to photographer Julius Shulman). The houses were intended to be relatively affordable, replicable houses for post-World War II family living, with an emphasis on "new materials and new techniques in house construction," as the magazine's program intro put it. Architects involved included the still-widely-remembered (Charles Eames, Richard Neutra) and the known-only-to-archinerds (JR Davidson, Thornton Abell).

A&A ended up commissioning 36 houses and apartment buildings; a couple dozen were built, and about 20 still stand in the greater Los Angeles area (there's also one in Northern California, a set near San Diego, and one in Phoenix), although some have been remodeled. Eleven were added to the National Register in 2013. Here's a guide to all the houses left to see (but keep in mind that, true to LA form, most are still private residences; the Eames and Stahl Houses—the two most famous Case Study Houses—are occasionally open to visitors).

As for the wonky house numbering, post-1962 A&A publisher David Travers writes that the explanation is "inexplicable, locked in the past."

The Case Study Houses were experiments in American residential architecture sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine, which commissioned major architects of the day, including Richard Neutra, Raphael Soriano, Craig Ellwood, Charles and Ray Eames, Pierre Koenig, Eero Saarinen, A. Quincy Jones, Edward Killingsworth, and Ralph Rapson to design and build inexpensive and efficient model homes for the United States residential housing boom caused by the end of World War II and the return of millions of soldiers.

The program ran intermittently from 1945 until 1966. The first six houses were built by 1948 and attracted more than 350,000 visitors. While not all 36 designs were built, most of those that were constructed were built in Los Angeles, and one was built in San Rafael, Northern California and Phoenix, Arizona each. Of the unbuilt houses #19 was to have been built in Atherton, in the San Francisco Bay Area, while #27 was to have been built on the east coast, in Smoke Rise, New Jersey.

A number of the houses appeared in the magazine in iconic black-and-white photographs by architectural photographer Julius Shulman.

List of Case Study Houses[edit]

NumberNameArchitect(s)PublicationConstructedStatusAddressCityArts & Architecture
PDF link
Virtual Globetrotting
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1J. R. DavidsonFebruary 19451945UnbuiltCSH#1
1J. R. DavidsonFebruary 19481948Extant10152 Toluca Lake AvenueNorth HollywoodCSH#1VGT
2Sumner Spaulding and John RexAugust 19471947Extant857 Chapea RoadPasadenaCSH#2VGT
3William Wurster and Theodore BernardiMarch 19491949Demolished13187 Chalon RoadLos AngelesCSH#3VGT
4Greenbelt HouseRalph RapsonSeptember 19451989Exhibit: Museum of Contemporary Art of Los AngelesCSH#4
5Loggia HouseWhitney R. SmithApril 1946UnbuiltCSH#5
6OmegaRichard NeutraOctober 1945UnbuiltCSH#6
7Thornton AbellJuly 19481948Extant6236 North Deerfield Avenue[1]San GabrielCSH#7VGT
8Eames HouseCharles and Ray EamesDecember 19491949Extant203 Chautauqua BoulevardPacific PalisadesCSH#8VGT
9Entenza HouseCharles Eames and Eero SaarinenJuly 19501949Extant205 Chautauqua BoulevardPacific PalisadesCSH#9VGT, VGT
10Kemper Nomland and Kemper Nomland, Jr.October 19471947Significantly Altered[2]711 South San Rafael Avenue[3]PasadenaCSH#10VGT
11J. R. DavidsonJuly 19461946Demolished540 South Barrington AvenueWest Los AngelesCSH#11
12Whitney R. SmithFebruary 1946UnbuiltCSH#12
13AlphaRichard NeutraMarch 1946Unbuilt[4]CSH#13
15J. R. DavidsonJanuary 19471947Extant4755 Lasheart DriveLa Cañada FlintridgeCSH#15VGT
16Rodney WalkerFebruary 19471947Demolished9945 Beverly Grove DriveBeverly HillsCSH#16
17ARodney WalkerJuly 19471947Extant7861 Woodrow Wilson DriveLos AngelesCSH#17VGT
17BCraig EllwoodMarch 19561956Remodeled Beyond Recognition9554 Hidden Valley RoadBeverly HillsCSH#17
18AWest HouseRodney WalkerFebruary 19481948Extant199 Chautauqua BoulevardPacific PalisadesCSH#18VGT
18BFields HouseCraig EllwoodJune 19581958Remodeled Beyond Recognition1129 Miradero RoadBeverly HillsCSH#18VGT
19ADon KnorrSeptember 1947UnbuiltCSH#19
20AStuart Bailey HouseRichard NeutraDecember 19481948Extant219 Chautauqua BoulevardPacific PalisadesCSH#20VGT
20BBass HouseC. Buff, C. Straub, D. HensmanNovember 19581958Extant2275 Santa Rosa AvenueAltadenaCSH#20
21ARichard NeutraMay 1947UnbuiltCSH#21
21BWalter Bailey HousePierre KoenigFebruary 19591958Extant9038 Wonderland Park AvenueWest HollywoodCSH#21VGT
1950Raphael SorianoDecember 19501950Remodeled1080 Ravoli DrivePacific PalisadesCSH1950VGT
1953Craig EllwoodJune 19531953Extant1811 Bel Air RoadBel-AirCSH1953VGT
22Stahl HousePierre KoenigJune 19601960Extant1635 Woods DriveLos AngelesCSH#22VGT
23TriadKillingsworth, Brady, Smith & Assoc.March 19611960Extant (23A and 23C), 23B Remodeled Beyond Recognition[5]2329 (C[6]), 2342 (A[7]) and 2343 (B[8]) Rue de Anne [9]La JollaCSH#23VGT
24A. Quincy Jones and Frederick E. EmmonsDecember 1961UnbuiltCSH#24
25Frank HouseKillingsworth, Brady, Smith & Assoc.December 19621962Extant82 Rivo Alto CanalLong BeachCSH#25VGT
26Harrison HouseBeverley "David" ThorneJanuary 19631963Extant177 San Marino DriveSan RafaelCSH#26VGT
27Campbell and WongJune 1963UnbuiltCSH#27
28Case Study House #28C. Buff and D. HensmanSeptember 19651966Extant91 Inverness RoadThousand OaksCSH#28VGT
Apt 1Alfred N. Beadle and Alan A. DaileySeptember 19641964Extant4402 28th StreetPhoenix, ArizonaCSApts#1VGT
Apt 2Killingsworth, Brady, Smith & Assoc.May 1964UnbuiltCSApts#2

Notes[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Entenza, John (January 1945) "Announcement: The Case Study House Program". Arts and Architecture
  • McCoy, Esther. "Case Study Houses". 2nd edition. 1977, ISBN, Hennessey & Ingalls
  • Smith, Elizabeth A. T. (1989). Blueprints for Modern Living: History and Legacy of the Case Study Houses. Cambridge: MIT Press. ISBN. 
  • Smith, Elizabeth and Peter Goessel (2002). Case Study Houses: The Complete CSH Program,. Taschen. ISBN. 
  • Smith, Elizabeth A. T. (2007). Case Study Houses. Taschen. ISBN 978-3-8228-4617-9. 
  • Travers, David (January 2007) "About Arts & Architecture" Arts & Architecture website - accessed March 3, 2009

External links[edit]