We previously made a list of the architects who inspire our work the most, and now we're shining a spotlight on a group of architects and a famous program that especially provides inspiration to our residential design concepts: The Case Study House program from 1945 - 1966. Famous architects like Charles Eames and A. Quincy Jones were part of this program, and we hold many of the architects of the Case Study House program in very high regard. Their houses still hold much cultural value, delivering a "wow" factor over 60 years later.
The Case Study House program was created in response to the demand for single-family residential housing in the post-World War II era. This call for housing led to what is now referred to as suburbia. A group of architects came together in January 1945 to create the Case Study House program, where they announced in Arts & Architecture magazine that each architect will take it upon themselves to build a house that is capable of duplication. Each house would then be on display for the public to walk through and determine how successfully the job had been done. Many of these houses are still standing in Los Angeles, CA.
These houses represent how architects had a voice during the 1940s - 1960s, especially when it came to residential development. Developers back then took cues from the architects, which is vastly different compared to today's market. The Case Study House program embodied a spirit of curiosity from that era, which is a spirit that we at SZ always strive to maintain.
Over the years, the main philosophy of architectural conviction still holds up. It's truly about elevating the experience of the design, having a sense of intelligence behind it, and coming up with a strong concept in the home design rather than just a bedroom/bathroom count. In today's housing market, real estate agents have a stronger influence on the game. As a result, developers have come to dictate the design with their own priorities, rather than architects, leading to what are sometimes referred to as "McMansions."
As much as we hold the Case Study House program in high regard, there are present-day needs that aren't addressed in this program. While the architecture of the Case Study Houses is still elegant and timeless, there are several changes that today's contemporary homeowner needs: a layout adapted to the speed of living in today's fast-paced world, a larger kitchen space to hold more than a single person, a living space accommodated to today's modern family lifestyle, and an office or space where people can work from home. These were not needs back when the Case Study House program was originally developed, meaning that there is a lot of room to evolve.
By adapting this Case Study House program to the current times, and in a cost effective way, the concept itself, not just the design of the homes, will remain timeless as it evolves.
At SZ, we will be kicking off our own Case Study Program with a present-day twist. We have the unique opportunity to develop an untouched 1960s rambler, influenced by the Case Study era. We will be exploring the ways that we can adapt the original rambler design to a contemporary lifestyle in a respectful way, maintaining the design integrity through remodels and add-ons without demolishing it.
Join us on our design journey as we breathe life into this 1960s home. We'll discuss the cost effectiveness and challenges of remodeling and bring you along through each step of the process as we explore, learn, and celebrate the original design of the house. Stay tuned!