Case Study Houses – LA’s Historic Architectural Experiment
In 1945, the publication Arts and Architecture announced its intent to build “Case Study Houses”. The goal of the program was to create experimental, model homes that could be easily and inexpensively duplicated, in order to address the post-World War II housing boom. The program was never completed, but many of the homes were built in Los Angeles and they remain standing today, leaving interesting historical landmarks.
The original plans called for building 36 Case Study Houses. The first six were built by 1948. Between 1948 and 1966, another twenty homes were built. A majority of the homes were built in Los Angeles, although some were also built in San Diego, Northern California, and Arizona. A full list of the homes, including whether they were built, demolished, remodeled, or still existing, is available here, as well as brochures for every home. A map of the Case Study Houses in Los Angeles is available here. The most famous of the homes is Case Study House #22, also known as the Stahl House, designed by architect Pierre Koenig and built in 1960 (pictured above). It is perched in the Hollywood Hills, and has been featured in numerous films, fashion shoots, and advertising campaigns.
Over time, the homes have become historical landmarks, and are of particular interest to students of architecture. In 2013, the Los Angeles Conservancy Modern Committee was awarded a Governor’s Historic Preservation Award in recognition of its work in nominating eleven of the Case Study Houses to the National Register of Historic Places. Of the other homes, many have been demolished or remodeled beyond recognition, making the historic preservation of the remaining homes even more important.
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