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The Case Study Houses: 1946-1963

October 15, 1989|LEON WHITESON

Here is a list of the 24 Case Study Houses that were built and the architects who built them.

Many of the architects who designed Case Study Houses are dead, including some of the more famous, such as Richard Neutra, Charles and Ray Eames, Eero Saarinen, Quincy Jones and Raphael Soriano.

A dozen are still living, and several are still in practice, including Pierre Koenig in Brentwood and Ed Killingsworth in Long Beach. Craig Ellwood lives in Tuscany, Italy, and teaches one semester a year at Cal Poly Pomona.

Whitney Smith, John Rex and Kemper Nomland Jr. have retired. Ralph Rapson, Calvin Straub and Beverly Thorne have moved from Southern California.

1946: 540 Barrington Ave., Brentwood. J. R. Davidson. The first Case Study House, since destroyed, was small but ingeniously planned, without an inch of wasted space in its innovative open plan.

1947: 857 Chapea Road, Pasadena. Spaulding & Rex. In the second Case Study House, the basic open floor plan, with the living areas separating the parents' and children's bedrooms, was developed as a prototype that became the standard for many following houses.

--9945 Beverly Grove Drive, Beverly Hills. Rodney A. Walker.

--7861 Woodrow Wilson Drive, Hollywood. Rodney A. Walker.

--199 Chautauqua Blvd., Pacific Palisades. Rodney A. Walker.

(These three houses, by Walker, pioneered a simplified wood-frame construction made up of standard 3-foot modules intended as a model for low-cost housing.)

--711 San Rafael Ave., Pasadena. Nomland & Nomland. Set in a picturesque eucalyptus grove, this house features a simple shed roof and long walls of glass.

--4755 Lasheart Drive, La Canada Flintridge. J. R. Davidson. This small and simple dwelling is another example of the Case Study House urge to create standard and repeatable plans for low-cost houses.

1948: 6236 N. Deerfield Ave., San Gabriel. Thornton M. Abell. A blank concrete block wall screens the house from its suburban street to create a private interior environment.

--219 Chautauqua Blvd., Pacific Palisades. Richard Neutra. This house continued the innovations Neutra had incorporated in a number of his pre-World War II two-bedroom houses, including the ground-hugging horizontal emphasis and the deep and sheltering roof overhangs.

1949: 13187 Chalon Road, Brentwood. Wurster & Bernardi. An H-shaped plan divides the living from the sleeping wings with a central porch that is also the entry.

--203 Chautauqua Blvd., Pacific Palisades. Charles Eames. The most famous Case Study House, the Eames house uses off-the-shelf industrial structural components in a style that later became known as high-tech.

--201 Chautauqua Blvd., Pacific Palisades. Eames and Saaarinen. Surprisingly restrained in its structural expression, Entenza's own house lacks the boldness of the Eames house next door.

1950: 1080 Ravoli Drive, Pacific Palisades. Raphael Soriano. In the first study house built of steel, Soriano pioneered the standardized system he used on many later projects.

1952: 1811 Bel Air Road, Bel-Air. Craig Ellwood.

1955: 9554 Hidden Valley Road, Beverly Hills. Craig Ellwood. The house has since been altered.

1957: 1129 Miradero Road, Beverly Hills. Craig Ellwood.

(The design of the three houses above by Ellwood followed in Soriano's footsteps with steel-framed dwellings that allowed long spans free of columns and clear interior spaces with low partition walls or storage units. The Miradero Road house has been altered.)

1958: 2275 Santa Rosa Ave., Altadena. Straub & Hensman. Adapting the standardized, factory-built systems developed for steel framing, this wood-framed home for famed designer Saul Bass is warmer in feeling than the colder steel houses.

--9036 Wonderland Park Ave., Hollywood. Pierre Koenig.

1959: 1635 Woods Drive, Hollywood. Pierre Koenig.

Koenig, like Ellwood and Soriano, was fascinated by the lightness and openness a steel frame allowed in house design, enhanced by the dramatic possibilities of perching a house on the edge of a precipice.

1960: Three houses: 2329, 2342 and 2343 Rue de Ann, La Jolla. Killingsworth, Brady & Smith. This triad of houses in the hills marked the Case Study program's move toward planning communities as well as single-family houses. Closely grouped, the homes offer a unique insight into what an entire Case Study House neighborhood or tract might have looked like. The house at 2343 Rue de Ann has been altered.

1962: 82 Rivo Alto Canal, Naples. Killingsworth, Brady & Smith. The most urbane of all the homes, this house on one of the Naples area canals shows how a modern residential design could fit into an urban as well as a suburban environment.

1963: 177 San Marino Dr., San Rafael. David Thorne.

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