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A hands-on approach

September 26, 2004

Devised in the 1920s as an alternative to high-priced housing, Frank Lloyd Wright's Textile Block homes relied on inexpensive materials and techniques so simple even the homeowner-to-be could master them. But his concept wasn't completely sound -- the shovel-of-this, shovel-of-that compound crumbled, and steel rods used in place of mortar to stitch blocks together quickly rusted. Freeman House is now an open-air classroom. Working on-site, USC architecture students and L.A. Trade Tech College machinists are rebuilding blocks using Wright's 20th century techniques with a boost from 21st century technology.

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