Houses of the West
"What makes a house a 'Wester' house? Highly prized by both architects and home-owners, the 'Western' house has been admired, adopted, adapted, emulated, even imitated, from coast to coast for a long time. But what exactly is a 'Western' house? Could almost any one of the millions of residences dotting the West be called one? Is it a house of a certain architectural style? Of a certain size? Built of certain materials?
The answer is, of course, no. The Western houses you'll be exploring in these pages are a breed apart, a breed of infinite variety. Today, more than ever, Americans contemplating either buying a home or having one custom-designed are finding themselves strongly attracted to the fresh, free quality of this particular kind of house. Born in America's West, it is a house that seeks an intimate relationship to site an lifestyle. Timelessly contemporary, this kind of house derives from no historic style. Its design bows to no set of rules. It is characterized by no specific forms. It calls for no preconceived details. Joining with the landscape, it is careful not to despoil the landscape. And, although it makes use of materials found in its locality, it does so out of choice and common sense, rather than out of any dictates of style. It is, in every sense of word, free. It is a house not merely in the West but of the West.
Joyfully culled from Architectural Record's rich treasury, these contemporary Western residences - 41 of them having been chosen recently as Record Houses - bring you a unique body of ready design ideas and an almost inexhaustible fund of practical solutions to design and site problems. The volume's 410 superb photographs (of which many are full page and 16 in full color), together with 131 plans and other drawings and diagrams, show details of exteriors, interiors, and sites. From them, architects and clients, builders, developers, and prospective buyers can find concrete visual expression for their ideas and notions. Questions relating to taste and preference, need and pocket-book, can be clarified and often finalized.
The volume takes you inside and around a sparkling galaxy of homes of the West. You'll explore vacation houses at the beach 'married' to water, sand, and sky. Vacation houses in the woods, in the mountains, and on open sites - growing out of bedrock, nestling into trees, hugging bare slopes, on cliffside ledges, on poles, and on slopes almost too steep to build upon. And vacation houses for year-round use. (There is concrete house on a rocky ridge with a 60-foot diameter living room part indoors and part outdoors!) You'll see suburban and town houses on hilly and on flat sites. Houses making miraculous use of small and/or odd-shaped sites, houses surrounding huge central spaces, houses built for earthquake resistance. Single- and multi-level houses, multi-family complexes, and multi-activity and multi-mood houses.
Whether elegant or modest, large or small, costly or inexpensive - each is possessed of simplicity, integrity, lack of pretense, and perfect harmony with the natural environment. Each permits the precise degree of informality desired by the people who live in it. Each respo0nds boldly and sensitively to personality, to the use of which it will be put, and to the inalienable rights of the land on which it stands. You will find the volume a source of discovery and delight."
McGraw-Hill Book Company
New York, NY
Architecture, Frank Lloyd Wright
Thompson, Elisabeth Kendall, "Houses of the West" (1979). Frank Lloyd Wright Book Collection. 62.