Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses - tract houses

Designers: Ain, Gregory, Architect (firm); Eckbo, Royston and Williams, Landscape Architects (firm); Gregory Ain (architect); Garrett N. Eckbo (landscape architect); Robert Norman Royston (landscape architect); Edward A. Williams (landscape architect)

Dates: constructed 1945-1946

1 story

Altadena, CA

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This was a group of 28 tract houses, sited on a hilly site in Altadena, CA. Gregory Ain long pursued the ideal of the totally prefabricated house; he was never able to convince the construction trades, developers or lenders of the wisdom of this concept, but he tried whenever possible, to achieve economies of scale in his work. All houses in this tract were built on 12-foot by 16-foot modules, and shared common finishes, hardware and equipment. These modern, flat-roofed houses step down the hill in a similar manner to earlier mass housing developments such as Alvar Aalto's Ahlstrom Company Factory Housing, Kauttua, Finland (1938) or William Wurster's Carquinez Heights Defense Housing, Vallejo, CA, (1941-1942). Ain was known for his careful siting and inventive, small floor plans. In this case, garages were placed in pairs at the front of lots to create private service yards; landscape architecture firm Eckbo, Royston and Williams designed plantings to inhibit views into each individual back yard. Ain designed the dining room in front and living room in back to flow into each other and to enable ample cross-ventilation to flow through the combined space. To accentuate cross-ventilation in each room of the house, Ain created a clerestory that stretched across three-quarters of the width of each house's roof, allowing light and air to refresh bedrooms, kitchen and bath.

PCAD id: 15816