The Case Study House program (1945-66) might just be the most innovative event in the history of American architecture.
After hours conversing about new ideas in residential design, John Entenza, editor of Arts & Architecture magazine, decided to create the program. The goal of the program was to create inexpensive, stylish, prototypes for modern housing. The announcement of the program stated,
“The magazine has undertaken to supply and answer (to housing – post war) … proposing to begin immediately the study, planning, and actual design of eight houses … Eight nationally known architects, chosen not only for their obvious talents but for their ability to evaluate realistically housing in terms of need, have been commissioned to take a plot of God’s green earth and create good living conditions for eight American families.
Entenza was a champion of modernism and had all the right connections to attract the talent the program needed. Among the initial architects chosen were Richard Neutra, Charles and Ray Eames, and Eero Saarinen.
Taking place mainly in the Los Angeles area, the program oversaw the design of 36 prototype homes and successfully re-defined the modern home.
Today, many of these homes are listed under the National Register of Historic Places. And, once in a while a CSH hits the market, like Case Study House #21 designed by Pierre Koenig.