by Claudia Zelevansky, CNN
After World War II, Art & Architecture magazine launched a project called the Case Study House Program. The scheme, announced in the January 1945 issue of the publication, challenged eight designers and architects, including Charles and Ray Eames and Richard Neutra, to design homes that “create ‘good’ living conditions for eight American families.” The houses needed to be “capable of duplication and in no sense be an individual performance.”
Nice try, Art & Architecture. Decades later, the Case Study houses have become just that: dynamic, vivid performances, though the structural similarities among them blithely eschew the term “individual.”
According to Laura Massino Smith, the architectural historian at Architecture Tours Los Angeles and author of numerous guides to Los Angeles neighborhoods, these architects could “get away with methods of construction that they might not in other places: No snow, no ice and not very much rain. It made it a hotbed for innovation.”
With Massino Smith’s expert counsel, we’ve selected five of these historic homes — all of which you can visit, enter and experience. Hopefully they’ll stand forever despite the winds of time and, yes, occasional inclement California weather, a testament to modernist sensibilities and the unique beauty of Los Angeles’ culture, climate and instinct for trailblazing, innovation and experimentation.