When World War II ended and the American troops were returning home, it was the start of the baby boom and a monumental housing shortage. Well known architects in the country were asked to design simple, affordable homes that could be built enmasse. The magazine Arts & Architecture put out a challenge to architects that included Richard Neutra, Raphael Soriano, Craig Ellwood and Ray Eames.
The Case Study Houses were numbered 1 through 28 and two apartments were included. They were built from 1945 sporadically through 1966. Thirteen were never built and from the ones that were, at least three were later demolished. A couple of them have been renovated rather than restored, and the rest are lived in and cared for today. Most of the homes were built in Los Angeles, one in San Rafael, California and one in New Jersey.
Number 16 was the first of three Case Study Houses designed by Craig Ellwood. Completed in 1952 in Bel Air, the house was innovative in its use of exposed steel-structural framing and floor-to-ceiling glass walls to optimize the views and open to the grounds making it feel twice the size. Ellwood was actually an engineer rather than an architect, and placed a lot of emphasis on the stability of the structure using steel, glass and concrete built on a slab. The 1,664-square-foot home with two bedrooms and two baths is just as contemporary today as when it was completed in 1953. The living room has a dramatic stone fireplace set into the glass wall that extends beyond it into a terraced area. Set into mature landscaping, the house appears to rest on a cushion of greenery.
For the first time in 50 years, the historic Case Study House #16 is for sale in Bel Air, Los Angeles, California. Priced at $2.995 million, the listing agents are Aaron Kirman, Dalton Gomez and Weston Littlefield, all with Aaron Kirman Group at Compass, Los Angeles.
Photo credit: Matthew Momberger, courtesy of Aaron Kirman