The homes in the Case Study House Program were built between 1945 and 1966 when Arts & Architecture magazine commissioned the major architects of the day to create inexpensive and replicable model homes to accommodate the residential housing boom in the United States caused by the flood of returning soldiers at the end of World War II.
The resulting experiment in American residential architecture involved many of the great architects of the day such as Richard Neutra, Charles and Ray Eames, and Eero Saarinen—and had a major impact on modernist residential architecture.
Of the 36 houses and apartment buildings that were commissioned, only a couple dozen were built, with around 20 still standing today. Eleven were added to the National Register in 2013. While most of the homes are still private residences, the Eames and Stahl Houses—are open to the public for tours. Here is a look at 10 of our favorites.
Cover photo taken by @christineevi of the Stahl House
The Stahl House, Case Study House #22, 1959
This home embodies Pierre Koenig’s iconic representation of modernist architecture in L.A. It's been featured in numerous films, fashion shoots, and advertising campaigns over the years since it was built in 1959. Perched high in the Hollywood Hills, its floor-to-ceiling glass windows allow for stunning panoramic views of the city.
The Eames House, Case Study House #8, 1949
Located in Los Angeles' Pacific Palisades neighborhood, The Eames House—also known as Case Study House #8—is a landmark of midcentury modern architecture. Constructed in 1949 by husband-and-wife team Charles and Ray Eames, the house consists of two glass-and-steel rectangular boxes: one served as their residence, while the other was their studio. The facades consist of black-painted grids with different-sized inserts of glass (clear, translucent, or wired), gray Cemesto panels (both painted and natural), stucco (off-white, black, blue, and orange/red), aluminum (silver or painted), and specially-treated panels (gold-leafed or with a photographic panel). In reference to the Eames’ work, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of History blogged, "In all of their projects, color was a strategic tool; never did they apply hues indiscriminately. Rather, their brilliant palette spotlighted salient points of information that they wanted to convey, capturing both the eyes and minds of viewers."
The Bass House, Case Study House #20B, 1958
The Bass House, which is known as Case Study House #20B (there were two Case Study Houses numbered 20), was constructed in 1958 in Altadena, California. The home differs from the other Case Study homes in that it was built primarily out of wood, instead of steel. It was designed by architectural firm Buff, Straub, and Hensman, who worked closely with the owners, renowned graphic illustrator Saul Bass and his wife biochemist Dr. Ruth Bass. The architects were interested in the possibilities of wood as it pertained to mass production in home construction.
Case Study House #1, 1948
Despite its numbering, Case Study House #1 was not the first house to be completed as part of Arts & Architecture magazine’s Case Study House program. Designed by Julius Ralph Davidson, the 2,000-square-foot house was completed in 1948. Situated on a gently sloping lot in the Toluca Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles, the house introduced architectural elements that came to characterize the program, including floor-to-ceiling glass, a flat roof, and an open floor plan.
Case Study House #16, 1952
Designed by Craig Ellwood, Case Study House #16 was the first of three houses in Arts & Architecture magazine’s Case Study House program. Ellwood—who had been trained as an engineer—was a contractor without formal architectural training. Today, it's the only surviving, intact example of Ellwood’s designs for the program. His passion for industrial materials is evident in the use of of steel, glass, and concrete.
The Entenza House, Case Study House #9, 1949
Designed by Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen and completed in 1949, the Entenza House is situated on a flat bluff in the Pacific Palisades overlooking the Pacific Ocean. The modular home features a steel frame construction, which has been concealed with wood-paneled cladding. Entenza frequently entertained, so the house consists of mostly public space.
The West House, Case Study House #18, 1948
Constructed in the Pacific Palisades on a bluff overlooking the ocean, the West House was designed by Rodney Walker and completed in 1948. It was the first of four adjacent houses on Chautauqua Boulevard that were built as part of Arts & Architecture magazine’s Case Study House program. Note that the neighboring Case Study Houses #8, #9, and #20 were completed within the next two years. The 1,600-square-foot home takes full advantage of panoramic ocean views with floor-to-ceiling glass panels.
The Stuart Bailey House, Case Study House #20, 1948
Built in 1948, the two-bedroom Stuart Bailey House was designed by Richard Neutra and is currently one of two residences on the Sam Simon Estate, the Pacific Palisades property that recently sold for $14.9 million. Neutra employed a classic, open midcentury layout and large, floor-to-ceiling glass sliding doors. It was the only Case Study home designed by Neutra that was actually built.
Triad Case Study House #23A, 1960
As the largest of three adjacent single-family residences that form the Triad grouping, Case Study House #23A was completed in 1960. The three homes were planned to be the pilot project for a large tract of houses in the La Jolla district of San Diego, but these three were the only ones that were built. The goal for the Triad homes was to design in a manner that created a close relationship between the houses, while still maintaining privacy. All three homes were designed by Edward Killingsworth, Jules Brady, and Waugh Smith.
The Case Study Houses were experiments in American residential architecture sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine, which commissioned major architects of the day, including Richard Neutra, Raphael Soriano, Craig Ellwood, Charles and Ray Eames, Pierre Koenig, Eero Saarinen, A. Quincy Jones, Edward Killingsworth, and Ralph Rapson to design and build inexpensive and efficient model homes for the United States residential housing boom caused by the end of World War II and the return of millions of soldiers.
The program ran intermittently from 1945 until 1966. The first six houses were built by 1948 and attracted more than 350,000 visitors. While not all 36 designs were built, most of those that were constructed were built in Los Angeles, and one was built in San Rafael, Northern California and Phoenix, Arizona each. Of the unbuilt houses #19 was to have been built in Atherton, in the San Francisco Bay Area, while #27 was to have been built on the east coast, in Smoke Rise, New Jersey.
A number of the houses appeared in the magazine in iconic black-and-white photographs by architectural photographer Julius Shulman.
List of Case Study Houses
|Number||Name||Architect(s)||Publication||Constructed||Status||Address||City||Arts & Architecture|
|1||J. R. Davidson||February 1945||1945||Unbuilt||CSH#1|
|1||J. R. Davidson||February 1948||1948||Extant||10152 Toluca Lake Avenue||North Hollywood||CSH#1||VGT|
|2||Sumner Spaulding and John Rex||August 1947||1947||Extant||857 Chapea Road||Pasadena||CSH#2||VGT|
|3||William Wurster and Theodore Bernardi||March 1949||1949||Demolished||13187 Chalon Road||Los Angeles||CSH#3||VGT|
|4||Greenbelt House||Ralph Rapson||September 1945||1989||Exhibit: Museum of Contemporary Art of Los Angeles||CSH#4|
|5||Loggia House||Whitney R. Smith||April 1946||Unbuilt||CSH#5|
|6||Omega||Richard Neutra||October 1945||Unbuilt||CSH#6|
|7||Thornton Abell||July 1948||1948||Extant||6236 North Deerfield Avenue||San Gabriel||CSH#7||VGT|
|8||Eames House||Charles and Ray Eames||December 1949||1949||Extant||203 Chautauqua Boulevard||Pacific Palisades||CSH#8||VGT|
|9||Entenza House||Charles Eames and Eero Saarinen||July 1950||1949||Extant||205 Chautauqua Boulevard||Pacific Palisades||CSH#9||VGT, VGT|
|10||Kemper Nomland and Kemper Nomland, Jr.||October 1947||1947||Significantly Altered||711 South San Rafael Avenue||Pasadena||CSH#10||VGT|
|11||J. R. Davidson||July 1946||1946||Demolished||540 South Barrington Avenue||West Los Angeles||CSH#11|
|12||Whitney R. Smith||February 1946||Unbuilt||CSH#12|
|13||Alpha||Richard Neutra||March 1946||Unbuilt||CSH#13|
|15||J. R. Davidson||January 1947||1947||Extant||4755 Lasheart Drive||La Cañada Flintridge||CSH#15||VGT|
|16||Rodney Walker||February 1947||1947||Demolished||9945 Beverly Grove Drive||Beverly Hills||CSH#16|
|17A||Rodney Walker||July 1947||1947||Extant||7861 Woodrow Wilson Drive||Los Angeles||CSH#17||VGT|
|17B||Craig Ellwood||March 1956||1956||Remodeled Beyond Recognition||9554 Hidden Valley Road||Beverly Hills||CSH#17|
|18A||West House||Rodney Walker||February 1948||1948||Extant||199 Chautauqua Boulevard||Pacific Palisades||CSH#18||VGT|
|18B||Fields House||Craig Ellwood||June 1958||1958||Remodeled Beyond Recognition||1129 Miradero Road||Beverly Hills||CSH#18||VGT|
|19A||Don Knorr||September 1947||Unbuilt||CSH#19|
|20A||Stuart Bailey House||Richard Neutra||December 1948||1948||Extant||219 Chautauqua Boulevard||Pacific Palisades||CSH#20||VGT|
|20B||Bass House||C. Buff, C. Straub, D. Hensman||November 1958||1958||Extant||2275 Santa Rosa Avenue||Altadena||CSH#20|
|21A||Richard Neutra||May 1947||Unbuilt||CSH#21|
|21B||Walter Bailey House||Pierre Koenig||February 1959||1958||Extant||9038 Wonderland Park Avenue||West Hollywood||CSH#21||VGT|
|1950||Raphael Soriano||December 1950||1950||Remodeled||1080 Ravoli Drive||Pacific Palisades||CSH1950||VGT|
|1953||Craig Ellwood||June 1953||1953||Extant||1811 Bel Air Road||Bel-Air||CSH1953||VGT|
|22||Stahl House||Pierre Koenig||June 1960||1960||Extant||1635 Woods Drive||Los Angeles||CSH#22||VGT|
|23||Triad||Killingsworth, Brady, Smith & Assoc.||March 1961||1960||Extant (23A and 23C), 23B Remodeled Beyond Recognition||2329 (C), 2342 (A) and 2343 (B) Rue de Anne ||La Jolla||CSH#23||VGT|
|24||A. Quincy Jones and Frederick E. Emmons||December 1961||Unbuilt||CSH#24|
|25||Frank House||Killingsworth, Brady, Smith & Assoc.||December 1962||1962||Extant||82 Rivo Alto Canal||Long Beach||CSH#25||VGT|
|26||Harrison House||Beverley "David" Thorne||January 1963||1963||Extant||177 San Marino Drive||San Rafael||CSH#26||VGT|
|27||Campbell and Wong||June 1963||Unbuilt||CSH#27|
|28||Case Study House #28||C. Buff and D. Hensman||September 1965||1966||Extant||91 Inverness Road||Thousand Oaks||CSH#28||VGT|
|Apt 1||Alfred N. Beadle and Alan A. Dailey||September 1964||1964||Extant||4402 28th Street||Phoenix, Arizona||CSApts#1||VGT|
|Apt 2||Killingsworth, Brady, Smith & Assoc.||May 1964||Unbuilt||CSApts#2|
- Entenza, John (January 1945) "Announcement: The Case Study House Program". Arts and Architecture
- McCoy, Esther. "Case Study Houses". 2nd edition. 1977, ISBN, Hennessey & Ingalls
- Smith, Elizabeth A. T. (1989). Blueprints for Modern Living: History and Legacy of the Case Study Houses. Cambridge: MIT Press. ISBN.
- Smith, Elizabeth and Peter Goessel (2002). Case Study Houses: The Complete CSH Program,. Taschen. ISBN.
- Smith, Elizabeth A. T. (2007). Case Study Houses. Taschen. ISBN 978-3-8228-4617-9.
- Travers, David (January 2007) "About Arts & Architecture" Arts & Architecture website - accessed March 3, 2009