My post about the T Lofts alerted my hazy memory to the paper I wrote many moons ago on the Mar Vista Tract housing development designed by Gregory Ain. I used to drive by these houses everyday on my way to work. I'd zip down Beethoven and wonder, "What's the story on these cool modern houses?" My question was soon answered in an art history class taught by Anthony Denzer, who has since released a book, Gregory Ain: The Modern Home as Social Commentary.
These houses were part of a 52 house tract built in the late 1940's that adapted the principles of modern design into housing for the masses. They were considered to be a commercial failure at the time, but have now become highly valued and are a part of a Historic Preservation Overlay Zone.
When I look at a project like the T Lofts, I can't help but feel disappointed. While a VAST improvement over the usual "Contractor Mediterranean" style, they just can't compare to the vision, ingenuity and design quality shown in the Mar Vista Tract. Time has moved forward 60 years, but our inventiveness has not.
Check out these links for more info about the marvelous Mar Vista Tract: