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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Evolution of Gregory Ain's Interwar and Postwar Planned Housing Communities, 1939-1948

  • Author(s): Devenney, Brooke Ashton
  • Advisor(s): Morton, Patricia
  • et al.

This thesis explores Gregory Ain's planned housing communities spanning the period 1939-1948, connecting their conception to the theoretical legacy of Modernism that began with the Congrès Internationaux d'Architecture Moderne (CIAM) in Europe a decade earlier. Expanding on existing scholarship, this thesis attempts to contextualize Ain's One Family Defense House Project (1939), Park Planned Homes (1945-47), and Mar Vista Tract (1946-48) within the social, political, and economic context of the interwar and postwar period. Although the latter two projects are more well-known, I attempt to expand the understanding of their design through new and lesser-known examples by Ain in the area of tract housing and contemporaneous housing examples. These include his manifesto for a project entitled Preliminary Proposal `A' for a low-cost community housing development in Southgate, California and the U.S. govenment's Basic Minimum House (1936). The three projects discussed in this thesis expand the context within which one views the typical tract house, but also the avant-garde approach to Modernism during this era and the years that followed.

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