‘All Steel Houses’ – Frank Lloyd Wright, 1938
Part of a collection of prefabricated houses designed for pre-war Los Angeles. Wright called the scheme “All Steel Houses,” explains Wright archivist Bruce Brooks Pfeiffer,
“proposing building one-hundred houses on a hillside location in Los Angeles. Each house has a unique design [based on its particular location and market demands], but the system of construction and all the detailing were standardized, thereby reducing the unit cost.”
You can see more plans, discussions and drawings of four of these houses here at this 'Wright Chat' page (naturally, you’ll have to scroll past the obligatory chat about Ayn Rand first), including the suggestion that in these beautiful houses Wright was trying to outdo the likes of Neutra, Schindler and Mies – and succeeding brilliantly, I might say. It was only fair, really, since it was this first generation of modernists that were themselves so heavily influenced by Wright’s early work, only fair therefore that he should leapfrog them to demonstrate again how it should be done – as he did again with both Fallingwater and his House on the Mesa.
And if you’re really keen, you can download and play with this Google Sketchup model (right) of one of these houses, though without (confusingly) the accompanying sloping ground. (The model and Sketchup programme are entirely free, by the way).