Many midcentury aficionados are familiar with the Case Study Houses sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine (1945-62), which commissioned major architects of the day — Charles Eames, Raphael Soriano, Richard Neutra, to name a few — to build inexpensive and efficient model homes. Pierre Koenig’s Case Study House No. 22, which cantilevers over the Hollywood Hills, has become a Los Angeles landmark, and 10 of the 36 proposed Case Study Houses are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Much less known is the Horizon Homes program, which was sponsored by a nationwide association of cement companies in the early ’60s. Their goal: to show how a house could be built inexpensively with concrete, as well as to promote creative new ways to use the product. In the process, scores of progressive home designs that utilized exposed concrete and masonry exclusively in the construction were created.
“Both programs had goals of building innovative and inexpensive housing,” says Laguna Niguel author Ted Wells, whose book, “Horizon Homes: Living the Concrete Dream,” is to be released this year by Guardian Stewardship Editions. “They each succeeded in producing some outstanding homes, but both failed in cost effectiveness related to production.” […]