A. Quincy Jones

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Pha´don, Jun 5, 2002 - Architecture - 272 pages
Archibald Quincy Jones (1913-1979) was a Los Angeles-based architect and educator who shared the Case Study goal of reinventing the house as a way of redefining the way people lived in postwar America. A pioneer in "greenbelt" planning, Jones raised the level of the tract house in California from the simple stucco box to a structure of beauty and logic surrounded by gardens and integrated into the landscape. He introduced not only new materials but also a new way of living within the built environment, and his work bridged the gap between custom-built and developer-built homes. The exquisite detailing and siting of Jones's houses, churches, commercial and university buildings make them quintessential embodiments of mid-century American architecture.

This is the first and currently the only book published on Jones, documenting the entire scope of his career, from his early postwar planning projects to his long association with Palo Alto building magnate Joseph Eichler, developer of the Eichler homes. The book is comprised of two parts: a substantial introductory essay tracing Jones's life and career, summarizing his key projects and his contributions to planning; and a catalogue of 65 of Jones's projects divided into building type and illustrated with high-quality black-and-white period photographs, and plans and renderings by Jones.

A. Quincy Jones was a talented architect with a unique style but for whom the interests of community planning were more important than asserting his own individual aesthetic. Jones called the typical tract houses of the day "bumps along the road waiting for trees to grow, " and his work on the pioneering Los Angeles development known as the Mutual HousingAssociation (1945), the later Eichler Homes, and other residential developments helped to set the postwar standard for affordable, livable, aesthetically pleasing homes that looked and felt modern. Jones was one of the first American architects to experiment with unconventional structural systems: slip-form concrete, cast-in-place concrete beams, and modular-based plywood. Beginning in the late 1940s Jones established an architectural vocabulary that was to last him into the next decade: post-and-beam wood or steel structure, exposed concrete block, plate glass, and redwood siding. Most of his buildings are still extant and, more impressively, still look fresh and appropriate more than 30 years later.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, Jones moved to Los Angeles as a young boy in 1917. He studied architecture at the University of Washington in Seattle and returned to Los Angeles, working for two different architecture firms. After serving in the military during World War II, Jones returned again to Los Angeles in 1945 and opened his own practice that year, joining in partnership with Frederick E. Emmons from 1951 to 1969. As an influential educator, Jones served as dean of the architecture school at the University of Southern California in the late 1970s. He was also co-author with his partner Emmons of the 1957 book Builder's Homes for Better Living, a highly influential professional guide.

One of Jones's best-known projects is the Mutual Housing Association, a cooperative organization of returned servicemen who hired Jones to develop 800 homes in the Santa Monica Mountains in 1945. The designs, published in Arts & Architecture magazine, had a formative effect on Southern Californiahousing, and the development won the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Award of Merit in 1952. A. Quincy Jones and Frederick Emmons also participated in the Case Study Program as the only architects to submit a tract house proposal, Case Study #24. While primarily known for his residential work, Jones also designed and built churches, commercial buildings, apartment buildings, and university projects. His Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Southern California is a wonder of concrete construction and features an energy-saving "air flow" system of heating and cooling first developed by Jones. Among his commercial projects, the Palm springs Tennis Club (1947) and Tiny Naylor's coffee shop in Los Angeles (1957; since demolished) are classic examples of mid-century exuberance and the "Populuxe" aesthetic.

This book analyzes the 65 major projects designed by A. Quincy Jones alone and in partnership with Frederick Emmons. The book is visually driven, showcasing a valuable collection of pristine vintage photographs of Jones's work taken by renowned architecture photographers including Julius Shulman, Hedrick Blessing, Ernest Braun, and Marvin Rand. The book also includes approximately 25 rarely seen and never-before-published renderings, plans, and intricate working drawings from the A. Quincy Jones archive at UCLA. Works are organized into sections by building type; each work is represented by a brief project description and several pages of photos and drawings.

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The Architecture of A Quincy Jones

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About the author (2002)

Cory Buckner is a practising architect and writer who bought a house designed by Jones and began to research his work. She obtained her architecture degree from the California Institute of the Arts and an MA in architectural history at the University of California at Los Angeles.

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