When we think of Los Angeles architecture, what immediately comes to mind are images of glass-fronted houses with gently sloping roofs, roomy interiors, and confident, clean lines.
Image: Milton Tyre House, Emmons House, Brody House Exterior, Brody House Interior
But who exactly was it that decided Southern Californians wanted to live this way? Archibald Quincy Jones. While this modernist architect designed homes for celebrities and millionaires, he spent much of his time creating housing developments, and community spaces such as libraries and churches.
Image: Church Studio City, UCLA Library
At that time, tract houses were rather drab andinstitutional-looking, but Jones knew that everyone wants to live somewhere sunny, stylish and appealing. His fresh approach forever changed people’s expectations about affordable housing. Jones was interested in the way that architectural design could create a sense of community, and he believed in the importance of having a shared green space for people to enjoy. In this sense, he was truly progressive, not only in his aesthetic, but also in his philosophy of life.
Forever Home Interior, Forever Home Exterior, Fairmeadows Tract House
It’s clear that A. Quincy Jones was an intuitive man who understood the way real people live. Many of his houses are characterized by a large central room that manages to feel quite cosy, and yet spacious at the same time. You can tell they’ve been designed with respect for its inhabitants.
Image: Frank Capra House
[Photo credit: Realtor.com]
His love of nature was further expressed in how he cared for the environment. Jones was way ahead of his time, and supported sustainable architecture and conservation policies. He was an early proponent of greenbelt planning, which protected parcels of land against urban development. If it wasn’t for pioneers like A. Quincy Jones, the cities we live in would be much bleaker places. He was a true visionary, who helped to shape the way we live today.
In the summer of 2013, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles held a retrospective of his work. Watch the video to view some rare archive footage of his projects, and of the man himself.
[Video credit: Hammer Museum]