Raising the Roof: 1950s Architecture and the Postwar Housing Boom

Frank Lloyd Wright architecture


In 1954, Frank Lloyd Wright wrote that “The house of moderate cost is […] America’s major architectural problem, [and] for her major architects.”  Wright devoted a substantial portion of his career to trying to solve this problem.  This course will examine the designs of a number of architects, builders, and inventors who took on this challenge, including Thomas Edison, Marcel Breuer, Mies van der Rohe, Charles and Ray Eames, Buckminster Fuller, and William Levitt. Commentary and critical reviews of the day will be looked at, as well the a discussion of various designs: Salt box colonial; Fowler’s octagon; Queen Anne cottages; Craftsman bungalows; Sears and Roebuck mail order kit homes; Fuller’s Dymaxion homes; Wright’s Usonian homes; Leavittown development homes; Krisel’s mid-century modern Homes; and  Wills’ colonial revival homes. Questions like: did these and other efforts succeed or fail?; what this history tells us about life in America?; and how are current designs and building approaches being used in on-going attempts to solve the problem once described by Wright.

Instructor: Richard Voigt

Tuesdays: September 10, 17, 24; November 1
6:30–8:30 p.m.

Richard Voigt
RICHARD VOIGT graduated Wesleyan (’68), and from the University of Virginia Law School. He served in the Office of the Solicitor, U.S. Department of Labor, before entering private practice in Connecticut, focusing on labor, employment, and other issues of the workplace. He is a partner in the firm of McCarter & English, LLC, and has often been recognized for this work, including in Best Lawyers in America. He lectures on American history, with a particular emphasis on the American workplace.