Case Study House 9 Dwg International

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Above: Saul and Dr. Ruth Bass poolside at Case Study House #20(B). Located in Altadena, California the home was designed by Buff, Straub, and Hensman in 1958. Photo: Julius Shulman / Getty Archives 

Each house must be capable of duplication and in no sense be an individual ‘performance’… It is important that the best material available be used in the best possible way in order to arrive at a ‘good’ solution of each problem, which in the overall program will be general enough to be of practical assistance to the average American in search of a home in which he can afford to live.”

John Entenza, editor of Arts & Architecture Magazine  of the Case Study House program

It has always struck me as a little odd that there are two Case Study Houses numbered 20. Perhaps John Entenza, editor of Arts & Architecture magazine who spearheaded the Case Study House program (and himself lived in CSH #9), simply lost count when assigning the commissions. The first Case Study House 20(A) is the Stuart Bailey House located in the Pacific Palisades and designed by architect Richard Neutra in 1948. The second Case Study House number 20 was built ten years later. Designed by the architectural firm of Buff, Straub Hensman Case Study House 20(B) – the Bass House – is located in Altadena, California and was completed in 1958. This article is about the latter, the ‘B’ house.

Architectural model of Case Study House 20(B) – the Bass House located in Altadena, California and completed in 1958. Shown in the model the barrel-vaulted roof with allowed for more natural light into the home. Photo: Julius Shulman / Getty Archives

Architectural model of Case Study House 20(B) – the Bass House located in Altadena, California and completed in 1958. To the center left of the image you can see the representation of a large tree that the owners insisted remain on site. Photo: Julius Shulman / Getty Archives

Case Study House 20B differs is many ways from many of the other Case Study Houses with one of the primary differences is that the home is framed in wood rather than steel. Working closely with the owners – renowned graphic illustrator Saul Bass and his wife biochemist Dr. Ruth Bass – the architects were very interested in the possibilities of wood as it pertained to mass production in home construction. The home owners also wanted a house that was more sculptural in form so features such as curved interior ceiling, barrel-vaulted roof, and circular brick fireplace were incorporated to reflect a home that was well suited to the home owner’s needs and desires. An unusual request of the Bass’ was that a large tree that was located on the site remain with the result being one wall of the home resting against the massive trunk of the tree as it soars through the open lattice of the terrace roof. The tree has since been removed.

Elevation of Case Study House #20(B) designed by Buff, Straub, and Hensman in 1958.

Floor plan of Case Study House #20(B) designed by Buff, Straub, and Hensman in 1958.

Case study House 20(B) is one of my personal favorites of the Case Study Program. It also happened to one of the smallest and was the least expensive of the Case Study Houses to build. CSH 20(B) also demonstrates quite well that the relationship between the architects and the home owners need not be a clash of personal ‘wants’ versus design ‘solutions’. The result is a home that, like so many well-designed modern homes of the era, is a masterstroke of architecture that offers an almost seamless blend of interior and exterior spaces with an open plan that allows for natural light from all sides as well as the vaulted ceiling. CSH 20(B) is also a brilliant testament that functional and attractive design can be achieved on a relatively modest budget. It’s a wonderful house that’s still there today, although I believe the barrel-vaulted roof has been replaced with a flat one.

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Case Study House 20(B) as it is today. Photo: Kansas Sebastian / flickr


Click here for the original August, 1959 Arts & Architecture magazine article about Case Study House #20(B)


About illustrator Saul Bass
via wikipedia

Saul Bass (1920 – 1996) was instrumental in create a new American Minimalism in modern graphic design. With economy of color and utilizing almost rough, elemental forms his designs have become icons of the era, with many of his logo and corporate identity works still in use today.


Saul Bass (May 8, 1920 – April 25, 1996) was an American graphic designer and Academy Award winning filmmaker, best known for his design of motion picture title sequences, film posters, and corporate logos.

During his 40-year career Bass worked for some of Hollywood’s most prominent filmmakers, including Alfred Hitchcock, Otto Preminger, Billy Wilder, Stanley Kubrick and Martin Scorsese. Among his most famous title sequences are the animated paper cut-out of a heroin addict’s arm for Preminger’s The Man with the Golden Arm, the credits racing up and down what eventually becomes a high-angle shot of a skyscraper in Hitchcock’s North by Northwest, and the disjointed text that races together and apart in Psycho.

Bass designed some of the most iconic corporate logos in North America, including the Bell System logo in 1969, as well as AT&T’s globe logo in 1983 after the breakup of the Bell System. He also designed Continental Airlines’ 1968 jet stream logo and United Airlines’ 1974 tulip logo, which became some of the most recognized airline industry logos of the era.

The iconic designs of Illustrator Saul Bass. Click on image for full view

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The whimsical signature of illustrator Saul Bass



Check out these great book about the case study program and Saul Bass!



The Case Study Houses were experiments in American residential architecture sponsored by Arts & Architecture magazine, which commissioned major architects of the day, including Richard Neutra, Raphael Soriano, Craig Ellwood, Charles and Ray Eames, Pierre Koenig, Eero Saarinen, A. Quincy Jones, Edward Killingsworth, and Ralph Rapson to design and build inexpensive and efficient model homes for the United States residential housing boom caused by the end of World War II and the return of millions of soldiers.

The program ran intermittently from 1945 until 1966. The first six houses were built by 1948 and attracted more than 350,000 visitors. While not all 36 designs were built, most of those that were constructed were built in Los Angeles, and one was built in San Rafael, Northern California and Phoenix, Arizona each. Of the unbuilt houses #19 was to have been built in Atherton, in the San Francisco Bay Area, while #27 was to have been built on the east coast, in Smoke Rise, New Jersey.

A number of the houses appeared in the magazine in iconic black-and-white photographs by architectural photographer Julius Shulman.

List of Case Study Houses[edit]

NumberNameArchitect(s)PublicationConstructedStatusAddressCityArts & Architecture
PDF link
Virtual Globetrotting
1J. R. DavidsonFebruary 19451945UnbuiltCSH#1
1J. R. DavidsonFebruary 19481948Extant10152 Toluca Lake AvenueNorth HollywoodCSH#1VGT
2Sumner Spaulding and John RexAugust 19471947Extant857 Chapea RoadPasadenaCSH#2VGT
3William Wurster and Theodore BernardiMarch 19491949Demolished13187 Chalon RoadLos AngelesCSH#3VGT
4Greenbelt HouseRalph RapsonSeptember 19451989Exhibit: Museum of Contemporary Art of Los AngelesCSH#4
5Loggia HouseWhitney R. SmithApril 1946UnbuiltCSH#5
6OmegaRichard NeutraOctober 1945UnbuiltCSH#6
7Thornton AbellJuly 19481948Extant6236 North Deerfield Avenue[1]San GabrielCSH#7VGT
8Eames HouseCharles and Ray EamesDecember 19491949Extant203 Chautauqua BoulevardPacific PalisadesCSH#8VGT
9Entenza HouseCharles Eames and Eero SaarinenJuly 19501949Extant205 Chautauqua BoulevardPacific PalisadesCSH#9VGT, VGT
10Kemper Nomland and Kemper Nomland, Jr.October 19471947Significantly Altered[2]711 South San Rafael Avenue[3]PasadenaCSH#10VGT
11J. R. DavidsonJuly 19461946Demolished540 South Barrington AvenueWest Los AngelesCSH#11
12Whitney R. SmithFebruary 1946UnbuiltCSH#12
13AlphaRichard NeutraMarch 1946Unbuilt[4]CSH#13
15J. R. DavidsonJanuary 19471947Extant4755 Lasheart DriveLa Cañada FlintridgeCSH#15VGT
16Rodney WalkerFebruary 19471947Demolished9945 Beverly Grove DriveBeverly HillsCSH#16
17ARodney WalkerJuly 19471947Extant7861 Woodrow Wilson DriveLos AngelesCSH#17VGT
17BCraig EllwoodMarch 19561956Remodeled Beyond Recognition9554 Hidden Valley RoadBeverly HillsCSH#17
18AWest HouseRodney WalkerFebruary 19481948Extant199 Chautauqua BoulevardPacific PalisadesCSH#18VGT
18BFields HouseCraig EllwoodJune 19581958Remodeled Beyond Recognition1129 Miradero RoadBeverly HillsCSH#18VGT
19ADon KnorrSeptember 1947UnbuiltCSH#19
20AStuart Bailey HouseRichard NeutraDecember 19481948Extant219 Chautauqua BoulevardPacific PalisadesCSH#20VGT
20BBass HouseC. Buff, C. Straub, D. HensmanNovember 19581958Extant2275 Santa Rosa AvenueAltadenaCSH#20
21ARichard NeutraMay 1947UnbuiltCSH#21
21BWalter Bailey HousePierre KoenigFebruary 19591958Extant9038 Wonderland Park AvenueWest HollywoodCSH#21VGT
1950Raphael SorianoDecember 19501950Remodeled1080 Ravoli DrivePacific PalisadesCSH1950VGT
1953Craig EllwoodJune 19531953Extant1811 Bel Air RoadBel-AirCSH1953VGT
22Stahl HousePierre KoenigJune 19601960Extant1635 Woods DriveLos AngelesCSH#22VGT
23TriadKillingsworth, Brady, Smith & Assoc.March 19611960Extant (23A and 23C), 23B Remodeled Beyond Recognition[5]2329 (C[6]), 2342 (A[7]) and 2343 (B[8]) Rue de Anne [9]La JollaCSH#23VGT
24A. Quincy Jones and Frederick E. EmmonsDecember 1961UnbuiltCSH#24
25Frank HouseKillingsworth, Brady, Smith & Assoc.December 19621962Extant82 Rivo Alto CanalLong BeachCSH#25VGT
26Harrison HouseBeverley "David" ThorneJanuary 19631963Extant177 San Marino DriveSan RafaelCSH#26VGT
27Campbell and WongJune 1963UnbuiltCSH#27
28Case Study House #28C. Buff and D. HensmanSeptember 19651966Extant91 Inverness RoadThousand OaksCSH#28VGT
Apt 1Alfred N. Beadle and Alan A. DaileySeptember 19641964Extant4402 28th StreetPhoenix, ArizonaCSApts#1VGT
Apt 2Killingsworth, Brady, Smith & Assoc.May 1964UnbuiltCSApts#2


Further reading[edit]

  • Entenza, John (January 1945) "Announcement: The Case Study House Program". Arts and Architecture
  • McCoy, Esther. "Case Study Houses". 2nd edition. 1977, ISBN, Hennessey & Ingalls
  • Smith, Elizabeth A. T. (1989). Blueprints for Modern Living: History and Legacy of the Case Study Houses. Cambridge: MIT Press. ISBN. 
  • Smith, Elizabeth and Peter Goessel (2002). Case Study Houses: The Complete CSH Program,. Taschen. ISBN. 
  • Smith, Elizabeth A. T. (2007). Case Study Houses. Taschen. ISBN 978-3-8228-4617-9. 
  • Travers, David (January 2007) "About Arts & Architecture" Arts & Architecture website - accessed March 3, 2009

External links[edit]

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