• No Place Like Home – Huxtable’s ranch house as her housing ideal

    Edward Nilsson (see profile)
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    Bet Huxtable won’t like it: Ada Louise Huxtable and her legacy
    Conf. Org.:
    Society of Architectural Historians
    Conf. Loc.:
    Austin, Texas
    Conf. Date:
    April 9-13, 2014
    Ada Louise Huxtable, Ranch house, Mid-century modern
    Permanent URL:
    Ada Louise Huxtable had completed research and had outlined a book entitled "Ranch House" before her untimely passing in January 2013. While not a common scholarly topic or one that fits the template of her incisive architectural critiques, the ranch house may be considered not only an extension of her 2004 book ‘Frank Lloyd Wright' but also the subject of a house type she lived in for an increasing portion of each year for 30 years. How did her own modest ranch house in Marblehead, Massachusetts reflect what she valued in architecture and in this common vernacular form? The last chapter of her most recent book "On Architecture" (2008) entitled "No Place Like Home," written in 1979, traces the attributes of the setting she and her husband Garth enjoyed in their seaside summer rental home in Marblehead - where she "restores heart and soul here for another year's go at the great metropolis." The chapter concludes with her statement "I think of that house as the single most beautiful thing that I know." Shortly after, the summer rental was no longer available. The pleasures of a summer dwelling were then transferred to a small ranch house (circa 1958) at 33 Neptune Rd. they purchased in 1982. As architect who helped her adapt her ranch house to changing needs, the goal of this paper is to review the design attributes of her residence and compare these to her writings on the subject of housing and architecture - to show how what began as an ordinary and commonplace residence became over the next three decades an extraordinary example of the adaptability of this truly American style with an emphasis on its indoor-outdoor relationship.
    Last Updated:
    3 years ago
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