A. Quincy Jones' LA retrospective

The pioneering California architect receives his first major retrospective courtesy of LA's Hammer Museum
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The Brody House, A. Quincy Jones, c. 1950. Photograph by Julius Shulman
The Brody House, A. Quincy Jones, c. 1950. Photograph by Julius Shulman

We might not think of Los Angeles as a city of gated mansions and strident individualism, so it comes as some surprise to discover one of its formative architects was known for drafting communal grounds and group amenities in his housing developments.

A. Quincy Jones: Building for Better Living, on until September 8 at Los Angeles' Hammer Museum, showcases both the homes the architect built for stars such as Gary Cooper, as well as the many modest post-war housing developments he built. While America's record for tract housing development is mixed, Jones' creations have long been regarded as sensitively conceived buildings, with a prescient emphasis placed on sustainability, the natural environment, as well as communal spaces and buildings.

 

Mutual Housing Association marketing brochure, c. 1949.
Mutual Housing Association marketing brochure, c. 1949.

As the museum notes, "Jones is among the first architects of this period to view developments as an opportunity to build community through shared green spaces, varied home models, and non-grid site planning."

Though he designed everything from churches to factories, Jones continued to work the family home throughout his career, and, while his creations look delightfully modern today, they nevertheless retain that crucial human dimension.

 

Crestwood Hills plan, c. 1949
Crestwood Hills plan, c. 1949

The exhibition draws heavily from Jones' personal and professional archives, and includes photographs by the likes of Julius Shulman, as well as plenty of Jones' own drawings, and contemporary photographs of the buildngs. It's part of the ongoing Getty-supported Pacific Standard Time initiative, which aims to recover some of Southern California's creative history; nice to see this now includes everything from Ed Ruscha through to well-conceived suburban homes.

 

A. Quincy Jones and Frederick Emmons' plan for the 1951-1954 Tyre House
A. Quincy Jones and Frederick Emmons' plan for the 1951-1954 Tyre House

To find out more about the exhibition, go here. To learn more about the architect and his work, please take a look at our book A. Quincy Jones. Though before you buy, do join our club to take advantage of rewards points, exclusive offers and events.


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