A. Quincy Jones and Balboa Highlands
In 1951 Joseph Eichler saw the “House of the Year” in a trade magazine. This 1000 sq.ft. home designed by A. Q. Jones just happened to be on the opposite page of a magazine that featured Eichler’s own “Subdivision of the Year.” Eichler immediately contacted Jones and the partnership of a lifetime began.
Jones and Emmons
The firm of Jones and Emmons which began in 1951 was awarded numerous citations from the AIA including most prestigious firm in 1969. The firm’s long association with Joseph Eichler and Eichler Homes continued from 1951 until Eichler’s death in 1974. Quincy Jones designed and built one steel house for Eichler, the X-100 in 1956. And in 1957 Jones and Emmons co-authored the book Builders’ Homes for Better Living. In 1961 they went participated in the Arts and Architecture Case Study Program with Case Study house #24 sponsored by Eichler.
A. Quincy Jones, FAIA was born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1913. After graduating with a degree in architecture, he set up a private practice in Los Angeles in 1937. During the post-war boom, Jones became known for his treatment of much needed housing tracts which were typically nothing more than small generally uninteresting boxes. He designed homes that were known for high standards of quality and simplified floor plans that allowed for more spatial diversity.
Jones became a professor of architecture at the University of Southern California from 1951-67. It was during the 1960s when he became known for designing university campus buildings and larger office buildings. His work can be seen across several University of California campuses and across the urban and suburban landscape of Southern California. This work grew up and out of the principles he applied to the design of earlier tract homes and featured flexible spatial planning. He also took a new approach to integrating mechanical systems earlier in the design process as opposed to a haphazard afterthought which was more common at the time.
Notes from a now defunct former web page on the USC? website???
Much of the work of A. Quincy Jones, FAIA, from the 1960s has been in the design of buildings for university campuses and of office buildings. But he first gained recognition in residential work in the postwar era when the need for housing was acute. Born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1913, Jones was a professor of architecture at the University of Southern California from 1951-67.
While in private practice in Los Angeles from 1937, his houses set standards of excellence that affected all house design of the postwar period, especially the tract house, to which he was one of the few to give architectural consideration. A characteristic of these small houses was the simplified structural system which allowed for spatial diversity, in contrast to the usual static box.
Certain characteristics of Jones’ large-scale work grew out of his solutions for residences, particularly in siting and in the development of flexible structural systems. In his larger building, his experiments were aimed at the integration of mechanical systems; previous to his research, each system was treated as a separate element, and their haphazard installation reduced their efficiency and retrievable space. Two examples of this are the 1959 Biological Sciences Building on the Santa Barbara campus and the 1967 Chemistry Building on the Riverside campus of the University of California.
These two projects are dominated by a heavy continuous cap which houses an integrated mechanical system, and it is expressed on the interiors by a prefabricated coffered ceiling of concrete which carries conduits in the channel.
This same scheme was adapted for the 1972 Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Southern California. The main entrance is interrupted by plazas at two levels, the plazas serving as meeting places for students, with one extended to a protected patio.
Jones House and Studio, 8661 Nash, West Hollywood, Los Angeles
Nordlinger House, 11492 Thurston Circle, Bel Air, Los Angeles
Mutual Housing Association Development, Los Angeles: with Smith and Contini Hvistendahl House, San Diego
Campbell Hall School, 4717 Laurel Canyon, North Hollywood
House, Bienveneda and Marquette Streets, Pacific Palisades
Emmons House, 661 Brooktree, Pacific Palisades
Jones House, 1223 Tigertail Road, Los Angeles(destroyed by fire)
Biological Sciences Building, University of California at Santa Barbara
Faculty Center, University of Southern California
Shorecliff Tower Apartments, 535 Ocean Avenue, Santa Monica
Joseph Eichler Housing Development, Granada Hills, University Research Library, unit I, University of California at Los Angeles, Laguna/O’Farrel Apartments, 66 Cleary Court, San Francisco, Joseph Eichler Housing Development, Thousand Oaks, California
Chemistry Building, University of California, Riverside
Research Library, unit II, University of California, Los Angeles
Mandeville Center for the Arts, University of California, La Jolla, San Diego
Annenberg School of Communication, unit I, University of Southern California, Los Angeles
Annenberg School of Communication, unit II, University of Southern California, Los Angeles – Annenberg Communication Center, dedicated Nov. 16, 1976. Quincy Jones, architect. General contractor: Vanlar Construction. Cost: $4 million.
Eichler Homes . Thousand Oaks . CA . 1964 A. Quincy Jones & Frederick E. Emmons
He was interested in the community, not merely in houses. Joseph Eichler was concerned about the way people live. Contrary to predictions, he made a success of building houses that faced the future. He worked with architects who were innovative and broke new ground rather than follow trends. Three architectural firms were involved: Anshen & Allen and Claude Oakland, both of San Francisco, and A. Quincy Jones and Frederick E. Emmons, Los Angeles.
Early in 1951 Mr. Eichler saw Jones’ 1000 sq.ft. design published as “House of the Year” on the page opposite his “Subdivision of the Year.” The association began immediately and continued until Mr. Eichler’s death in 1974. At one time one-half of single family houses in Palo Alto were said to be Eichler Homes. Most work is in Northern California, some in Southern California. He turned down no one as a buyer because of race,color, creed – long before his enlightened views became the law. The architect had a chance to do something about housing. It was a rare and appreciated opportunity.
Source: Bunji Murotani . A Quincy Jones: The Oneness of Architecture . Process Architecture Number 41 . Process Architecture Publishing Co . Tokyo . 1983
A Conversation with Cain about Mr. A. Quincy Jones
Grenier: Why don’t we talk about the role of Quincy Jones [the master plan architect] –how important he was, and working with him?
Cain: The role of an architect on a new campus is extremely important. If you look at some of the college campuses, it looks like they just dropped buildings out of an airplane and they landed… Quincy was chosen by the Board of Trustees… This was the first campus that he developed from scratch — where nobody else had been involved in terms of the master planning. So he was highly interested in the planning because it gave him an opportunity to prove himself. He spent hours of time that he was never paid for in working with our campus — there’s no question about that.
We had a very functional relationship with the architect from the beginning. For example, we felt very strongly that there should be individual faculty offices. This did not happen in state colleges. But when we built the Social and Behavioral Sciences building, we got individual offices. We had to fight for that….
Grenier: The campus has a wonderful architectural harmony — unity — that you don’t see…
Cain: You don’t see anywhere else. That’s right…I went to Singapore, where Quincy did the embassy building…. I saw the building from a distance, and it looked like Dominguez Hills. I went in and went through it, and it seemed familiar…
Grenier: The landscaping is beautiful now. I noticed recently that the eucalyptus trees are taller than the ERC building.
Cain: We have the eucalyptus trees that are the least dirty — [these were] purposely put in there. And accessibility for the handicapped — we worked on that — a handicapped person can go through all those buildings because of the levels of operation. That was built into the plan. Also we got a central boiler plant with everything in tunnels underneath so we don’t have to tear up the campus every time something has to be repaired. So the whole effort was trying to get a unified approach to the total campus, not only in the curriculum, but [also] in the physical plant operations.
Grenier: You succeeded.
One of the more dramatic collaborations was between Los Angeles architect Quincy Jones and billionaire Walter Annenberg, erstwhile publisher and ambassador to Britain under Richard Nixon. Annenberg and his wife, Lee, commissioned the Rancho Mirage Estate house with the express purpose of entertaining such heavyweights as Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, and Ronald Reagan. Jones envisioned water and green grass on the outside–“I don’t want to see one grain of sand except in the golf traps”–and an interior sympathetic to the Annenbergs’ collection of impressionist art and oriental antiques. Near the end of the two-year project, Lee asked that the
Japanese- and Mayan-inspired pyramidal roof be pink. So it was that pink became the signature hue of the Annenbergs’ fabulous Rancho Mirage home.
Using many of the same general principles Jones employed–an open floor plan and the integration of the interior and exterior spaces–Donald Wexler and Ric Harrison’s Steel Development Houses represent a very different perspective. Built almost entirely of steel, concrete, and glass, these 1,400-square-foot houses cost between $13,000 and $17,000 in 1962 and could be built in three days. They are minimal in design, aside from the butterfly ceilings, and are incredibly energy efficient. By using steel instead of wood, the buildings are expected to last for many, many years with little or no maintenance. Who would have guessed that the Bauhaus principles, which originated in Germany with Walter Gropius, would find their way to the California desert?